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News Roundup: Around the Minors

Just wanted to warn everyone that updates will continue to be spotty the next day or two. I have gamethreads scheduled to go up, and I'll pop in when I can.

A few notes on the draft:

Three days ago I was furious with Neal Huntington, ready to pounce if he delivered a mediocre second day. Fortunately, he didn't, and he and Frank Coonelly appear to be pretty iconoclastic, creative thinkers. This could be good or bad, and I don't think drafting Sanchez was the right move even if the Pirates were committed to grabbing someone for slot value. This strategy--easy first-round pick, more difficult and interesting late-round picks--could make the Pirates look ridiculous if the many high-upside pitchers the Bucs took late in the draft don't sign or don't develop. But after years of playing it safe under Dave Littlefield, it's becoming increasingly clear that Huntington isn't cut from that mold at all--this weird draft strategy looks nothing like anything Littlefield would have done. (Littlefield might have drafted Tony Sanchez, actually, but he would have followed that pick with more uninspired picks later. He wouldn't have viewed drafting Sanchez as the means to an end, as Huntington apparently did.) Which I'm pretty happy with--after years of simply looking ridiculous, I'll take the chance of looking ridiculous with a legitimately outside-the-box, potentially high-reward strategy.

-P- The Pirates took five guys named "Zach," "Zac" or "Zack," including three in seven rounds, and one Zachary who went to Zachary High School in Zachary, Louisiana. That obviously means nothing, but it's funny. Anyway, here's an article on one of them, Zac Fuesser, a pitcher who was chosen in the 34th round. He believes the Pirates will use the next couple months to evaluate him and decide whether to offer him a deal.

-P- One guy to watch from the third day is 45th-round pick Kevin Gelinas. PG CrossChecker calls him the best junior college prospect in Arizona.

-P- If you didn't see it in the FanPosts already--and thanks to those who posted the news--the Pirates have already signed controversial first-round choice Tony Sanchez to a minor league deal, probably worth around $2.5 million. I assume he'll head to West Virginia. Now comes the tougher business of signing some of the higher-upside players the Bucs picked later in the draft.

-P- Speaking of West Virginia, pitcher Rudy Owens appears to be a real prospect. You'll probably start hearing more about him soon.

-P- The Bucs have signed former first round pick Tyler Herron, who was recently released by the Cardinals, and assigned him to Altoona. It's not really clear to me why he would have been available--he's got a first-round pedigree and a decent statistical record, and he's a 22-year-old starter in Class AA. Herron won't be mistaken for David Price anytime soon, but players like him still don't grown on trees. The Cards minor league blog Future Redbirds was perplexed by his release. Scouts still like Herron's fastball. This looks like a very nice no-cost move for the Pirates.