Pirates Draft Shortstop Kevin Kramer in the Second Round

The Pittsburgh Pirates have drafted UCLA shortstop Kevin Kramer in the second round of the 2015 draft. This continues the very strong trend of selecting players with Seinfeld themed last names, after taking Kevin Newman in the first round. The Pirates announced him as a shortstop, although there are questions as to whether he can stick there long-term after having a torn labrum. Furthermore, with the selection of Kevin Newman in the first round, Kramer will have a challenge getting playing time.

He has played third base in the past, and the reports said he would fit better defensively at third. The Pirates wouldn’t have a lot of competition at that spot in Morgantown this year, and probably wouldn’t have a lot of competition next year in West Virginia. I could see Newman making the jump to Bradenton, as I noted earlier, although I think Kramer takes a more conservative path, especially with Jordan Luplow ahead of him. The interesting connection there is that Luplow also had labrum surgery in college, yet the Pirates have been comfortable moving him back to third.

Kramer lacks power, so that might prevent him from playing third base in the future, and might make second base a more likely destination. He does have good hitting skills. Keith Law rated his bat speed above-average and said he has good hand-eye coordination. His biggest value would be at shortstop, and there’s a chance he could stick there, although it’s going to be difficult with the growing competition the Pirates have at that spot in the lower levels.

Kevin Kramer’s Player Page

  • Geof Hileman
    June 9, 2015 8:46 am

    Drafting Kevin Jerome next would pose significant signability risk:
    http://24.media.tumblr.com/ab82c7b986c6d3011c657ec4994bd9d5/tumblr_mrw27iv1RT1sezoa7o1_400.gif

  • they will all sign under slot ,that’s why the pirates pick them. then you start drafting you 6-5 righties prep pitchers and a few prep hitters 3-10 . its called the using your money wisely in a deep draft. there were no impact players in this draft let alone at the 19 pick, so you draft good ball players that can do the little thing well. hays has a chance to do something but could also wash out quickly.

    • Darkstone42
      June 9, 2015 1:31 am

      It looks like they’re going for high floor guys who they can sign early, making sure they have a good, stable source of infielders who can contribute at the Major League level. It makes sense, I think, too, considering how their system is built, I think.

      The draft, as you mention, is also really deep with the sort of prep pitchers they like. Maybe they expect a few guys with big upsides to fall for signability, have an idea when they’ll go, and will pick them one round earlier than anyone else, then try to sign them with the extra money they have left over after these picks.

      I really liked Nikorak, sure, but perhaps the scouting reports told them there just isn’t a huge gap between some of the top guys and some guys lower down, so they’re taking these guys, other value they couldn’t get elsewhere in the draft because the positions simply aren’t as deep, and making sure there’s balance to their farm system, knowing they can target the big arms in later rounds.

    • Maybe we actually drafted some players this year that can actually play baseball, i.e. bunt, have baserunning instincts, perhaps take a walk, not K 20% of the time, know how to hit and run, run out ground balls, run out balls they think might be homers, make routine defensive plays, be good teammates and maybe even hit cut-off men. Wow, what a world this would be…..

  • I’m not really loving these picks so far. I like the Hayes pick but I feel there a lot more talent to be had . They seem to be saving money for later picks

  • Brian Finamore
    June 9, 2015 12:23 am

    You present an interesting dilemma. Each of them seemingly has a legitimate claim to the SS position, and yet the position can have only one rightful owner. Quite the conundrum.

  • Michael Sanders
    June 8, 2015 11:55 pm

    If the Pirates don’t sign Kramer, I would be okay with that.

    • buccotime57
      June 8, 2015 11:56 pm

      you lose all his pool money or are you looking for compensation? which you would get I think?

      • Michael Sanders
        June 8, 2015 11:58 pm

        Thank you for the quick reply, but I’m not sure what you mean.

        • He’s questioning why you’d say that since it is no value at all to the team in any way if he doesn’t sign.

    • He’s a senior. Certain to sign – probably a bit under slot, which might help sign someone later in the draft.

  • Brian Finamore
    June 8, 2015 11:47 pm

    Cue the quote from Huntingdon about how the #165 prospect was the highest rated player on their board. Trying hard to not get caught up in rankings but this one is tough with some of the sexier picks still out there.

    • buccotime57
      June 8, 2015 11:50 pm

      Maybe rounds 3-10 they will hit LHP/RHP prep pitchers

      • That has to be the approach bc these are all signability picks so far. All easy signs!

        • buccotime57
          June 8, 2015 11:52 pm

          hayes may have some leverage being a prep guy, but wants to play like his dad.

        • scrappy2499
          June 9, 2015 12:01 am

          Well, one thing most sites have said is that overall these three young men can hit the ball…they may not be hitting it over the fence but should hit above average. It sounds like 2b, SS, and 3b could be covered between them…they may not be the flashy/sexy pick but solid players possibly…also, sounds like they should all sign fast and maybe under slot which could help with high upside guys 3-10.

          • That’s the secret strategy… by 2020 there will be a dome over PNC, turf will be installed and we’ll be the 1985 Cardinals!

            • Busch stadium had a dome? where was i….. sounds more like the twins, who is doing to be kent Hrbek

          • I don’t think that the net value of 3 joe randa’s on the infield has ever led a team to the championship……just sayin’

      • Brian Finamore
        June 8, 2015 11:53 pm

        yeh… Glasnow was 5th round so there’s no point in second-guessing players that are 5 years away from the majors. But where’s the fun in that?

        • buccotime57
          June 8, 2015 11:55 pm

          agreed the only pick I was disappointed with was passing on nikorak. He just looks so polished and so young. Also, fit what they always look for.

          • Brian Finamore
            June 8, 2015 11:57 pm

            Agreed

            • Theirs a lot of good pitchers left,the top guys aren’t getting drafted because of signability but other than that it’s a deep class for RHP

          • Nikorak’s a boras client, I think the pirates learned their lesson on dealing with boras with pedro. Sounds like nikorak was still there because of health issues and a high boras price tag.

            • Cole and Bell were Boras clients.

              • Guess you have to dance with the devil sometimes, just watch out for the pitchfork, oh yeah, the flames definitely the flames.

              • yeah, i was going to say that myself. The situation i think is different when you are picking at the top of the draft so Cole and Pedro maybe are a different situation since you are looking at game changing talent that high. I think in a draft in the middle of the first round with maybe less high level talent, all things being equal, you would tend to avoid drafting a guy whom you know will be a difficult sign and never sign an extension, over someone where you can have a potential longer future with the team

          • I think the doctors bills from all the tommy john surgeries are forcing them to look elsewhere lol, j/k

    • Which maybe aren’t signable or have character concerns….. always keep in mind, if there are sexier picks out there, the guys right in front of us passed on them too for SOME reason

  • I’m beginning to see it now….

    If your name is Kevin and you play SS…you will be drafted by the Pirates this year.

  • Groundhog Day?

  • This isn’t the NFL Draft. You don’t draft for position need. You take the best available according to your board no matter what position and hope it works out. Also, so many of these guys are listed as SS’s, because the best athletes play SS, and anyone getting drafted in the first few rounds is probably the best athlete on their team, but they will move off the position as they move up the ranks in the minors.

    • If these are truly the BPA on the Pirates boards then they forgot a bunch of players were draft eligible.

      • U don’t get a top 5 farm system with having a bad bard,they have a plan and they have one stick with it,if u went off these analysts boards u wouldn’t win you have to trust ur scouts

        • They got a top 5 farm from getting top 10 picks and signing guys later on for big money. a couple years ago there was no slotting.(Josh Bell 5million dollar signing 2nd round) Baseball wants to hurt the small market teams that have to build through the draft. They took away a great was for the Pirates to spend money. Which was mostly due in part to that Bell deal. Red Sox complained and the rules changed

    • I’ve been talking about this since well before the draft. We are somewhat drafting for need. That doesnt mean “reaching” and taking players that aren’t valuable where they are being picked, but it could mean potentially giving up a slightly more valuable player because we have a weakness in the organization. When you compare it to NFL, they are drafting for team need, there is no minor leagues. There is nothing wrong (and sometimes more stacked teams like the pirates) WILL draft or put a slight preference on areas they do need better depth throughout the organization, still NEVER drafting for a need at the major league level. Quite honestly, there is no other way to do it. I think we are deciding that forcing all these 19/20 year olds to play out of position because otherwise they can’t get any playing time, IS inevitably, affecting their development, there is no way that it can’t. Very few people agree with me on this, but i’ll continue being the voice of reason and bringing logic to the table

  • BuccosFanStuckinMD
    June 8, 2015 11:40 pm

    How many middle infield prospects does a team need? I was hoping Cabbage, Everett, or Matuella…

    • Brian Finamore
      June 8, 2015 11:41 pm

      Trey Cabbage for the name alone.

    • I really wanted Matuella

      • Me as well…when he gets multiple comps to Glasnow you’d figure it would be worth a shot.

    • I wanted Matuella but Justin Hooper doesn’t sound like a bad pick either and he is a lefty. I don’t see what they plan on doing with these picks but if we are winning in 10 years than I won’t be complaining.

      • matuella has had 3 major injuries in college, his back maybe a problem the rest of his life.

  • I am so confused by this draft strategy.

  • He’s going to be playing 2B

    • That will be tough with Newman playing 2b….especially considering that if healthy Kramer is the better defensive player

      • Obviously Newman isn’t going to playing 2B

        • I wouldn’t doubt it, Newman doesn’t have a very strong arm and the only thing that gives him a shot at short is his quick hands. I think Kramer should get SS over Newman.

    • Matuella would have been a better pick, higher upside. They also have many 2b options throughout system

  • Why do they need another ss?

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