Baseball Prospectus (subscription required) has the Bucs taking USC shortstop Grant Green, which is a pick I'd endorse based on what I know so far. But the name on everyone's lips elsewhere is that of Boston College catcher Tony Sanchez. Keith Law (see below) says the Pirates already have a deal with Sanchez, and Baseball America has the Bucs taking Sanchez in its latest mock draft. It also says in the blurb on the front page that the first four picks are pretty much "locked down." Jen Langosch also thinks the Bucs will take Sanchez.
Sanchez hit very well for Boston College this year, but even he says his game is all about defense:
David Laurila: I understand that your favorite player is Yadier Molina. What does that say about you?
Tony Sanchez: It says that, for me, it's all about defense, and hitting is a bonus. I pride [myself on] defense a lot and work really hard on catching; I work hard on throwing guys out, blocking, receiving, and everything that goes with the job. I'd much rather throw a runner out than hit a home run, and that's the same mindset as Yadier Molina has. He really loves his defense, and he works harder for his pitchers than he does for himself in the batter's box. That's the way I try to play.
That's admirable and all, but can we please not take a defense-first catcher with the fourth overall pick? There are lots of catchers available in this draft. If the Pirates don't want to take a pitcher fourth overall--and I think that's understandable, given what bad investments first-round pitchers often are--there are higher-upside hitters available, like Green and Florida high school infielder Bobby Borchering (who, like Sanchez, would probably sign relatively cheaply anyway). I'm not opposed to the Pirates saving a bit of money early in the draft as long as they grab some high-upside, tough-to-sign players in the Robbie Grossman mold later on; this is a strange draft that might reward an unusual approach like that. But from what I've read so far, I don't want that to mean using their first-round pick on Sanchez.
You can watch the draft here.
6:15: The Nats select Stephen Strasburg. No surprise there.
6:19 The Mariners pick Dustin Ackley. It's no surprise, but it would have been nice if the Bucs got a shot at Ackley.
6:23 The Padres draft Donavan Tate. Bucs on the clock.
6:28 THE PIRATES PICK TONY SANCHEZ. As I said before, I don't get this pick. I'd love to understand the Pirates' side of it, but almost no one seems to think this is a good idea. The Bucs need upside, and from what I've seen, Sanchez is a slow-bat, defense-first catcher who doesn't provide it. I'm fine with the idea of spending relatively little with the first-round pick because there are few standouts and lots of depth in this draft, but there are other players who could have been drafted cheaply who'd provide more upside. Bobby Borchering, a lead-gloved high school infielder with lots of power potential, is one. It's not too late for the Pirates to salvage this draft, as there will be lots of opportunities for the Pirates to throw money around later on, but for now I give this pick thumbs way down.
I suppose it's admirable that Neal Huntington doesn't really seem to care what the fans think, but most of his other main moves (trading for Jose Tabata, and so on) have been to get upside. From what I've read and seen, Sanchez doesn't fit the bill, at all.