Through the end of day two, the Pirates’ 2019 has been . . . well, interesting. Starting with their last two picks on day one and continuing through round six on day two, the Pirates consistently selected players who appeared to be significant overdrafts, at least if you go by the ratings you can find at various online outlets. You have to think that many, maybe even all, of these players will sign below the slot amounts. The Pirates also selected a college senior in round nine, so they’ll probably pay out only a token bonus in that round.
Of course, it’s possible that the Pirates are looking for hidden upside that’s not reflected in the various draft rankings. Matt Gorski (round 2) and Will Matthiessen (6), for instance, have considerable power potential if they can make more consistent contact. The Pirates have drafted similar players before, such as Casey Hughston, Michael Suchy and, most recently, Dylan Busby, but they’ve had no success with such projects. Jared Triolo (2B) and Blake Sabol (7), conversely, may be able to produce more power with adjustments to their swings. J.C. Flowers (4) may be able to upgrade his game on the mound now that he’ll (as far as we know) stop being a two-way player. Matt Fraizer (3) may have been undervalued after overhauling his swing because a broken hamate cost him most of this season.
The interesting aspect of the pitchers the Pirates selected (leaving aside top choice Quinn Priester) is that most or all of them may project as relievers. Grant Ford (5) was a reliever in college. Austin Roberts (8) and Cameron Junker (10) both feature arsenals that may be limited to fastball/slider, as well as questionable command, so they may be destined for the bullpen. The focus appears different from the Pirates’ usual fascination with tall (Ford and Roberts are 6’1″ and 6’0″, respectively), groundball pitchers who project as back-of-the-rotation starters. Of course, considering the dumpster fire that the major league bullpen is right now, a couple college pitchers who might be able to move up quickly as relievers wouldn’t be a bad thing.
Anyway, it’s hard not to think that the Pirates will make a push for one or more day three picks who’ll require above-slot bonuses. It’s hard to see them spending anywhere near their full pool with the picks they made the first two days. Of course, we don’t know what discussions they had with the agents (oh, pardon me, the dopey NCAA euphemism is “advisors”) for picks like Priester and Sammy Siani, but neither has been mentioned as an especially tough sign. And there certainly don’t seem to be any over slot picks on day two.
After the day two drafting, Neal Huntington did discuss the difficulty in drafting prep players:
“The pool system sets it up so that it is challenging to get a high school player really outside of the top two rounds. Into the third round, the bonus drops off to almost a half million dollars by the time you get to the bottom of the third round. So it becomes a challenge. Most high school players’ asks are over $500,000.
“The high school players that are signable tend to fly off the board, and the ones that are tough signs, you’ve got to get them in the first two or three rounds.”
Of course, this doesn’t necessarily imply that the Pirates will try to scrape together the pool money to go over slot for prep players in the last 30 rounds. They have, however, done it a number of times in the past. Among their current prospects, that includes Max Kranick, Mason Martin, Jack Herman and Michael Burrows. This time around, the team’s day three picks will undoubtedly include the usual group of organizational-type players — watch for catchers in particular this year. That’s standard for every team. Overall, though, the day could hold more than the usual level of interest for the Pirates.
DRAFT DAY TWO RECAP
3rd Round Pick: Matt Fraizer, CF, University of Arizona
4th: J.C. Flowers, RHP, Florida State University
5th: Grant Ford, RHP, University of Nevada
6th: Will Matthiessen, OF, Stanford University
7th: Blake Sabol, OF, University of Southern California
8th: Austin Roberts, RHP, Sacramento State
9th: Ethan Paul, SS, Vanderbilt
10th: Cameron Junker, RHP, Notre Dame
Altoona is in fourth place in their division, nine games back with 14 games remaining in the first half.
Bradenton is a half game back for first place with 12 games remaining in the first half.
Greensboro is in second place in their division, five games back with 13 games remaining in the schedule.
Today’s Starter and Notes: The Pittsburgh Pirates lost 12-5 to the Atlanta Braves on Tuesday night. Joe Musgrove will get the start tonight. He allowed five runs on 11 hits in six innings against the Milwaukee Brewers in his last start. His previous outing versus the Los Angeles Dodgers ended with six runs on ten hits in five innings. The Braves will counter with right-hander Kevin Gausman, who has a 5.56 ERA in 55 innings, with 57 strikeouts and a 1.38 WHIP. His last start was eight runs in one inning against the Washington Nationals last Wednesday. His previous three outings were all six inning starts, giving up a total of six runs in those games.
The minor league schedule includes a morning game for Altoona for the second straight day and an early afternoon game for Greensboro. Indianapolis will send out Luis Escobar for his fourth start. He had given up two runs over 12 innings as a starter. Greensboro’s Osvaldo Bido had an 0.91 ERA in April and a 6.46 ERA in May. He shut out today’s opponent (Charleston) over six innings on April 11th. Bradenton’s Aaron Shortridge allowed five runs in five innings during his last start. He gave up just one run over seven innings in his previous game. No starter has been listed for Altoona.
The full 2019 Pirates Prospects Prospect Guide is now available, up to date as of April 3rd, with every player in the minor league system (NOTE: There have been just three players released and two added since then, so the book is still 99% up to date). Includes full reports on the top 50 prospects, reports on over 150 other players, as well as looks back at the recent drafts and international signing classes. Subscribers get 20% off the purchase of a book.
MLB: Pittsburgh (28-31) vs Braves (33-27) 7:05 PM
Probable starter: Joe Musgrove (4.57 ERA, 51:19 SO/BB, 65.0 IP)
AAA: Indianapolis (34-23) @ Louisville (24-34) 7:00 PM (season preview)
Probable starter: Luis Escobar (2.51 ERA, 18:6 SO/BB, 14.1 IP)
AA: Altoona (26-29) @ Erie (26-27) 10:35 AM (season preview)
Probable starter: TBD
High-A: Bradenton (33-24) @ Daytona (31-27) 7:05 PM (season preview)
Probable starter: Aaron Shortridge (3.75 ERA, 47:9 SO/BB, 60.0 IP)
Low-A: Greensboro (38-19) vs Charleston (31-27) 12:00 PM (season preview)
Probable starter: Osvaldo Bido (3.73 ERA, 47:14 SO/BB, 60.1 IP)
DSL: Pirates1 (1-2) vs Rays2 10:30 AM (season preview)
DSL: Pirates2 (3-0) vs Tigers2 10:30 AM (season preview)
From Indianapolis, JB Shuck hits a three-run homer
— Indianapolis Indians (@indyindians) June 4, 2019
Altoona had a pair of big home runs on Monday night. First is Hunter Owen tying the game with his 13th.
HUNTER OWEN 💪
— Altoona Curve (@AltoonaCurve) June 4, 2019
Followed by Bligh Madris putting them ahead for good with his second
POWER UP, @Bligh_Guy 💪
Bat flip and all, this is the one that would be the difference in Erie before a 1-2-3 bottom of the ninth by Angel German.
FINAL: Curve 9, Erie 8 pic.twitter.com/HZF9u8gkjh
— Altoona Curve (@AltoonaCurve) June 4, 2019
6/4: Deon Stafford and Hunter Stratton suspended (league). Shea Murray assigned to Extended Spring Training. John Bormann and Luis Nova added to Bradenton roster.
6/3: Cody Bolton placed on injured list (more on this later Wednesday)
6/2: Pirates release Randolph Gassaway
5/31: Pedro Vasquez and Alfredo Reyes assigned to Altoona. Adrian Valerio and Ryan Valdes assigned to Bradenton.
5/31: Jack Herman assigned to Greensboro. Brett Kinneman assigned to Extended Spring Training
5/31: Allen Montgomery added to Bradenton roster
5/30: Connor Kaiser activated from Greenboro injured list.
5/29: Joe Jacques promoted to Bradenton.
5/29: Jake Elmore sent outright to Indianapolis.
5/28: Mitch Keller optioned to Indianapolis.
5/28: Alfredo Reyes promoted to Indianapolis. Domingo Robles promoted to Altoona.
5/27: Pirates acquire Yefry Ramirez from Baltimore Orioles for cash or PTBNL.
5/27: Pirates recall Mitch Keller. Montana DuRapau optioned to Indianapolis.
5/27: Cam Vieaux promoted to Indianapolis. Steven Baron activated from injured list.
5/27: Ryan Valdes and Austin Coley promoted to Altoona.
5/27: Alex McRae added to 40-man roster and recalled. Doydas Neverauskas optioned to Indianapolis.
5/27: Pirates recall Richard Rodriguez to serve as 26th man for doubleheader.
5/26: Francisco Cervelli placed on 7-day injured list. Jake Elmore designated for assignment. Jacob Stallings and Jose Osuna added to Pirates.
5/25: Pirates add Rookie Davis and Dovydas Neverauskas. Chris Stratton placed on injured list. Michael Feliz optioned to Indianapolis. Lonnie Chisenhall moved to 60-day IL.
5/25: Pedro Vasquez promoted to Indianapolis. Ryan Peurifoy added to Altoona roster.
5/25: Ike Schlabach placed on injured list.
THIS DATE IN PIRATES HISTORY
Two former Pittsburgh Pirates players born on this date, plus some draft news. Outfielder Ray Rohwer from the 1921-22 Pirates, was born on this date in 1895. He is overshadowed by the other player born on this date, Hall of Fame pitcher Jack Chesbro. He is best known for winning 41 games in 1904 for the New York Highlanders, but Chesbro pitched for the Pirates from 1899 until 1902, helping the team to two NL titles. During the 1902 season, the Pirates had their best winning percentage ever and Chesbro won 28 games, which is the highest total for a Pirates pitcher since 1900. You can read more on Chesbro here.
The Pittsburgh Pirates have used first round picks on June 5th to select Pedro Alvarez (2008), John Van Benschoten (2001), Sean Burnett (2000), Willie Greene (1989), Mike Bielecki (1979), Rod Scurry (1974) and Steve Nicoscia in 1973.
On this date in 1915, the Pirates defeated the Brooklyn Robins (Dodgers) by an 11-0 score, with Hall of Fame center field Max Carey going 5-for-5, with two doubles, two runs, two RBIs, and two stolen bases. Honus Wagner added two hits and drove in a run, while pitcher Al Mamaux moved to 7-1 on the season with the complete game shutout. The rest of the pitchers for the Pirates had a combined 12-20 record at the time. You can view the boxscore here.