UPDATE: Pirates picks:
1. RHP Brad Lincoln (University of Houston)
2. LHP Mike Felix (Troy University)
3. 2B Shelby Ford (Oklahoma State)
4. RHP Jared Hughes (Long Beach State)
5. RHP Pat Bresnehan (Arizona State)
6. 2B Jim Negrych (Pitt)
WARNING: I am not a scout and my opinions on these players will probably change in the next few weeks as I read more about them. These are just preliminary opinions.
The Bucs passed on the top talent in the draft, pitcher Adam Miller, who fell to the Tigers with the sixth pick. Lincoln looks like a high-upside prospect and possibly a safer pick than Miller, who has issues with his mechanics, but this is the third year in the past five that the Bucs have passed on the top overall talent in the draft - the other two are B.J. Upton and Stephen Drew. Remember a couple years ago, when the Bucs said they were saving money for player development? Well, where's the evidence?
The Bucs will probably use Felix as a reliever, and the second round seems early for a reliever. Baseball Analysts, though, thinks Felix may be "the most underrated player in the country" and thinks he'd be a good first round gamble. He pitched some as a starter but was absolutely lights out as a reliever. Hmm. If his upside is that of a LOOGY, I'm not impressed, but if his upside is Chad Cordero or something, this can be a good pick. Felix also hit .382 as an outfielder.
Ford seems like an interesting pick. He has a good bat but may have to move from second base because of his defense. I can't find a lot of evidence that he was a highly regarded prospect, though. Hughes is a "polished" college product, according to John Sickels. He does not throw hard or strike people out. Scouts disagree about him. He's a huge guy at 6'7", so maybe there's some upside there. Bresnehan was a reliever for at least part of his college career, although he has also started. An Arizona State publication calls him - get this - an unheralded reliever. He throws in the low 90s with a good slider. The Pirates appear to have scouted last year's Cape Cod League - Lincoln, Ford, Hughes and Bresnehan all played there. It looks like the Pirates are going the safe route again this year, drafting college guys in order to beef up the low minors, though guys like Felix and Hughes may prove me wrong on that.
Negrych looks like a very good pick, and is a nice change from the Pirates' usual defense-first attitude. Or does PR come first? If so, Negrych is just business as usual. Snarkiness aside, he appears to be a solid pick in the sixth round. He does not have plus tools and he is small, but he can hit.
* * *
The draft is today.
It's far from certain Lincoln will be available when the Pirates pick, however, and they still could take Stanford pitcher Greg Reynolds. Baseball America explains:
-P- Here is Baseball America's Draft Tracker.
-P- Baseball Analysts thinks the Pirates will be a wild card in the first round.
-P- Here are the results of John Sickels' mock draft.
-P- Here is a post I did on the draft ten days ago.
-P- Here is a new article on the draft by Van Slyke.