Morning Report: Checking the Progress of the 2012 Draft Class

The draft coverage on this site will start to increase soon with the first day of the draft now 45 days away. There will be an article later today (possibly up by the time you read this) covering a couple new names moving up the draft charts. We have given updates over the last few days on the recent drafts and how the players are doing. We started with the most recent draft on Friday, then moved on to the 2014 draft, followed by the 2013 draft yesterday. Today is the 2012 draft, followed by the final one in this series tomorrow, the 2011 draft. The Pirates signed 21 players during the 2012 draft and spent almost $3,500,000 in bonuses on those players. Here is a brief update on all of those player listed in the order in which they were drafted.

Barrett Barnes – Struggling early at the plate in Altoona. Injuries have cost him a lot of time over the years.

Wyatt Mathisen – In Extended Spring Training due to shoulder soreness. Should go to Altoona when healthy. Still just 22 this entire season.

Jon Sandfort – Released last year

Adrian Sampson – Traded to Mariners, mixed results pitching in some tough Pacific Coast League parks

Eric Wood – Third baseman for Altoona, has an outside chance at making the majors

Jacob Stallings – Catcher for Indianapolis, has possible MLB future as a backup

Kevin Ross – Released

D.J. Crumlich – Retired prior to last season

Pat Ludwig – Retired last season

Chris Diaz – Infielder for Altoona, solid defensive player, doesn’t hit enough

Dalton Friend – Released

Thomas Harlan – Retired this off-season

Max Moroff – Prospect for Indianapolis, possible future starting infielder in majors

Hayden Hurst – Retired, plays college football

John Kuchno – Reliever for Indianapolis, ground ball specialist

Kyle Haynes – Traded to Yankees, AAA starter with mixed results

Jordan Steranka – Released

Lance Breedlove – Released

Tyler Gaffney – Played one year then switched to football, technically still property of the Pirates on restricted list

Josh Smith – Altoona reliever, has allowed one earned run since July 20, 2015

Jimmy Rider – Traded to Red Sox, now out of baseball

I’ve included the link to our 2012 draft tracker to answer any questions about rounds, positions, etc. This draft obviously looks weak, but it is helped out by the fact that the Pirates were able to get an extra pick in 2013 due to not signing Mark Appel. That pick of course led to Austin Meadows, who is the better prospect. One other note and that is the Pirates losing out on Brandon Thomas, their fourth round pick. He didn’t sign and decided to return as a senior. He ended up getting mono his senior year and dropped to the eighth round in 2013, where he signed for $75,000, which was over $250,000 less than fourth round slot value. Thomas is already out of baseball. This was the first draft under the current draft rules and bonus restrictions.


Source: FanGraphs


Today’s Starter and Notes: The Pirates won 12-10 in 13 innings over the Diamondbacks on Sunday. They now travel to Colorado, where Jeff Locke gets the start today, his fourth of the season. After allowing one run over six innings in his debut, Locke has allowed ten runs and 11 walks in 7.2 innings over his last two starts. Chad Bettis will start for the Rockies in place of Jorge De La Rosa, who was pushed back until Wednesday. Bettis has pitched four times this year, posting a 3.33 ERA over 24.1 innings, with 19 strikeouts and a 1.03 WHIP.

In the minors, only two games on the schedule tonight, as both Bradenton and West Virginia have the day off. There are still two good games though, with Chad Kuhl starting for Indianapolis, and Tyler Eppler going for Altoona. The Altoona game will also feature the debut of Austin Meadows, who is scheduled to hit lead-off tonight. Kuhl is coming off five shutout innings last time out. He was also solid in his debut, allowing two runs over 4.2 innings, while working on a limited pitch count. Eppler has gone six innings in each of his three starts, allowing three runs in his last game.

MLB: Pittsburgh (10-9) @ Rockies (9-9) 8:40 PM
Probable starter: Jeff Locke (7.24 ERA, 13:7 BB/SO, 13.2 IP)

AAA: Indianapolis (8-7) @ Durham (10-8) 7:05 PM (season preview)
Probable starter: Chad Kuhl (1.86 ERA, 2:8 BB/SO, 9.2 IP)

AA: Altoona (8-9) vs Erie (8-9) 6:00 PM (season preview)
Probable starter: Tyler Eppler (3.00 ERA, 3:14 BB/SO, 18.0 IP)

High-A: Bradenton (8-10) vs Palm Beach (10-8) 6:30 PM 4/26 (season preview)
Probable starter: Yeudy Garcia (4.85 ERA, 9:16 BB/SO, 13.0 IP)

Low-A: West Virginia (14-4) vs Rome (5-13) 7:05 PM 4/26  (season preview)
Probable starter:  Dario Agrazal (2.81 ERA, 2:8 BB/SO, 16.0 IP)


Here is a good one to go along with the 2012 draft review. Barrett Barnes may not be hitting this year, but he made a nice play here.


4/22: Pirates recall Jason Rogers. Cole Figueroa optioned to Indianapolis.

4/21: Pirates release Michael Morse.

4/21: Jhondaniel Medina assigned to Altoona.

4/21: Cory Luebke assigned to Indianapolis on rehab.

4/20: Jared Hughes assigned to Indianapolis on rehab.

4/19: Julio Vivas added to West Virginia roster. Logan Ratledge assigned to Morgantown.

4/18: Jung-ho Kang assigned to Indianapolis on rehab.

4/16: Trevor Williams placed on disabled list. Jhondaniel Medina promoted to Indianapolis.

4/15: John Kuchno promoted to Indianapolis. Frank Duncan added to Altoona roster.

4/14: Cory Luebke placed on disabled list. Pirates recall Rob Scahill.

4/14: Pirates sign Justin Masterson.

4/14: Chad Kuhl assigned to Indianapolis.

4/13: Michael Morse designated for assignment. Pirates select contract of A.J. Schugel.

4/13: Pedro Florimon sent outright to Indianapolis.

4/13: West Virginia places Cesilio Pimentel on disabled list. Eric Karch added to roster.

4/11: Pirates release John Holdzkom.


Five former Pittsburgh Pirates players born on this date, including a pitcher for a World Series winning team. Bob Johnson pitched for the Pirates from 1971 until 1973, going 9-10, 3.45 in 174.2 innings during the 1971 season. In the NLCS that year, Johnson started game three and defeated Juan Marichal. He lost game two of the World Series, but the Pirates still defeated the Orioles in seven games, winning their fourth World Series title. Johnson started his career with the 1969 Mets, who won their first World Series title that year.

Other former Pirates players born on this date include: Pitcher Brad Clontz (1999-2000), infielder Jimmy Brown (1946), third baseman Fred Hartman (1894) and catcher Tom Quinn (1886). Hartman was a local player, who played in the minors all over Pennsylvania. He finally got a chance after five minor league seasons to play for his local Major League team, when the Pirates signed him to be their backup infielder. He ended up hitting .319 over 49 games, during his only season with the Pirates.

Two notes about Hartman and the 1894 season. A .319 average sounds pretty good, but 1894 is the best year for offense in baseball history. The mound distance was moved back and the pitchers were required to throw from a pitching rubber for the first time, which led to a lot of pitchers having trouble adjusting right away. Offense was back to acceptable levels by 1896, but the Pirates as a team had a .312 average in 1894, and they were only the fifth best hitting team. The other note is that the team was commonly referred to as the Braves in 1894 and “Pirates” was only a nickname used by some executives and newspaper people in other cities. Team names weren’t official back then, so they could change fairly easily. The Pirates name didn’t catch on until 1895. You can read more on the team name change here.

  • That’s a pretty sad draft class if you ask me.

  • My first thought on watching that Barnes catch……I hope he doesn’t pull a hamstring………that pretty much sums up his career. He makes a nice play, I am worried about him getting injured.

    As far as the draft goes, I was begging the Pirates to take Lucas Giolitto in the first round, and had a complete meltdown when they drafted Appel. I believe a lot of the rest of the picks were to try to save a little money to sign Appel, and that backfired. Not that there aren’t some picks that I don’t like, I still have hope for Mathisen, but as with most drafts, your first round is going to make the draft.

  • With the way the Pirates offense has been, I’m really excited to see what kinda numbers they put up at Coors. Ironically, watch them not hit well.

    • I was thinking this morning that Locke will probably go eight scoreless, because baseball.

      • If that game yesterday is any indication, the guy will throw a no-no.

        With 5 walks.

      • I always wonder if NH has actually discussed longterm contracts with either Glasnow or Taillon already. Similar to what they did with Polanco before he was even called up. Anyways, part of me wants Locke to suck again and force their hand and part of me wants the Pirates to win easy.

        • I could be way off here, but I think it would take stupid-good value to get Huntington to sign a pitcher early, long term. Like, what-are-you-thinking value. The injury risk with pitchers, to me, makes early extensions way more difficult than with position players. A guy like Polanco, for instance, really doesn’t even need to “break out” any further for Huntington to be fairly confident that defense and baserunning alone will give him a couple wins worth of value. Pitchers on the other hand routinely lose two years or more of productive service time with one injury, something almost unheard of for position players.

        • As for your conundrum, go for the W. Locke’s time in the rotation will come to an end soon enough, but the Pirates have to seriously begin making up for their poor start thus far. Their schedule to date has been insanely easy, with only one club thought to be a contender and three that have been outscored by more than a hundred runs combined before hitting the 20-game mark.

        • Not a ton of value in extending Taillon beyond what we already control him, since he’ll already be just over 30 when he gets close to FA years.

          They’d likely be looking for 1-2 extra years and not offering a huge deal considering current value.

      • Well 6. You were close.

  • Josh Bell’s batted ball breakdown, through 15 games:
    42% FB / 38% GB / 18% LD

    Josh Bell’s batted ball breakdown, 2015 season:
    28% FB / 51% GB / 16% LD

    This is what a power breakout looks like, folks.

    • Josh Bell’s current reaction to those who questioned him ever developing in game power:

      • Ha, first of all, that’s awesome.

        I agree, but at the risk of pushing my own narrative, I do think this sort of refutes the “grow into his power” narrative. There has been a non-insignificant number of writers who seem to have been saying that Bell will just starting hitting for more power with age. Well, simply getting older doesn’t make you change batted ball distributions like that, and without a shift from groundballs to flyballs the game power would’ve never materialized like it is now.

        Fifteen games doesn’t mean it’s gospel, he could be back to hitting 50% of his contact on the ground by the all star break for all I know. But if this continues, it will be because of a concerted effort to change, not simply natural maturation.

        • I think, for me, its purely about the power always having been there. It was a matter of him eventually figuring out his ideal approach enough to let the power play.

          It finally seems to be happening. Simply getting older didnt bring more power, it seems to have given him time to figure out how to use the power that was always there. Mixture of maturation and altering his approach a bit, since those can coincidence on occasion.

        • I told you his hands were lower! 🙂

          • Kid you not, thought exactly of your comment and went back to that article where we had the discussion. I still think he’s adjusted them even lower since then along with about four distinctly different lower body loading mechanisms, as he’s wont to do, but you absolutely had that one pegged.

            The hands are lower, and even more pronounced is the higher finish. Unquestionably more loft, and it’s paying off. “Finish high and let it fly”, said my old high school coach.

      • That is freaking awesome.

  • After Sunday’s game, Bucs might need some relief help from Indy.

    Any suggestions??????????

    • None because the two players you would send down, A.J. Schugel and Rob Scahill, are both fresh today so they can go multiple innings. I guess they could send down Lobstein, but the only option to call up without making another move to clear a 40-man space is Trey Haley and he’s a one inning pitcher with control issues, so he isn’t going to help much. Jared Hughes could come back, but he obviously wouldn’t be available after two innings yesterday.

      The other 40-man roster players are Kingham, Taillon and Glasnow. I shouldn’t have to tell anyone why they aren’t available


    • Jared Hughes. He can not get back soon enough. I think a lot of people suddenly like him more after seeing the bullpen without him.

  • That game that Johnson won, is the ONLY post season game that I was ever able to attend. I didn’t think we had a chance vs the high-kicking Juan.

  • Lance Breedlove, are you sure that’s his name. Last I read about him was he broke the World’s land speed record at the Bonneyville Salt Flats years ago.

  • Scott Kliesen
    April 25, 2016 8:33 am

    Pretty clear Pirates brass has improved their ability to identify and/or develop talent in the last 2-3 drafts. Obviously this is a key indicator of team’s ability to stay competitive over the long-term.

    • The ’14 draft will go a long way to proving or disproving that, IMO.

      I held out hope for this ’12 draft class longer than most, but with Barnes stalling and Mathisen never really catching any traction it’s looking very, very thin.

      • Moroff, Stallings and Kuchno appear to be the best bets to make the majors (albeit as backups or relievers?).

        But, if you put Meadows into this draft, it gets good in a hurry.

        I remember REALLY wanting Brandon Thomas. Just shows how much of a crap shoot it is.

        • Maybe Josh Smith has an under the radar shot. But Moroff may be the only real impact from this draft. Barnes may never recover from the impact of the health issues on his early career. Mathisen has yet to show the bat that was promised.

          • Moroff worries me as being too close to that high BB / high K, low power profile that seems to bust so often. Could still be a solid backup, though.

    • I like Stallings for some strange reason. I think even if he is a back-up like all the rest of PBC’s past catching back-ups it should take some of the sting out of this dismal draft.

  • Tim not sure if you manage this part but commenter patriciaacarter3 is spamming on comments.