In the comment section to a previous thread, Patthatt writes:
How about we take the HS guy with a huge upside in Tim Beckham, be patient and hope he develops over the next 3-4 years like Andrew McCutchen, and possibly Neil Walker, and cross our fingers that the combination of young talent above, other draftees, and whatever new people we bring in through the expected trades later this year and beyond make the Pirates a perennial contender from 2011/12?
So far, I personally favor drafting Beckham, but others know a lot more about these players than I do. And either way, I think the Bucs should take the best overall player, or the most talented player, without regard for when he will get to the majors. It's the second overall pick, and you shouldn't try to get fancy with the second overall pick. You should just draft an awesome player, regardless of who he is.
There is something to this strategy, though, or at least its general outline. I recall seeing a comment on a message board once that I thought was interesting (no link, because I can't remember who said it or where). The idea was that if you're a new GM working with a non-contending team with no farm system, you should pick up a bunch of high school talent in your first few drafts, then grab a bunch of college talent in your next couple drafts, then watch them all arrive in the majors at the same time. It's idealistic, of course, but it's an interesting strategy, and it seems like the Pirates' best shot at winning a couple division titles in a row.
Think about it -- if the Pirates draft Pedro Alvarez and he's in the majors by the end of 2009, what good does it do? I suppose it's possible the Pirates contend in 2010, but I seriously doubt it. If the Bucs draft Beckham and he doesn't get to the majors until 2012, the Bucs probably won't be much worse for wear, and they get to keep Beckham through at least 2017.