The seventh through fiftieth rounds of the draft were today. It's tricky to say much of anything yet about the guys the Pirates pick, but here are some tidbits and basic impressions. I'm going to try to round up more information in the coming days and weeks.
-P- First, a big-time shout-out to the many people who hung out in the Day Two Open Thread and tracked down information about each pick. Until Pirates minor league super-fan WTM weighs in, this thread is probably the single best source of information about these players available anywhere on the web. Some of the links that follow come from there. Kudos to everyone who participated, and the curious among you who didn't should check it out.
-P- A scouting report on yesterday's sixth round pick, Robert Grossman, suggests he could have gone as high as the supplemental first round.
-P- Baseball America reports that 7th-rounder Benjie Gonzalez and 27th-rounder Edwin Roman, both from the Puerto Rico Baseball Academy, are both defense-first picks. Roman, in particular, isn't much of a hitter, so it's possible the Pirates view him as an organizational player. That's not a big deal for a 27th-round pick, of course.
-P- Eighth-rounder Jeremy Farrell, son of Red Sox pitching coach John Farrell, looks like a great pick. He's a corner infielder from the University of Virginia. His power came along pretty well this year. Before that, he wasn't much of a power hitter, and he's not a great defender, so he'll have to keep hitting to make it to the big leagues. Bat speed may be an issue.
-P- Tenth rounder Drew Gagnon, a high school pitcher from California, looks like he might be a real prospect, but he'll be a tough sign: he's supposed to pitch for Long Beach State next year.
-P- 15th rounder Chris Aure is from North Pole HS. Yes, North Pole, which isn't that close to the actual North Pole but is instead near Fairbanks, Alaska. Baseball America:
Aure is the best prep product from Alaska in years, probably since Chad Bentz came out of Juneau in the late 1990s. Bentz was signed out of Long Beach State and pitched briefly in the majors; Aure might be a better prospect. He’s not as physical but he has solid velocity in the mid-to-upper 80s, he’s touched the low 90s, and he’s shown solid-average secondary stuff. A 6-footer, he’s not typically projectable but he also is from the NORTH POLE. Well, not really, because North Pole, Alaska, is right around Fairbanks. But the point is, this guy has never been a full-time baseball player, and he could get a lot better with more experience.
Interesting. Sounds like there's upside here.
-P- 16th rounder Wesley Freeman, a high schooler from Florida, looks like a very good pick. Baseball America reports that he has "outstanding raw power."
-P- 19th rounder Jason Haniger was Matt Wieters' backup at Georgia Tech. He hit very well this year.
-P- 20th rounder Quinton Miller looks like a great prospect but will be a very tough sign.
-P- 22nd rounder Pat Palmeiro is Rafael's son.
Check out the complete comment thread for more information. I'll wait for WTM and other to weigh in here, but my preliminary assessment is this: Wow is this different from a typical Littlefield draft. It's just night and day. There are signability issues and upside all over this draft, including in a few players I didn't mention here. Littlefield would routinely spend tons of draft picks on players who didn't even have good numbers in college. He'd sign them, and then, to no one's surprise, they'd flop in the minors. That didn't happen this year.
The Pirates aren't going to sign all these guys, but they'll sign some of them.The Pirates said a couple weeks ago that they might only sign 20-25 players from their draft. After seeing who they drafted, that comment makes a lot of sense.
Gonzalez and 25th rounder Brian Leach are the only guys I could find in the top half of the draft who look like typical Littlefield picks. Since there are only a couple, I'm inclined to give Neal Huntington and co. the benefit of the doubt, since it is possible they just see something that others don't. So far, this looks like a very, very good draft, although keep in mind that Littlefield is my frame of reference.
There are a lot of college players in this draft, especially in the early rounds, but there are some very interesting low-risk gambles on high schoolers with upside in the later rounds. There are also lots of shortstops, into which people shouldn't read much -- not all of them will stick at that position, and it's hard to get too much middle infield talent.
Anyway, so far this draft gets two big thumbs up from me.