There's a lot of draft yet and there's time for the Pirates to make up for what they did today, but what they did today was pretty bad.
I understand the strategy involved in taking Tony Sanchez with the fourth overall pick--if you watched the draft, most teams who picked in the teens looked brilliant, because there wasn't any clear difference in talent between any of the guys chosen from #3 overall to about #15. So it didn't seem wise for the Pirates to spend $6 million on a fourth overall pick if they'd just get someone who might just as easily have been taken in the middle of the first round. Also, many of the consensus top picks in this draft were pitchers, who don't have great track records for success when chosen in the early first round. So taking a hitter who might sign for a bit less, and then spending money later in the draft, made sense.
What doesn't make sense to me was to take Sanchez, specifically. Most draft analysts considered him a late first round talent. He apparently has a bit of power but he has a slow bat, which raises questions for me about whether he'll be able to hit breaking pitches in the big leagues. He's also had conditioning issues in the past, although he's in good shape now. He has a bit of power, but I haven't read any reports yet that have been overly excited about it. He also can't hit breaking pitches. I hope Sanchez surprises me, but so far I don't understand this pick at all, especially given that this draft is deep in catching talent. This isn't a Moskos/Wieters situation (in reverse) because there simply wasn't a player of Wieters' caliber out there, but I don't understand punting your first round pick to the degree to which it appears the Pirates did today.
You'd hope that the Bucs would have started making up for the Sanchez pick with their other picks today, but they didn't. They probably had to be a little bit conservative with their first second-round pick because that's the one they got for not signing Tanner Scheppers, and so if they picked someone with it and then didn't sign him, they wouldn't have gotten a compensation pick next year. So with that pick, the Pirates took college pitcher Victor Black, who throws very hard and apparently has decent secondary stuff but has had control issues in the past. He also posted some mediocre numbers at Dallas Baptist, which isn't necessarily a deal-breaker if the scouts saw something they liked but obviously isn't good, either.
Their next second-rounder, Brooks Pounders, was better known than Black, but he comes with his own share of question marks. He's a high school pitcher with four pitches he can throw for strikes. Unfortunately, he doesn't throw terribly hard and isn't supposed to have a projectable body. He's a huge dude, which prompted MLB.com to compare him to Jonathan Broxton, but that comparison surely only applies to his body and not his stuff. And when you're 18, having your body compared to that of Jonathan Broxton's is not a compliment, because the line between Broxton-like bulk and Jimmy Anderson-like flab can be perilously thin for a guy who might still be growing into his body.
The second-round picks are fine to me, but that's all. Black's velocity and Pounders' arsenal, along with their respective reputations, are enough to convince me that they were reasonable choices for where they were picked. But they don't nearly make up for what the Bucs did in the first round.
In the third round, the Bucs took community college outfielder Evan Chambers. While there's a fair amount of information available online about Sanchez and Pounders, and Black to a lesser degree, there's almost none on Chambers. He's short at 5'9" and he weighs 210 or so, which prompted the MLB.com to compare him to Kirby Puckett. That's very kind and all, but there aren't many players in the majors with that body type. Like Sanchez, he's supposed to have decent power, but (Baseball America reports) he has some trouble with breaking balls.
Overall, then, the first pick is terrible and there's nothing I see in the next three picks that makes up for that. Let's hope tomorrow is a better day.
I'll be traveling tomorrow, but I'll get a couple of threads ready, and I'll try to duck in before I leave. People have done a very nice job keeping up in the comments, so that will hopefully continue to be a great place to get up-to-the-minute news.