FanPost

MLB Draft and the Pirates - Information Compilation

This fanpost is meant to mainly compile all information (rumors, facts, scouting reports, etc.) about the upcoming draft next month.  While discussion about certain rumors, etc. can be helpful, I would prefer to keep this fanpost information oriented.  Essentially, let's keep this post free of argument so people can easily find useful information pertaining to the draft.  I have organized this fanpost by individual players with a misc. section at the end.

Dylan Bundy

Rumors

Just got a call after leaving Milwaukee from someone I trust who says seriously considering Dylan Bundy w/ top pick.
As per Dylan Bundy -- the are seriously considering a handful of guys. But, safe money is on a college player.

-Colin Dunlap via his Twitter

Based on what I've heard from teams, Dylan Bundy is probably the best pure talent. Exceptional ability. HS P, not that big.

-Buster Onley via his Twitter - 5/19/11

High school right-hander Dylan Bundy has told several teams, including the Pirates (1st overall) and Royals (5th overall), that he’d prefer not to be drafted by them, according to Yahoo’s Jeff Passan. Bundy believes in his long-toss program and doesn’t want teams to try to change his way of preparing for games. Pittsburgh expressed interest in Bundy and the 18-year-old’s representatives said they’re asking for a six-year, $30MM draft bonus - roughly twice the current record - to scare teams off.

-Ben Nicholson-Smith via MLBtraderumors - 5/20/11

Scouting Reports

Bundy established himself as the best high school pitcher in this draft early in the spring and hasn’t let up at all, pushing himself into top-5 pick consideration.

Bundy has stuff, command, and aggressiveness, and fewer question marks than any pitcher in this draft other than Gerrit Cole.

He will sit 93-96 right now on average, sometimes running it up to 98, and holds his velocity deep into his starts. He has a big, sharp upper-70s curveball that is above-average now but could use slightly tighter rotation. His out pitch, however, is a vicious cutter at 86-88 that functions like a hard slider but is short enough that he can use it as his de facto changeup. He has a true change but rarely uses it now that he has the cutter in his arsenal.

-Keith Law via his 1st Mock Draft on ESPN insider

Bundy entered the spring considered one of the top high school arms in the Draft class, if not the best. And nothing has happened to change that evaluation. If anything, his performance at his Oklahoma high school has improved his standing.

The right-hander has been dominant, featuring three plus to above-average pitches. His fastball is among the best in the Draft, touching 98 mph and sitting at 95 mph. It's got above-average movement to boot. He complements it withtwo good breaking pitches. He'll throw his curve 75-79 mph and it should be at least an above-average pitch with tight rotation and some bite to it. He's got an 83-85 mph slider which isn't quite as good as the curve now, but has the chance to be in the future. He has a changeup, though it's behind the other pitches. But even that one has the chance to be Major League average.

He does it all with a strong, athletic frame and very good delivery, which should allow him to develop his already good control into excellent overall command of all his pitches. His future potential as a frontline starter had some teams very high up giving him serious consideration.

-Jonathan Mayo via MLB.com

Miscellaneous

Based on what I've heard from teams, Dylan Bundy is probably the best pure talent. Exceptional ability. HS P, not that big.

-Buster Olney via his Twitter

Danny Hultzen

Rumors

GM Neal Huntingtonwas at the University of Virginia last night, scouting Wahoos pitcher Danny Hultzen. A team source told me "don’t read too deeply" into Huntington’s presence at Hultzen’s start

-Rob Biertempfel via Triblive.com

I'm having a hard time seeing Hultzen as the best player on the board, but under Neal Huntington the Pirates have long considered value relative to cost in their drafts, sometimes preferring to spend less in the first round when they see opportunities to spend their savings on other appealing prospects in later rounds. They're still considering Gerrit Cole and Anthony Rendon, and I know they've done their due diligence on Dylan Bundy (but are very unlikely to take him).

-Keith Law via ESPN insider

Keith Law's mock draft latest info that has me convinced Pirates will take LHP Danny Hultzen with the No. 1 overall pick, with good reason.  The reasons:1-Hultzen's really good;2-signability: PITT has been burned in past waiting for players to start career; 3-? re:Cole, Rendon. The questions about Cole: He has great tools, but hasn't dominated college hitters. And with Rendon, folks wondering about his health.

-Buster Olney via his Twitter

Scouting Reports

What I witnessed was a unique (in the best of ways) pitching prospect with plus velocity from the left side and quite possibly the best changeup I’veever scouted. In the two plus years of Scouting the Sally, top pitchers scouted include Julio Teheran, Tyler Matzek, Mike Minor, Manny Banuelos, Zack Wheeler, Jed Bradley and Arodys Vizcaino. In terms of present stuff, Hultzen was the best of the bunch, and it may not even be that close.

  • Excellent pitchers build; Quad muscles literally show through his uniform pant
  • Little room for additional growth; Does he need it though?
  • Very athletic for a prospect with "funk" in his delivery
  • "Big League" pre-game preparation; Went through drills with focus and determination
  • Set up opposing hitters beautifully; Had little trouble working in/out, up/down, or mixing fastball/breaking pitches
  • 3/4 whip arm slot allows for excellent deception and perceived rise on fastballs up in the zone
  • Hides the ball extremely well and provides no "hitting window" for batters to time a proper load from
  • Fastball 92-95 MPH through the first 7 innings inc. 94 MPH from stretch; Worked full IP at 94-95 MPH
  • Dropped to 90-92 in the 8th
  • When down in the zone, fastball had heavy sinking action
  • Fastball velocity played up at 96-98 MPH due to deception
  • Plus present command with the fastball; Worked offering to both sides of the plate and changed eye level frequently
  • Changeup 82-85 MPH; Sat 77-79 MPH late in the outing
  • No difference in arm action from the fastball; Pitch features heavy drop and arm side run
  • Devastating to lefties; Hultzencan start it 6-8 inches outside and run it back across the corner
  • Slider 85-87 MPH; 83ish MPH late in the outing
  • Pitch flattened out when left up; Showed harder bite down in the zone
  • Third best offering at present; Lags considerably behind plus fastball and changeup

-Mike Newman via Scouting the Sally

Hultzen is one of the most polished players in this year's draft and probably the safest among the top prospects, although he doesn't have the upside of the power arms in this class.

He will sit 90-93, touching 95 in some starts, with an above-average changeup that has good fading action at 79-82. His slider is fringyand less consistent, projecting as an average pitch with slicing break, and he has but rarely uses a slower curveball that's more of a show-me pitch. His command is usually above-average but he can compete on days when he's not locating as well as he normally does.

Hultzen repeats his delivery well, drifting forward off the rubber witha moderate stridebut a noticeable arm wrap; he gets over his front sidewell with a late release point. If you like Hultzen, you can see a potential No. 2 starter, a guy who'll have three average to above-average pitches whose stuff plays up because of good command. If you don't, he's still a probable mid-rotation guy who's durable and is as safe a pick as there is in this draft.

-Keith Law via ESPNinsider


College pitchers who perform, particularly in a strong conference, will always move up boards as the Draft approaches and do well on Draft day. Not only has Hultzen been as consistent, if not moreso, than any other pitcher in this class, his stuff has been better than anticipated, moving him into an elite category.

His fastball is now a plus pitch, up to 95 mph, with his increased velocity and good sink. He's got a plus changeup, thrown around 82-83 mph, thrown withdeception and with plenty of sink. His slider isn't as sharp, but is should be at least average down the line. He's got above-average to plus control and advanced command, throwing in and out at will.

A lefty with outstanding pitchability and plus stuff, not to mention plus poise and instincts, is rare indeed and is a reason why Hultzen is being discussed by several teams picking at the very, very top of the Draft. 

-Jonathan Mayo via MLB.com

 

Anthony Rendon

Rumors

1) Pirates: Anthony Rendon, 3B, Rice: Rendon or Cole? Rendon or Cole? Both have some question-marks sneaking into their profiles, but for today we'll assume that the medical reviews of Rendon's shoulder turn out OK.

-John Sickels via his 1st Mock Draft on minorleagueball

I know Jack Zduriencikwent to see both Francisco Lindor and Bubba Starling last week, but everyone I talk to says Seattle is taking Rendonif they're happy with the medicals -- and a very good source told me earlier this week that there is nothing structurally wrong with Rendon's shoulder. (emphasis mine)

-Keith Law via his 1st Mock Draft on ESPN insider

That said, Pirates going through due diligence on all possibilities. GM Neal Huntington saw Rendon for three days last week, sources say.

-Buster Olney via his Twitter

Scouting Reports

The only thing keeping Rendon from being a sure-fire top-of-the-Draft talent has been his health. When he's 100 percent, there's no question he deserves to be at, or very near, the top of every Draft board. He's got four plus tools, with the only thing below average being his speed -- and even there, he can run better than people give him credit for.

 He'sa plus hitter who should hit .300 at the next level and he's got plus power. There's been a little concern withhis power numbers going down as a result of the new college bats, but most don't see it as a true concern. He's got Gold Glove capability at third, with a plus arm and outstanding hands.

The main hiccups have been with a pair of serious ankle injuries that have kept Rendon off the field the past two summers and a shoulder injury this spring that's limited him to being a designated hitter. If questions about his shoulder can be answered, though, he's still a safe bet to be gone within the first few picks.

- Jonathan Mayo via MLB.com

Rendon entered the year as the most likely No. 1 overall pick and could still go there, although he's no longer first on my list. His bat speed is outstanding and he's an extremely disciplined hitter who is willing and able to lay off a pitch a few millimeters outsidethe strike zone. When healthy, he's a plus defender at third base witha great first step and a plus arm. Even without any physical projection remaining -- he's just under six feet and well-built, but doesn't look like he'll add much weight going forward -- he's the kind of hitter who could win batting titles with average to above-average power.

His flaws aren't many, but they are worth noting. Once Rendongets his hands going forward, it's an outstanding swing, but he has a lot of excess movement before that point, often failing to come fully set, and it has led to timing issues that can leave him swinging right through fastballs in the zone. He's also facing questions about his ability to stay healthy, as his junior spring has been slowed by a sore shoulder that has kept him from playing the field some of the time; this follows major injuries to both ankles in the past two years.

Assuming the team doctors clear him, though, it's tough to match his potential to hit for average, get on base, and provide plus defense at third, making him the top college position player in the draft.

-Keith Law via ESPN insider

Gerrit Cole

Scouting Reports

Cole's performance, coupled with his size, athleticism and delivery, cemented his status as the top college arm in this draft -- and it illuminated many of the reasons he compares favorably to Stephen Strasburg of the Washington Nationals.

Cole came out throwing 92-94 early, mostly two-seamers, with an above-average slider at 86-89 and a plus-plus changeup -- I'm talking Clay Buchholz/Johan Santana good -- at 84-87. He has great arm speed on the changeup and the action on the pitch is somewhere between the fade on a normal changeup and the bore on a lively fastball.

-Keith Law via ESPN insider

Cole was a first-round pick by the Yankees in 2008 but decided after the draft that he'd prefer to go to college regardless of the money offered to him, a decision that looks like it will work out just fine for him.

Cole has two plus pitches and a chance for a third, with a much cleaner delivery than the one he had in high school or even in his freshman year. He'll sit at 96-98 with his four-seamer and will show you a low-90s two-seamer, but the main attraction is actually his changeup, a grade-70 pitch today, 84-87 mph with great arm speed and a sort of hard fade that you don't often see on that type of pitch. His slider is above-average but not a knockout pitch right now -- 86-89 mph with good tilt but not the pitch-to-pitch consistency he has on his fastball or his changeup.

He's aggressive and confident on the mound, working to both sides and attacking hitters with all of his pitches. He uses his lower half extremely well with a ton of torque created by the way he rotates his hips and a strong stride toward the plate; he also turns his pitching hand over sooner than he did in high school, which is potentially easier on his shoulder.

Cole's body also looks better, as he's stronger and more physically mature but still athletic. It's an outstanding package start to finish, a No. 1 starter who looks like he could pitch in the big leagues tomorrow if he'd sign soon enough to play.

-Keith Law via ESPN insider

This will be the second time Cole is a first-round pick, having gone to the Yankees No. 28 overall in 2008 out of high school before heading to UCLA instead. Three years in college have done nothing but improve Cole's stock, as he entered the year as the consensus top pitcher in the class, and not much has altered that evaluation, though some rough outings, results-wise, have caused some pause.

Cole looks and throws like a future ace, with three plus power pitches. His fastball is 92-99 mph and sits comfortably at 95-96 deep into starts. His hard slider comes in at 88-90 mph, and even his changeup is 88-90 mph. In some ways, that's been the problem -- no variation of velocity, allowing good hitters to time him. During a stretch when he was getting hit, despite his stuff looking just fine, he was opening his front side so his release point was right down the middle, meaning his stuff was catching too much of the plate. It was coming in flat, with a lack of deception. His control is fine -- he doesn't hurt himself with walks -- but his command within the zone is what really hurt him during that stretch. That won't keep the top couple of teams from putting him at or near the top of their boards, but it undoubtedly will lead to deeper conversations about the first overall pick.

-Jonathan Mayo via MLB.com

Francisco Lindor

Rumors

I'm told feel Francisco Lindor is waaaay too small for their liking. Aren't even considering him, contrary to some reports.

 -Colin Dunlap via his Twitter

Bubba Starling

Scouting Report

I had the opportunity to watch Bubba Starling play in three games over the past two weeks. A senior a Gardner-Edgerton HS (KAN), he showed a combination of power, speed, and instincts that will likely make him a top 5 draft pick come June. Starling was 3-for-7 in with two home runs, a double, four walks (2 intentional) and one strikeout in the games I saw him.

He’s a ball player who could have an influence on MLB betting odds some day.

Hitting

Starling is a work in progress at the plate, but he does have exceptional raw talent. Blessed with strong wrists and solid bat speed, he shows plus pull-side power. He is a bit front-foot heavy at the plate, but he kept his hands back well enough to stay balanced through his swing. He does not use his lower half during his swing, basically relying on his hands to generate power. Starling’s swing gets long at times, as he does not staying inside the ball consistently. This causes his bat to drag through the zone — his hands tend to come around the baseball instead of inside of it.

Starling pulled every ball he put in play when I saw him. He also hit everything in the air — he literally did not hit one ground ball in the three games I saw him. He still needs refinement with his swing mechanics and approach at the plate. I wouldn’t be surprised to see him struggle initially in his transition to pro ball. Overall he did have good pitch selection at the plate with pitches down, but struggled to lay off pitches up in the zone.

Defense/Athleticism

Starling is a tremendous athlete with a chiseled frame. He is tall (6-foot-5), lean (215 pounds) and has an extremely athletic body with plenty of room to fill out. He shows plus speed for a big man, as I clocked him at 4.31 seconds on the turn at first base. He gets to full acceleration easily after his first step, and shows very good natural instincts as a baserunner.

In the outfield, Starling glides to balls effortlessly, using his long strides to cover plenty of ground in center field. He takes good routes, and has smooth clean actions in the outfield. He did show plus arm strength, but he has a slow release and poor footwork upon release. This is not too concerning as it’s something that could be easily corrected with repetition and instruction. Should he get too big to play center field, he has enough arm strength to play right field.

Overall

Overall, Starling displayed outstanding raw talent. He flashed five-tool potential, though his weakest tool is currently his hit tool. He didn’t show the ability to use the whole field and still needs some refinement mechanically with his swing. Starling expanded his strike-zone quite a bit (up), but that is a common occurrence with young hitters.

Starling is your classic high-ceiling/low-floor type of guy. His overall skill set will make it very hard for organizations to pass on him. Having dedicated a lot of his time and efforts to football, Starling does show natural baseball instincts on the field, which is a huge plus. He makes everything look very easy, due to his natural, God-given talent. Starling is also revered for his hard work and exceptional make-up.

Scouting Directors and GMs could only imagine what Starling could be if and when he gives all of his attention to baseball. He is a big question mark leading into the draft. After sitting out three weeks nursing a quad injury, he has like planted his name back near the top of draft boards. He could fall to the back of the top 10, due to bonus demands, but there’s a chance that Starling get some consideration as the 2011 draft’s No. 1 or No. 2 overall pick.

-Mike Diaz via ProjectProspect - 5/12/11

Miscellaneous

Rumors

After Keith's first full mock draft Tuesday, I was inundated with questions via Twitter

Gerrit Cole not going No. 1 overall to Pittsburgh and falling all the way to Kansas City at No. 5 created quite the buzz, and one of the more popular questions about the scenario centers on the reason the Pirates would pass on both Cole and Rice's Anthony Rendon.

One suggestion is the Scott Boras factor (he represents Cole and Rendon), but the only part of that possibility that may ring true is the dollars. There haven't been any indications I am aware of that point to Pittsburgh passing on Boras clients because of the Pedro Alvarez debacle in 2008. But as Law wrote in Pitt's capsule, GM Neal Huntington and scouting director Greg Smith have gone the route of value as it relates to overall cost and the club has done rather well of late in later rounds, something made possible by spreading out their budget beyond the first round.

If they take that route again, Virginia's Danny Hultzen (Law's projection at No. 1) or UCLA's Trevor Bauer is likely to be the selection.

So if Cole doesn't go No. 1, why wouldn't Seattle take him at No. 2? This is possibly a case of the M's grading a number of players fairly evenly in terms of talent, but prefer Rendon's upside and potential to hit the big league lineup rather quickly. Not that clubs should ever draft for need, but if all else is equal, Seattle needs impact bats in the worst way and already have two young starting pitchers dominating in the show.

-Jason A. Churchill via ESPN insider

This is a FanPost and does not necessarily reflect the views of the managing editor (Charlie) or SB Nation. FanPosts are written by Bucs Dugout readers.

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