The Pirates went a familiar route in the 38th round, taking their third player of the day from East Tennessee State University. They took catcher Hagen Owenby in the 14th round, and shortstop Chris Cook in the 30th round. They continued the raid in round 38 with left fielder Aaron Maher. I’m not sure if the two later round guys will sign, but that is rare for three players to be drafted by the same team from the same school in the same year.

The Pirates scout for Tennessee is Jerry Jordan, who also scouted first round pick Will Craig. Jordan’s most notable pick while scouting with the Pirates has been Austin Meadows. He was clearly a busy guy in this draft.

As for the guys in these rounds, none of them are college seniors, so they can go back to school and try to improve their draft slots. I’d be surprised if any of them sign, as they’re looking at filling out the bench at the lower levels for a few years. They can return for another year at college, be starters for their college teams, and maybe get picked higher next year. Or, if something goes wrong with one of the earlier day three picks, the Pirates might turn to these guys as a Plan B and offer a better role, which has happened before. – Tim Williams

36th Round, 1095th Overall: Dustin Williams, 1B, Oklahoma State

Williams is a power-hitting first baseman with solid defense. He had a tough junior season, hitting .219 with 72 strikeouts in 201 at-bats, but it came with 14 homers. Despite the low average, he still had a .786 OPS due to the power, plus 32 walks helping his OBP. He hit much better during his junior season with an .865 OPS and a slightly better strikeout rate, though he only hit six homers. After the 2015 season, he put up strong stats over the summer in the California Collegiate League, where he had a .954 OPS. If he signs, he will play for either Morgantown or Bristol, but he could probably improve his draft stock if he returned to college and tried to cut down on the strikeouts. – John Dreker

37th Round, 1125th Overall: Colin Brockhouse, RHP, Ball State

The Pirates selected Brockhouse as a draft-eligible sophomore. He pitched in relief in 2015 and served as a swing man in 2016. He didn’t put up good numbers in either year, with ERAs of 6.50 and 5.18, and he had control problems. He did strike out a little under a batter an inning, with 86 Ks in 91 IP. Brockhouse was throwing 90 MPH by the time he went to Ball State and may have added velocity since then. He also throws a curve and change. Brockhouse also played some third base in college. – Wilbur Miller

38th Round, 1155th Overall: Aaron Maher, LF, East Tennessee State University

Maher is the third player taken by the Pirates in the 2016 draft from East Tennessee State University. They also took catcher Hagen Owenby in the 14th round, and shortstop Chris Cook in the 30th round. Maher put up good numbers this year, with a .315/.401/.525 line and nine homers in 219 at-bats. He is a draft eligible sophomore, so he could return to ETSU for his junior year to try and improve his draft stock, while still having one more year of eligibility beyond that. It would be interesting to see whether his decision would be impacted if the Pirates sign his two other teammates. Owenby should sign, but Cook could return to college to improve his stock after labrum surgery this year. It’s possible the Pirates only get one of the ETSU position players. – Tim Williams

39th Round, 1185th Overall: Harrison Wenson, C, Michigan

Wenson led Michigan in homers with eight in 2016 and put up a .289/.345/.491 slash line. In his first two seasons combined, he had just 66 at-bats. He has a long swing, but he gets the barrel on the ball. Unlike most catchers the Pirates draft, he is not strong defensively. He blocks pitches well, but he doesn’t have good footwork behind the plate and doesn’t throw out many runners. If he signs, he may be a player the Pirates decide to move to another position, which could also help his bat. – John Dreker

40th Round, 1215th Overall: Bret Boswell, SS, Texas

Boswell missed the 2014 season with a wrist injury, then played short and third for Texas in 2015, and short in 2016. He’s a solid defender who probably profiles as a utility player as a pro. He hasn’t shown much with the bat, hitting .253/.376/.348 in 2015 and .241/.303/.397 in 2016. He drew a lot of walks in 2015, but his walk rate fell sharply the next year. He struck out a lot both years, in over a third of his at-bats in 2015 and over a quarter in 2016. – Wilbur Miller

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8 COMMENTS

  1. I will be the first to tell anyone that trying to assess a draft right after it occurs is absurd – it will take several years to get a good feel for how a draft pans out. That being said, I am not impressed with the Pirates drafting the past three years. In this years’ draft, their first three picks were all taken well before they were expected to be drafted and where they were rated. For reasons that are pretty obvious if you’ve read anything about Craig, I am not enthused about that pick – especially when Perez (the SS who failed a drug test) had fallen into their laps. Notice the Cardinals grabbed him immediately afterwards. It is possible Craig may have still been available at 41. If they do not sign all of the HS kids they drafted, this year’s draft looks like nothing more than stocking the short season teams with players. Except for the catcher with the USC commit, they didn’t draft one position player who excites me. Not one – in fact, they drafted very few position players until very late in the draft.
    Two years ago it was Cole Tucker – and although he is progressing and has hit better than I expected, there is nothing to his game that suggests he will be anything more than Jordy Mercer. Not that that is a bad thing, but you want more than that from your first round pick. I won’t even discuss the Connor Joe pick anymore – although he has his average up to .250 now – a high water mark for him.
    Last year, they took Newman – long before he was expected to be taken – and although he is a gamer and a very good singles hitter, do you spend a first round pick on a player like that? Especially if he doesn’t stick at SS – and I still have my doubts that he does.
    I have little confidence in this FO to draft well – they seem to want to be go against convention all the time in an effort to somehow prove they are smarter than everyone else. If they were aggressive in the International market and went after some of the numerous Cuban players, they could offset poor drafts – but they are not even in the conversation for any high rated Latin American and Cuban players – not even mentioned.
    So, the last 3 years have been great, but it is not sustainable if they don’t start becoming bolder in their drafting and International signings….

    • So you didn’t like Cole Tucker, but you think he could be a starting SS in the majors. And you didn’t like Newman, but you think he’s doing really well right now. I’m not entirely sure what you’re getting at there. Plus, you can’t just look at what they’re doing with the first pick and judge an entire draft. Just looking at the Top 30 prospects I pulled out guys like Keller, Hinsz, Eppler and Luplow all from the 2014 draft. You’re also overlooking Hayes and Waddell from last year.

      Then on the international side, they’ve had plenty of the lower bonus guys pan out. It’s a crap shoot when you’re throwing that much money at 16 year olds. I’d have a little more confidence in the front office that built one of the better farm systems in baseball from scratch.

  2. Look down the road and hope Portorreal,Conteras and Sanchez work out. I hope they all do but quality over quantity may produce a better result.

  3. Crazy that players with so little resume can be drafted. Slotting of picks causes allot of high school players to go undrafted or be put in a position to forego signing because the bonus is so small that college ball becomes a more appealing fallback option.
    Now that this is over let’s get on to the international signings on July 2nd. Get ready to be disappointed once again, as the Pirates will sign players for a small amount and hope they get another Matte but that is pure luck if it were to happen again. Pirates seem to refuse to sign a high valued prospect because the player might not make it. So they will sign a bunch of what would be 20th round picks in the draft and hope to uncover a jewel.

    • I think that kind of criticism of the Gayo and Huntington administrations is completely unfounded. Not because of the $. Because of the success rate of the players they actually do decide to sign.
      Nothing is 100% – but recently seeing Polo breakout is just another indicator that their work is still delivering actual prospects. De La Cruz’s may be next.
      Lastly, $ doesn’t mean shit. For an example of this kind of stupidity and lack of actually putting scouting work behind the signing – The Dodgers just released Alex Guerrero guy they paid something like $28 mil/ 4year deal. Released outright. He’s just the first guy, look at what Puig is even doing… I’ll take Polanco, Marte, Polo, etc.

      • If the Pirates are smart, they would sign that Guerrero kid – he is a hitter. I’d snatch him up – that kind of player would be worth taking a flyer on….maybe he just needs a change of scenery….he could be an impact bat…

      • Although I do agree with some of what you say, but its not just the Dodgers, Cubs, Yankees, and Red Sox being aggressive in the Latin American market and with Cuban players – even teams like the Reds, Twins, D-Backs, Marlins,, Phillies, and White Sox are signing some of the top rated players. Does that mean everyone of them will be turn out to be stars? No. But, I have to believe the odds are better when you are taking some of the top players, as opposed to fishing on the bottom all the time.

    • the pirates should all ways go over there bonus money ,because the penalty of 300,000 max the next year isn’t too far of what they spend anyway.

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