Sorry for how long this is but I wanted to look at the breakdown of Huntington's drafts. I focused solely on the top 10 rounds. The reason I did this was because the Pirates farm system has recently been questioned, and rightfully so. It is short on hitters, especially at the upper levels, and strong on pitching, so I wanted to see why. I chose to simply look at the drafts, mainly because the Pirates have been big spenders in this arena and the international market takes a long time to help a team. I also felt like the trades have been analyzed greatly over the years. Without further ado ...
College, JC and High School breakdowns (first 10 rounds)
2009 – 4 College (insert), 6 High School (Brooks Pounders, Zack Dodson, ZVR, Trent Stevenson, Colton Cain, and Joey Schoenfeld), and 1 JC (Evan Chambers).
2010 – 2 College (Tyler Waldron and Brandon Cumpton), 7 High School (Jameson Taillon, Stetson Allie, Nick Kingham, Jason Hursh, Austin Kubitza, Dace Kime, Zach Weiss), and 1 JC (Mel Rojas Jr)
Total breakdown – 22 High School (53.65%), 2 Junior College (4.88%), and 17 College (41.48%).
Notes: They did not sign Scheppers and Gagnon (2008), Hursh, Kubitz, Kime, and Weiss (2010).
Total Breakdown after removing unsigned players – 17 High School, 2 Junior College and 16 College
Hitter and Pitcher breakdown
2008 – 3 Pitchers and 7 Hitters
2009 – 7 Pitchers and 4 Hitters
2010 – 9 Pitchers and 1 Hitter (Mel Rojas Jr).
2011 – 6 Pitchers and 4 Hitters
Total breakdown – 25 Pitchers (60.97 %) and 16 Hitters (39.02%)
Total breakdown after unsigned players are removed – 19 Pitchers and 16 Hitters
If you take out the 2008 draft the Pirates have drafted 22 Pitchers (70.96%) and 9 hitters (29.03%) in the last three drafts. Further evaluation reveals that from the 2008 draft we got Alvarez at the MLB level, D’arnaud, Mercer, Wilson and Hague at the AAA level, and Grossman at the AA level. To me this seems like a solid wave of prospects (a little on the hitting side).
If you take out the 2008 draft, the Pirates have drafted 19 High School players, 2 Junior College players and 10 College players. Lets think of it this way - Huntington drafted college players in 2008 to create a wave that would arrive relatively quickly and then followed it up with High School/JC heavy drafts. That is going to naturally leave a gap.
Therefore, the change in philosophy from hitting heavy to pitching heavy has left the Pirates without a second wave of hitting prospects. This plus the fact that 2009 has already seen 2 players fail out (Schoenfeld and Stevenson) and others struggling hurts our ability to trade for bats. Also, the Pirates adopted a much more High School heavy approach from 2009 and on, leaving the farm system with a gap of talent because High Schoolers take longer to develop (see Grossman).
The Pirates should take a much more balanced approach to drafting, specifically equaling the ratio of college to high school and hitting to pitching ratios. I understand that certain drafts have areas that are stronger than others and the Pirates should take advantage of those areas. However, the drafts should not be too lopsided (2011 is a solid approach in my opinion).
The 2010 draft should not have been 9 to 1, in favor of pitching and 2 to 7 to 1 for breakdown of college to high school to JC.
Other qualms – the 2009 draft should have focused on higher upside in earlier rounds (rounds 1 to 3 are protected and should be treated as such). I’m not necessarily talking about not drafting Sanchez. In my opinion, that approach is fine if you follow it up with high risk/high reward players in round 2 and 3 (not Pounders and Chambers type of players). Also, failing to sign 40% of your top 10 picks in 2010 is unacceptable. If you knew Hursh, Kime, Kubitza and Weiss were tough signs then you shouldn’t have drafted all of them.
Huntington and company's approach to the 2009 and 2010 drafts have left holes in our farm system and left it extremely weak in the hitting department.