Pirates Discussion: Draft Strategy, Prep or Polished

The first game against the Miami Marlins initially began how the previous series went. Neither team looking particularly strong on offense, with Zach Thompson stretching the Marlins scoreless streak to 37 innings.

After Jason Delay got the Pittsburgh Pirates on the board with his first career homerun, the Marlins offense finally broke through getting four runs in the fourth. With the Marlins adding another four runs throughout the game, the Pirates went down quietly 8-1 while only collecting two hits in the game.

The Pirates offense is likely to get worse before things get better. Bryan Reynolds is currently recovering from an oblique injury, and the Pirates just traded Daniel Vogelbach. There isn’t much more meat for the Pirates to trade aside from Jose Quintana, but one of the veteran bullpen arms or bats might appease a front office enough looking for a slight upgrade to their bench.

With the MLB Draft still being fresh, I thought an interesting topic would be a discussion surrounding Prep Prospects. Particularly one from the Marlins and one from the Pirates.

******

Medium athletic build, has some present strength room for more. Has outstanding defensive tools behind the plate, quick and explosive actions, big-time arm strength, 1.89 in game, 1.78 in drills with game actions, very quick in his transfers, excels in all areas defensively. 6.94 runner. Right handed hitter, big bat wrap to start his swing, gets the barrel into the zone well, has improved his bat speed over the past year, can create back spin and get the ball to carry. Defensive tools set him apart.

******

This is Henry Davis’ 2018 scouting report that I’ve mentioned in the comments before, as I found it ironic considering Davis’ profile prior to the Pirates selecting him 1st overall in 2021 MLB Draft.

Davis wasn’t drafted during 2018 MLB Draft. He was ranked the 231st high school prospect, and the 20th high school catching prospect on Perfect Game. He was considered a defense first catcher, with hopes the bat would show growth. He would then completely flip his profile while at Louisville, where now his bat is his carrying tool and scouts question whether he’ll stick behind the plate.

******

Left handed hitter, has a good shift in from an upright open stance, has quick hands and can turn on the inside pitch and drive it with authority, smooth athletic swing with extension, really projects well with the bat and performed very well in the games. Also pitched, two-way prospect. Compact arm action with a high 3/4’s arm slot, quick arm coming through. Fastball topped out at 88 mph with very good life, slider showed power and late biting action.

******

This is from a scouting report for Marlins SP, Max Meyer. He was a 5’11” and 165 lbs two-way player that topped out at 88 MPH. He was originally drafted in the 34th round by the Minnesota Twins in 2017, but elected to attend Minnesota University. He was ranked the 128th High School Pitching prospect, and not among the Top 500 overall. Just as an interesting note, also found that he played hockey for his local high school, Woodbury High. Leading his team in penalty minutes with 35 PIM in 25 games.

What do these two have in common? They were low ranked high school kids that went to college, and then built up their pedigree enough to become top first round picks. Just about everyone remembers how the Pirates drafted Trea Turner in the 20th round of the 2011 draft, but he proceeded to go to NC State for three years before being drafted by the San Diego Padres in the first round of the 2014 MLB Draft.

The question becomes, do you believe these three players become the Top 100 Prospects (or MLB contributors in Trea Turner’s case) if they sign — pretend Henry Davis was drafted in 2018 for a second — out of High School? Or do you think the college path was what unlocked their potential?

I know part of my reasoning for liking Prep picks in the draft is the allure that they could become a hidden gem. At the same time, maybe going pro so early affects the individual career and development of prep players. Maybe Henry Davis never breaks out of his original defensive first mold, and becomes another Carter Bins where he shows raw power every now and then, but never on a consistent basis. Maybe Max Meyer only becomes a finesse righty, instead of throwing mid-90’s and sometimes touching 100 with a devastating slider. Maybe the Twins would’ve developed Meyer as a hitter.

Would Michael Burrows have been a big bonus first rounder in 2021 had he attended University of Connecticut? What would we think of injury riddled pitchers like Cody Bolton, Travis MacGregor, or Braxton Ashcraft as opposed to Hunter Barco and vice versa?

Marlins @ Pirates

Time: 7:05 PM EST

Pirates Starter: Jose Quintana (2-5, 3.99)

Marlins Starter: Max Meyer (0-1, 8.44)

Quintana Notes: Jose Quintana had arguably his worst start last time out in Colorado. Giving up six runs in five innings, while only striking out three batters to two walks. If there was a time for Quintana to get back on track, this would probably be the start. The Miami Marlins got to Zach Thompson, but have otherwise had trouble scoring. With Daniel Vogelbach being shipped out just prior to game one against the Marlins, there’s a good chance this could be Quintana’s final start for the Pirates.

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1979andCounting

Takeaways from tonight’s game:

– three oppo field hits against a tough lefty wins it. Gamel, Mitchell, and Yoshi. Finally!
– 2nd and 3rd no outs, and can’t score, and barely make contact. Two games in a row, let’s just go on a streak, it’s so laughable at our hitters approach.
– Marlins have some fine BP arms. Lose their starter in the second inning and put up zeros. No way our BP could match that, especially when we send our newest quality reliever to Indy!
– Block really needs to stop calling Shelton, Kelly and Marin the “brain trust”. Nothing could be further from the truth.
– Van Meter should have been released around Memorial Day. Why is he still on the roster with his -.7 bwar, .552 ops, 56 ops+????
– Way past time to part ways with Yoshi. What a bust, 2 HRs, -1.3 bwar, .500 ops, 44 ops+. Admit your bad signing Ben and move on.

bscat

Block needs to call the game and stop offering his opinion ad nauseam. Often, I have to turn off the sound.

skliesen

Poll question of the night. Who gets traded to Yankees this week?

A. Will Crowe
B. Duane Underwood
C. None of the above

robertkasperski

B Underwood

skliesen

Raise the Jolly Roger and raise a toast to Jose Quintana for hurling one damn fine Professional pitching performance tonight. 🍻👏👍

Last edited 2 months ago by skliesen
ricramer

Nice win.

skliesen

Kinda sorta

robertkasperski

Whoop! Whoop!!!!

robertkasperski

Happy Crowe Day Y’all!!!

![]comment image)_

ricramer

Seven strong from Q. Can he finish?

john_fluharty

You can just feel that trade value going up lol

skliesen

Hayes with two throwing errors thanks to Pirates not having a real 1B more than him making really bad throws.

robertkasperski

If only Chavis was 2” taller…..

robertkasperski

Yoshi!!

ricramer

Against a lefty?!?

skliesen

He supposedly has reverse splits…which isn’t saying much considering how bad he is against Pitchers who throw with either hand.

robertkasperski

Sign of the apocalypse??

robertkasperski

Won’t improve the return but will help keep the rerun from dropping

docdon385

Runners on 2nd and 3rd with no one out and the 2-5 hitters can’t get the ball past the pitcher. Pathetic. Why do I watch this stuff?

b mcferren

happened twice in the past 30 minutes

john_fluharty

It’s an addiction unfortunately.

Wilbur Miller

Allen is learning the Pirate Way quickly. Called out on strikes with a runner on third and nobody out.

skliesen

That sucks for Meyers. Marlins bad luck with Pitching injuries continues.

Wilbur Miller

What were some folks saying about developing hitters and acquiring pitchers?

skliesen

I know MLB teams have a love affair with SP’s who bring the heat. Lord knows I love watching em. But there’s something truly artistic about watching a crafty lefty change speeds and hit spots, too.

Since this may be Q’s last start with Pirates, I’m going to drink it on like a fine wine tonight.

Wilbur Miller

Just having a guy like this seems a plus to me. Another reason I wouldn’t trade him unless the return was better than the usual couple of C+ prospects. Although I suppose they could trade him and then try to bring him back this fall, but we all know that won’t happen.

b mcferren

#ExtendCantina

hoffmark83

Me thinks redwards60 should be DFA’D from this sight. Maybe the Pirates would pick him up.

skliesen

Looking at tonight’s starting lineup, including SP, and no less than 6 of the 10 are hopefully not wearing the uniform on August 3rd.

Jeesh!

Wilbur Miller

Holderman got optioned. Looking at what he’s done with the Mets, he’d be the Pirates’ second best reliever right now.

skliesen

Shows us how much management cares about winning.

Have to figure they’ll call him up after Pirates trade/dump one of the bullpen stiffs like Stratton.

jon6er

Has to stay down 10 days so unless there is an injury he’ll be pitching in Indy.

EightMenOut

See if he can become a starter in AAA? Starting pitching is a bigger need than relief pitching for 2023

Born4rf

If Quintana is traded after today that might be a factor but this guy success seems to be entirely as a 2 pitch reliever. However, with his injury history, now healthy, he might be a starting candidate.

john_fluharty

Agreed. He can replace just about anyone in our pen with a few exceptions.

Last edited 2 months ago by john_fluharty
ricramer

Sure doesn’t make a lot of sense, eh?

TNBucs

Could be roster management as Roberto says–I can’t imagine anyone they would DFA would bring back an interesting player but maybe Underwood would. The Yankees need a reliever and they have experience turning our decent relievers into something much better. I’d rather they keep Underwood but I don’t think anyone else we might trade would have value.

Or, I’d hate to think this was the case with a reliever but he was called up early enough that if he stays up he’d qualify for Super Two.

robertkasperski

Agree that they have another deal being lined up ant it will clear the spot. Could well be Underwood and why lose another guy that might be moved yet for a lottery pick for only a cash deal if they DFA him now while they are working on Underwood or the other wise DFAd guy

roberto

Just roster management before the trade deadline. Doesn’t sound very exotic to me.

Wilbur Miller

The Pirates not trying to put together their best team? Yeah, definitely not exotic.

1979andCounting

Mismanagement you mean.

PirateRican21

I believe that the pro route is the way to go, they have an investment on the player, the resources and experience to develop and hopefully maximize the player. How often do we read about a college kid throwing an obscene amount of pitches? Most college programs are gonna squeezed every single drop of blood out of the player in that 2-3 years they have them and not worry much about what happens after.

MB21

And that’s the argument I make all the time about this “limited capacity” fad. If all these pitchers get hurt while limiting them, are the current limits really valid and in the player’s best interest? Is there empirical evidence to suggest that these limits actually prevent injury? If so, I might change my mind on the issue.

Or maybe it’s like mask-wearing – we were told over and over for two years that mask-wearing would prevent spreading COVID but no one actually cited any studies with empirical evidence to prove that to be true. Could the same be for innings limits, pitch counts and number of starts to a season? Just asking…

roberto

Just to be clear, the evidence about mask wearing is solid. It’s based on clinical trials and natural experiments. The evidence about pitching injuries and innings or pitches isn’t compelling.

john_fluharty

I often wonder the same thing about the inning limits and pitch limits.

PirateRican21

It could just be that injuries are gonna happen, but is less likely one way than the other.

roberto

The evidence is quite limited. But the logic seems solid. Injuries can happen any time, but fatigued players are more vulnerable. And it’s probably more about stressful pitches than innings. Someone who’s cruised through six with 80 pitches probably has lower risk than someone at 80 in the fourth, since there was at least one tough inning.

MB21

So I wish someone would do a study. Do 100 pitch limits help stave off injuries? How about 90 or 80? Or do pitchers with higher innings totals really get injured at a higher rate? If so, at what level? 200 in a year? 150? 100? And what about the inverse? Do low innings totals or limited pitch counts make a pitcher more or less likely to have an injury the next season?

Maybe it has more to do with diet, too much or too little weight training or a myriad of other factors. I guess I just think that all these limits encourage pitchers to “sprint” rather than run for the distance (throw rather than pitch?) and maybe this makes them more limited in experience and the ability to adapt to situations.

john_fluharty

It would be a difficult thing to study. I think pitchers on average throw harder nowadays, so do the pitcu counts and inning limits help at the same time the harder throwing hurts and they cancel each other out? It would definitely be interesting to see some data on that.

TNBucs

This is a great topic, one of the best to lead off a Pirates Discussion thread! Initial thoughts:

  • If players are developing better in college than they would in the pros there is huge potential for teams to figure this out.
  • OTOH, statistical studies have shown that soccer players born on a date that make them among the oldest on their teams are more likely to play at the highest levels later in their lives–maybe college development has something to do with being one of the better players on your team and developing confidence.
  • Also a good reminder why drafting “HS upside” is overrated. (One reason I liked Parada at 4 though I couldn’t be happier with Johnson as they were my top two.)
skliesen

If I had a kid who had the opportunity to either go pro or go to college, unless he’s making 7 figures to go pro, I’d encourage him to go to college. Anything less is just not enough money to justify the loss of going to college with your peers.

First, the odds of making it to MLB as a mid/late round selection are not good. Second, there’s no replicating the college environment for personal growth in all parts of your development as a human being. Lastly, it’s one’s last opportunity to be a kid. Rushing into adulthood isn’t beneficial for most people, including baseball players.

With that being said, I hope Pirates sign all their prep selections. Call me a hypocrite, but none of them are my kids.

ArkyWags

College is always there, baseball won’t be and is far more fickle. If he gets a good offer, I’d advise my kid to sign.

john_fluharty

Plus a lot of times the team will agree to pay for the kids education in addition to whatever signing bonus he gets, so if he doesn’t make it as a pro he can go ahead on to college.

Last edited 2 months ago by john_fluharty
mehutch

I pretty much agree with everything you said. But these college athletes are under intense pressure, trying to please mom and dad, their coaches, fellow students, fans, while trying to maintain their scholarships and keep their grades up. Schools can be ruthless too by pulling scholarships for pretty much any reason. I think the growth you get in college is invaluable but it sure isn’t easy either.

skliesen

Totally agree with your take. It’s choosing between two difficult paths. In the end, gotta support the kids decision as it’s his life.

I know that’s what I did with my kid who is try to be in the equivalent of MLB for classical music.

robertkasperski

Sounds like many of the prep kids are going with your idea of approaching the decision to go pro or go to school. Many more college players seemed to be picked over prep unless they were at the top of the draft. With NIL money being out here, they can now go to school, get some money and improve their skills and not lose a ton of money in the process especially if they are picked after the 10h round.

chuck_conner

There’s not much NIL money in college baseball.

capirate

I generally prefer high school players though what I really want is upside. I think the maturation issue is a big one. I once worked with a LHP who was drafted from a small high school by the Twins when he was 17. My brother-in-law thought he had the talent to reach the major leagues. But the guy admitted that he was too immature to be on his own in Florida and was released by the Twins the following season. Would he have been better served going to college? I’m not sure he was “college material” so maybe not. This was back in the 70s so maybe the choices are better for immature players now.

Born4rf

Great topic BNP. I wonder if front offices have not been having the same conversation. Perhaps that is why so few kids with scholarship offers where chased in this draft. With fewer teams in the minors there are simply fewer seats in the classroom. More efficient too let the SEC grow these boys to men before you throw money at them.

TNBucs

This also makes me wonder how playing to win, as they do in college but not in the minors, can have a positive impact on development for some players. Overall, I still think the best path to the majors for top HS players is developing as a professional, but it would be inconsistent with our current focus on players as individuals to think that works best for everyone.

TNBucs

A sobering reminder that picking HS kids give us something to dream on the days after a draft but rarely work out. My reference point lately are the high schoolers that we signed after round 10 in 2019–I was pretty excited for Bowen, Harbin, Dixon, and Walker and to this point none of them look like impact players and only Bowen looks like he might make the majors*. Yet, I still wanted us to pick more than a single high schooler in rounds 11-20 this year.

*With the pandemic year it may be too soon to write off these players but none are where I’d hoped they’d be three years later (though if Bowen gets promoted and transitions well, he’ll be back on track).

roberto

Two other points. HS coaching is all over the map. Some are great teachers; some are awful. Second, most HS players missed a year of ball. Teams were inactive, and would you let your unvaccinated kid go into a locker room in 2020? BTW, on board with your argument.

roberto

Some of this is just maturation. For example, Perachi came out of HS too skinny and with an underwhelming FB. No DI or pro teams were interested, despite his HS success. Now he’s a heavily-scouted, big, strong guy with very decent velocity. Will he succeed in MLB? I don’t know, but multiple teams thought he might.

hoptown

It would really really really help Quintana’s trade value if he has a good outing today. Has been solid all year until that last outing. Throws a gem today and we might get a nice return.

redwards60

Keep making excuses for the Pirates incompetence…most of the college players they selected had horrible numbers and very low ceilings. Until the Pirates change and really compete, they have earned all the criticism they get. I am embarrassed by this organization.

chuck_conner

The Pirates have always taken the safest path with their college picks. This draft they picked a player that could become a yearly allstar. They don’t need anymore AAAA players.

skliesen

There are certain commentators on this site who’s opinions on players abilities hold sway with me. You, Sir, are not one of them.

ArkyWags

Maybe wait till the guys actually fail here before you keep on with wet fart comments like this.

Born4rf

Methinks Redwards is actually Mark Madden working on his material. Lol!

robertkasperski

Yep, either Madden or The Fan after guys….

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