After each day of the draft, the people who follow these players all year long give their opinions on the results. There will be more to come I’m sure, but the early results do not favor the Pirates. It isn’t that the opinions of the draft have been bad, it’s just that the Pirates aren’t coming up often when talking about the picks. That can be taken as bad, because most people are talking about draft winners. It can also be considered “not the worst”, because there haven’t been many negative opinions yet.

We start with the one person who didn’t particularly like the draft, and that’s Keith Law. He rated all of the NL clubs and it seems that his favorite pick for the Pirates from the first two days was fourth rounder Braeden Ogle. I think a lot of people felt that was a strong pick because he was rated fairly high by most people. In our tiered draft rankings, we had him as a solid second round pick. When you’re getting a player like that in the fourth round, you’re going to get some praise.

Law wasn’t keen on the rest of the draft though. He mentioned a lot of potential flaws with the Will Craig pick, yet he wrapped it up by saying he isn’t a bad first round pick, he just expected something different from the Pirates. We heard at times this year from people other than Law, that Craig was facing weak competition, he plays in a home run friendly ballpark, and he had a tough summer using wood bats. So there will be some questions until he proves otherwise.

Law apparently isn’t a big fan of Nick Lodolo, who was probably drafted about a round higher than most people thought. According to Law, none of his pitches are even average right now and he’s too big of a project to be taken that early.

I’ll get back to the second round pick (Travis MacGregor) at the end. Law likes the defense from shortstop Stephen Alemais, but ranks the third round pick as a 40 bat with 30 power. Those numbers aren’t usually attached to future Major League hitters. He likes the potential of fifth round pick Blake Cederlind and he calls Cam Vieaux (6th) a solid senior sign, with a very limited ceiling. Seventh round pick Brent Gibbs was called a solid defensive player, but he’s old for a JuCo player. Not many compliments in Law’s recap.

We get to Travis MacGregor now, who was the second round pick. Law summed him up by saying he couldn’t find anyone besides the Pirates who thought he was a day one possibility. Baseball America had him rated 186th, which is 118 spots after he was picked. Jim Callis called him one of the three biggest surprises from day one (not a compliment), and Nathan Rode from Prep Baseball Report said that he went higher than expected.

As mentioned, no one called the Pirates draft winners (or losers), but there really wasn’t much said about the players they took. Everyone did some type of roundup, usually by rounds, and Law was the only who really mentioned someone besides MacGregor. Prep Baseball Report mentioned 11th round pick Max Kranick among ten names from the 11th round who were interesting. There were no details though, just a list of some names.

This draft really wasn’t that exciting unless you really look into all the profiles and see how many pitchers they took who are either projectable, or who already hit 95 MPH. There is a lot of size among those players as well. Those players have a huge failure rate, but getting more of them only helps the odds of hitting on one or more. One thing is for sure, if you go to a game in Bristol or Morgantown this year, you’re going to see some hard-throwers come out of the bullpen each night.

We put a lot of discussion into our top 50 rankings, so take this with a huge grain of salt. Looking over this group, a quick study led me to believe that only five of these players might crack our top 50 for the prospect guide, and that’s if all of the top four prep arms sign. Things could obviously change once they are in the system and we get better reports. There could also be more room in the top 50 with players graduating and possibly going elsewhere at the trading deadline, so as I said “huge grain of salt”. Five possibilities just seems like a low number, and compared to other years it does fall short.

It will probably take a long time before we really know if this is a good or bad draft class with all of the projects they took. The fact that the Pirates had one of the lower bonus pools to work with, along with their draft position, could just mean that they did well with what they had to work with this year.


Bradenton is 6-4 in their last ten games. They are in first place in their division, three games ahead. The first half of the FSL season ends on June 22nd. Their magic number is five.

West Virginia has been eliminated from the first half pennant race. The second half begins on June 23rd.


Source: FanGraphs


Today’s Starter and Notes: The Pirates lost 8-3 to the Cardinals on Sunday night. The Pirates now travel to New York, where they will play a three-game series after an off-day today. They haven’t announced a starter for Tuesday’s game yet. The Mets will go with Jacob deGrom in the opener. He has a 2.80 ERA in 61 innings, with 56 strikeouts and a 1.15 WHIP. The Pirates faced him on June 7th and he allowed three runs on six hits, no walks and nine strikeouts in six innings.

In the minors, it’s a light schedule today, as both Indianapolis and Altoona have off. Stephen Tarpley goes for Bradenton. He is coming off a start in which he threw four shutout innings on two hits and no walks. That outing was shortened due to rain. He has struggled with high pitch counts this year, going less than five innings in four of his six starts.

Tanner Anderson will make his first start as a pro today. He has a 2.19 ERA in 37 innings over 15 relief appearances. His longest outing this year has been five innings. He has also thrown four innings in a game, though it should be noted that he did both of those in under 40 pitches. His highest pitch count has been exactly 40 this season.

MLB: Pittsburgh (32-31) @ Mets (34-28) 7:10 PM 6/14
Probable starter: TBD

AAA: Indianapolis (33-30) vs Pawtucket (33-30) 7:05 PM 6/14 (season preview)
Probable starter:  TBD

AA: Altoona (33-29) vs New Hampshire (28-34) 5:05 PM 6/14 (season preview)
Probable starter: Tyler Eppler (4.14 ERA,  14:46 BB/SO, 71.2 IP)

High-A: Bradenton (34-27) @ Clearwater (35-26) 7:00 PM (season preview)
Probable starter: Stephen Tarpley (5.00 ERA,  10:24 BB/SO, 27.0 IP)

Low-A: West Virginia (31-31) @ Lexington (23-39) 7:05 PM (season preview)
Probable starter: Tanner Anderson (2.19 ERA, 11:25 BB/SO, 37.0 IP)

DSL: Pirates (1-5) vs Mets1 (4-2) 10:30 AM (season preview)


Here is a first inning home run from Austin Meadows to extend his hit streak to 20 games.


6/11: Pirates acquire Erik Kratz from Angels for cash considerations. Trey Haley designated for assignment.

6/11: Clay Holmes added to Altoona roster. David Whitehead placed on disabled list.

6/11: Pirates place Francisco Cervelli on disabled list.

6/11: Pirates option Kyle Lobstein and Cole Figueroa to Indianapolis. recall Rob Scahill and Arquimedes Caminero.

6/10: Mitch Keller added to West Virginia roster. Logan Sendelbach assigned to GCL Pirates.

6/10: Alex McRae promoted to Altoona.

6/9: Pirates option Jameson Taillon to Indianapolis. Kyle Lobstein recalled from Indianapolis.

6/9: Frank Duncan promoted to Indianapolis.

6/8: Pirates recall Jameson Taillon. Curtis Partch optioned to Indianapolis.

6/8: JT Brubaker promoted to Bradenton. Julio Vivas added to West Virginia roster.

6/6: Clay Holmes assigned to Extended Spring Training. David Whitehead added to Altoona roster.

6/4: Pirates released Nate Irving, Edgar Figueroa, Eric Thomas and Eliezer Ramirez.

6/4:  Pirates option Rob Scahill and Wilfredo Boscan to Indianapolis. Recall Curtis Partch and Cory Luebke.

6/4: Ryan Vogelsong transferred from 15-day disabled list to 60-day DL.

6/4: Guido Knudson added to Indianapolis roster.

6/2: Gage Hinsz assigned to West Virginia. Mitch Keller assigned to Extended Spring Training.

6/2: Justin Masterson assigned to Indianapolis. Frank Duncan assigned to Altoona.

6/2: Arquimedes Caminero assigned to Indianapolis on rehab.

6/2: David Whitehead assigned to GCL Pirates.

6/1: Pirates release Michael Fransoso.


Two former Pittsburgh Pirates players born on this date, plus one trade of note. On this date in 2001, the Pirates traded infielder Enrique Wilson to the New York Yankees for relief pitcher Damaso Marte. Wilson spent 3 1/2 years with the Yankees, while Marte was dealt to the White Sox before the 2002 season. They would sign him again in 2005 and then trade him to the Yankees along with Xavier Nady in 2008.

The two former players born on this date played a total of eight games with the Pirates. Pitcher Darrell May made two starts and three relief appearances for the 1996 Pirates. He played seven years in the big leagues despite being taken in the 46th round of the 1992 draft.

Catcher John O’Connell played for the Pirates in 1928 and 1929, though he played three games total. His big league career consisted of one late inning replacement in 1928 and catching the last two games of the 1929 season.

The Pirates defeated the Royals by a 5-3 score on this date in 1997, the first interleague game in franchise history. You can view the boxscore here.

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  1. It is always a bad draft when you are taking players 1-2 rounds above where any other team would take them- even if they pan out, you still passed up on another talented kid when you could have gotten him later. As i said earlier, this draft kinda sucks

  2. Enrique Wilson was part of a very interesting lineup sometime in the 2000 season. There were only five surnames in the lineup. It included Jack, Craig and Enrique Wilson, Adrian and Emil Brown and Aramis and Alex Ramirez (some loser acquired in one of Bonifay’s usual pathetic deadline deals, barely remember him)

  3. For the past 3 years at least, the Pirates draft as if they are trying to prove that they are smarter than everyone else, when it comes to draft picks, ratings, etc. – Tucker, Joe, Newman, Craig, MacGregor, and others – all taken well before they were projected….

    • all they proved is that they are taking players that they could have drafted lower and gotten more talent….honestly anytime you reach 1 round or more for a player, all you are doing is wasting your precious resources. If you use your 3rd round pick to draft a 4th round talent… just gave away your 3rd round pick and instead have two 4ths, its idiotic…..

      • Are we sure every pick was that sort? Folks said the same same about Cole Tucker, and it came out later that the Athletics really wanted him right below us. Maybe not every team loved him, but there was at least one other team who saw what the Pirates saw (and which is starting to play out early in his pro career).

        But there are other picks the Pirates probably made to free up money to sign guys like Lodolo, Kranick, and Ogle, which I think is a perfectly reasonable (and perfectly necessary, given current draft rules) approach. Some of these “reach” picks might have been just a way to save money for tougher signs while still getting a decent player or a lottery ticket sort in the process.

        They didn’t reach on Craig, he was expected to go somewhere around where the Pirates took him. Lodolo might have been taken early, but they also might have felt they needed the extra slot value in order to sign him. Same with MacGregor. Alemais, Cederlind, Vieaux, Prohoroff, Eagan, and Anderson were likely picks to save money for Lodolo, Ogle, MacGregor, and Kranick, and maybe a couple other day 3 guys, but each also has tools the Pirates like (size, athleticism, contact skill, what have you), and could succeed in our system. Unfortunately, sometimes under the new draft rules a pick is as much about signing another pick as it is about how much you like the guy.

        I know it’s a long shot, but we might end up with a new, left-handed Glasnow out of this draft. Wouldn’t that be something?

  4. p.s., Pirates Prospects Gang, When can we start following the Draft 2016 Draft Pick Signing Tracker, and where can it be found? G;>?

  5. I don’t know much about these players, so it’s easy for me to be unimpressed – especially when I hear Keith Law and Jim Callis talk about them. But, I think Mr. Huntungton and our Scouting Staff have earned some respect over the years. So, I’ll bite my tongue and bide my time. Let’s sign ’em and see ’em develop!

  6. Just curious if the teams that were crowned kings alll had round 1-10 picks? It’s easy not to get excited when you draft low as we did. Hard to find sexy that late. It’s all moot as only time will tell.

  7. Though maybe not as highly regarded as Law or Callis, I find that John Sickels site is another valuable resource. Here’s his comments regarding the 1st 4 Pirates picks:

    22) Pirates: Will Craig, 3B, Wake Forest University: A monster bat, Craig hit .392/.537/.766 with 16 homers, 47 walks, and 33 strikeouts in 171 at-bats. He has plate discipline and excellent power; his arm is strong too (he has pitching experience) but may wind up at first base in the long run.

    41) Pirates: Nick Lodolo, LHP, Laverne, California: A 6-6, 180 pound southpaw from high school in California, Lodolo is a Texas Christian commitment but the Pirates would not pull the trigger here without a good read on his signability. His fastball varies between 88 and 93 but his fastball may reach peak velocities more consistently as he matures. His curveball and change-up also have solid-average potential but need more work. He is a long-term development project but a very interesting one.

    68) Pirates: Travis MacGregor, RHP, East Lake, Florida: Clemson commit; 6-3, 180 projectabiliy; low-90s sinking fastball and flashes promising curve, change-up; mid-rotation potential.

    105) Pirates: Stephen Alemais, SS, Tulane University: Renowned for glove and has a chance as a line drive bat, speed

  8. I was hoping the Pirates would take some high school arms, so in that respect, I am pleased with the draft. But I have no idea on how well any of the particular chosen players will actually do.

    It is a pretty lousy draft system when teams cannot actually draft for talent all the way through the draft. At most the Pirates got 15 players that could I would consider actual prospects.

  9. If the Pirates had been able to get the player selected the pick before each of their first 2 picks, the draft would be looking much better.

  10. The Pirates draft players that have specific qualities. Pre-draft hype is not one of those qualities. These players are not always tool sheds. Recent overdrafts, Tucker and Newman, now look like steals, one a prep player, the other a college player. The Pirates draft projectable pitchers in bulk, trusting that they can hit pay dirt with some of them. The goal, of course, is finding the next Glasnow, not the next Von Rosenberg or even the next Watson or Hughes.

    Of course, the Pirates adjusted their strategy to account for their low draft slots and for Seligula’s Josh Bell rules. These circumstances only increase the risks given with drafting and developing players.

    • Tucker and Newman do not look like steals…..wth are you talking about? They might be good ball players, but they still don’t seem like they are going to be major league stars to me

      • They look like steals because most considered them overdrafted players who have validated their selections with their production. Indeed, both could become ML starters, and even make an AS game or two.

        • I see your point, but based on where they were drafted, their upside is still NOT a steal- it’s an expectation when you draft someone at that level. They both still have less upside than you traditionally want for a player picked around #20 in any draft. Again, just my opinion. As far as i’m concerned they just went from serious reaches, to just a fair pick based on where they were picked.

          • Actually, they have ceilings consistent with or better than their draft slots. Late first round picks are risky when compared to those picked earlier in the first round. If the Pirates get two starters from the two I’d say they held serve if not more.

  11. The Pirate brain trust picked these guys and you have to believe they know more about the players then the so called experts, since they actually see them play, talk with them and get a feel for their maturity and ability to improve. I too hate the players they chose, they seemed to have over drafted a few and getting big bodies that pitch with little control. However, I hated the last two drafts and you have to admit the Newman and Tucker look pretty good at this point so lets hold back our rage and see if they can sign these guys to see what they can do. Then we can root for them to succeed or hate them if they fail to do so.

    • I think too many people blow off the opinions of the draft experts and it’s not fair to them. These guys actually do see many of the players and talk to them, but the ones they don’t see, they talk to scouts and watch video. If you watched the draft coverage and as it got in the later rounds on day two, if they didn’t know a player, they had information on him within minutes because they knew who to talk to, regardless of where that player was from. The guys who do that for a living put in the time and some of them are seeing these players more often than most people think.

      I don’t think anyone can just say a professional scout knows better than some of these experts based solely on the fact he’s a professional. It’s not as difficult to get into the scouting profession as some people think, and different scouts notice different things. That’s one of the reasons we try to get multiple opinions on players. It’s not because we don’t trust the first person we talked to, it’s because opinions vary.

      • I think people assume that an unexpected pick happens because team scouts rate a guy higher than the public analyst rankings, or saw something that others missed. Maybe that is the case sometimes, such as Tucker. But I think it’s usually more likely that a pick is about an overall draft strategy and bonus pool conservation/allocation. That seems to be the case this year. But personally, I don’t really get why you’d rather have 5 powerball tickets than one coin flip, but that seems to be what they went for here. Would depend on the probabilities they have on success rates of mid round prep pitchers (who fit their “projectable” mold) vs. success rate of top pitching prospects. Maybe the math makes sense when you have a small pool year, but it still bugs me.

  12. Ok John, help me out here my friend. To say quote/unquote have a successful draft, how many of your picks have to make it to Pittsburgh or be used in trades to get MLB talent??

    • I’ve heard all different numbers, but most people say two MLB regulars and one bench/bullpen makes it a successful draft. It also depends on where you’re drafting and how much you’re spending. I don’t think the Pirates can be compared this year to all of those teams with 11+M to spend and more picks near the top. Because of the huge differences in bonus pools, I don’t think you can issue a blanket statement about draft success.

      The 2009 draft gets killed here, but if you look at it from the angle that they used players from that draft in four different trades and two of the others played for the Pirates, it shows they still got value from it.

      • Ok…thank you!! Ok now back to our top 2 picks…I love Craig!!! The wooden bat talk is garbage!!! He knows that he has to make the adjustment and I anticipate him making it!! He still has the same plate patience, he still has the same hand/eye coordination. I agree that the dude needs to watch his LB’s and he projects as a first baseman, but he has gotten better every year at Wake. I remember John you saw him against the Carolina dude and he blew Craig away on 3 pitches!! But Craig had a successful weekend that series against Carolina!! I believe He was 5-9 that weekend!! Looking forward to seeing him do well wherever he is at! Lodolo…has a stud last name!! Don’t know much about the kid, but to be a Comp Pick, NH thinks highly of this guy!! I am not expecting anything out of him this year!! I want to see him Spring ’17 when he has had a full off season with us! Allow him to gain some weight and strength. All in all, I respect the hell out of NH!! To win in Pittsburgh, we have to have creative drafts! Going down the path everyone wants and expects you to go, is a recipe for disaster!! He has earned my trust and support!! So let’s see how this works!!!

  13. All I am going to say is that I will be following the careers of Perez (frikking Cards) and Nolan Jones closely. 🙂

    If they do well, I am going to call NH and offer him my services. (LoL)


    • Agree Foo. Perez looks the part of star to me, dope aside. He was just too sexy right there to pass on him dropping to us. I like Craig, however he is all bat and if the bat fails to deliver at all, then even first isn’t an option. I don’t like the odds, although I’m hopeful… even still I expect Bell to be around awhile. Perez could have been moved almost anywhere. Not sure about that pick.
      Who can say about the next two guys – All risk on NH part. You play your bets on these arms… 6-6 lefty, I’m thinking John Smiley??? 🙂

  14. Realistically the praise that this system is current getting may not even be earned. If you look at the pipeline that has been enthusiastically reported on you have to wonder where is the talent. Obviously this team needs pitching. We have one start to show this season from the system. We bring in a catcher for $20,000.00 who is worthless. I have to question what we are reading.Is it a charade?

    • He was a warm body who was available. I don’t know who else might have been available on practically a moments notice. I would have rather have someone better, but the org did well to secure Kratz.
      The PBC was setup to punt before the season began. One player, however good or bad, will not impact this team.

    • Well, considering our AAA catching prospect went down with an injury–not poor performance–it’s pretty tough to criticize them for having to go out and acquire someone when our starter also got hurt. And we’ve only gotten one start from our pitching prospects *so far,* but Taillon is likely coming back up to join the rotation to stay, and Kuhl and Glasnow are still options moving forward. We haven’t needed Bell or any other non-catcher position players, though.

    • Bill- our top prospects (other than some starting pitchers) are not rotting of old age in AAA. Our top catching prospect is rehabbing elbow surgery, so what exactly are you referring to? Are you in the camp that things players that should be very good in 2-3 years are ready to contribute now, because that truly makes zero damn sense.

    • We do, but all the criticism is deserved. The saying goes that you should judge the draft this early, but this one has the chance to be worse than 2009.

        • You guys are being way to pessimistic. If Craig is a regular, one of the four or so pitching prospects becomes a starter and one other player serves a bench role the draft is a success. That is not such a high bar.

    • My optimism left when you have the winning run
      on 3rd base and less than 2 outs and not your
      best hitter is up and you do not consider the
      squeeze play. It seems our opponents are
      considering it.

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