[Personally, I'm not big on the idea of taking a high school pitcher with the fourth overall pick, but this is a cool article. - Charlie]
I have to admit that I’m already in full blown draft mode. The new front office has definitely brought that excitement back for me. There are a couple of different schools of thought for the #1 pick amongst the posters on Bucs Dugout: 1) take the best player available or 2) take the best position player available (and stock up on pitching in later rounds). I usually fall into category 2 because of the low success rate of pitchers selected as high as where we normally pick. There is also the fact that when you are picking at #4 you absolutely can’t miss.
This year’s draft, however, has me looking at things differently. This draft lacks elite position prospects; so much so that it makes taking a pitcher at #4 seem more reasonable. Any position player not named Dustin Ackley taken in the #4 spot would be such an overdraft that if this were football Mel Kiper would go nuts! Too bad we can’t trade down because this would be a perfect draft to be selecting 10 – 20. The upside to this draft is, while there is a lack of elite position prospects, there are many very good catching prospects. This draft is also rich with pitching prospects. Fortunately, these are the two types of players the Pirates need the most. The Bucs have a chance to snatch up some very good prospects through our 1st three rounds in which we own the 4th, 49th, 53rd, and 84th picks.
So, you are running the draft for our beloved Bucs. Who would you select with these picks? Please be reasonable with your selections. Also, go on the assumption that Ackley will be gone by the time we pick at 4. And by reasonable I mean the player falls within a few places of where he is projected to go. In other words, Stephen Strasburg doesn’t fall to #4 and Donavan Tate and Grant Green don’t slip into the 2nd round. I’m more curious to see who everyone thinks we should get in the 1st round so if you don’t follow the draft that closely ignore the other rounds.
My mock draft goes like this:
4 – RHP Shelby Miller, HS: Yes a HS pitcher with the 1st pick. Jacob Turner could be selected here too but he is a Boras client who apparently has huge bonus demands. I don’t want to see another battle with Boras Co so Miller it is. Miller also possesses the best fastball in the draft in terms of velocity and movement. Miller and Turner both have “ace” ceilings and are the only prospects in this draft not named Strasburg that have #1 potential, IMO. We really need an “ace” in ours system.
49 – LHP Andy Oliver, OK St: He’s a hard throwing lefty with #2 upside. His early season struggles combined with the fact he is a Boras client, could allow him to slip into the 2nd round. And has anyone else noticed that we seem to love Oklahoma St. players? Baseball America projects him as a 1st rounder but Keith Law ranked him as the 46th best prospect in the draft so it is possible he could be around.
53 – C Luke Bailey, HS: Formerly the top catching prospect in the draft. Bailey is sliding down draft boards from the top half of the draft into the sandwich rounds (and possibly farther) due to the fact he’s had TJ surgery. If he’s not available I would select the best available C. There are # of good prospects expected to go at this point in the draft (Phegley – Indiana, Susac & Escalante – both HS).
84 – OF Reymond Fuentes, HS: This HS OF is very toolsy with an extremely high ceiling. He has plus speed. Keith Law gave him a 70 on the 20-80 scale and ranked him as the 85th best draft prospect. He also has pedigree on his side given he is the nephew of Carlos Beltran. The knock on him is plate discipline, as it is with many players his age, but if all goes right with him he’ll turn into a solid 5 tool player. If he’s not available here, and may not be once the CFs start coming off the board, I go pitching again and take someone like a Bullock out of Florida.
OK – enough of me. Who are you taking?