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Pirates' draft retrospective: 2010

Reinhold Matay-USA TODAY Sports

Draft round is in parentheses, position is as announced at the draft.

What's Left

Jameson Taillon, RHP (1): Ranked by most sources as the Pirates' second best prospect and still a potential top-of-the-rotation starter.  His recovery from Tommy John surgery having gone well, Taillon is expected to pitch in a game for the first time very shortly.

Stetson Allie, RHP (2): Regarded as a mid-first-round talent, Allie unexpectedly fell to the Pirates in round two and they signed him for well over the slot amount.  As everybody knows, he pitched only briefly (26.2 IP) before asking to switch to hitting, an indication that he was never really committed to the mound.  It's not surprising he made no progress with his control problems.  As a hitter, he may have topped out at AA due to holes in his swing.

Mel Rojas, Jr., OF (3): Regarded as a toolsy player, Rojas has proven to be more of a player who has average-ish tools across the board, with nothing that stands out.  He went unselected in the Rule 5 draft and may be settling in as a AAA player.

Nick Kingham, RHP (4): Kingham established himself as a potential mid-rotation starter and top 100-level prospect.  He may be facing Tommy John surgery now.

Brandon Cumpton, RHP (9): Developed into solid depth starter who's pitched well at times in the majors.  He'll miss the entire 2015 season due to Tommy John surgery.

Casey Sadler, RHP (25): Originally a reliever, Sadler moved to the rotation and established himself as a reasonable depth option, very much like Cumpton.

Other Signees

Tyler Waldron, RHP (5): Mostly struggled until the Pirates released him prior to this season.  He's now with the Cardinals in AAA.

Dan Grovatt, OF (11): Reached high A, then retired early in the 2013 season.

Vince Payne, RHP (12): Struggled until he was released in 2012.

Bryce Weidman, RHP (14): Released after 2011.

Drew Maggi, SS (15): Maggi signed for significantly above slot, but the Pirates seem to have shifted him into an organizational utility role fairly quickly.  He and his brother, who had recently signed as a MiL free agent, were abruptly released during spring training, before any other cuts were made.  Maggi may have been unhappy about being ticketed for AA again.  Both Maggi brothers signed with the Angels, who assigned Drew to . . . AA.

Matt Curry, 1B (16): The Pirates drafted Curry twice, the other time being 2008.  He got off to a great start in low A, but never hit consistently in AA.  He was released before this season.

Ryan Hafner, RHP (17): An above-slot prep pitcher whom the team probably signed as a fallback to the earlier picks who didn't sign.  Hafner showed some ability in low A, but is now struggling for the second year in high A.

Justin Bencsko, OF (20): Released after 2011.

Adalberto Santos, 2B (22): Hit for some high averages -- .303 for his career -- but never seemed to get on the prospect track.  The Pirates sold his contract to the Giants in 2014 and they released him prior to this season.

Jared Lakind, 1B (23): An above-slot signee as a first baseman, Lakind didn't hit and moved to the mound in 2013.  He hasn't established himself as a prospect there and is currently hurt.

Justin Howard, 1B (24): Settled in quickly as an organizational player.  Released recently.

Kevin Kleis, RHP (27): Struggled with injuries, missed all of 2014 and was released before this season.

Matt Skirving, C (30): Released after 2011.

Jason Townsend, RHP (31): Showed some early promise due to a mid-90s fastball, but had injury problems and lost velocity.  Released in 2014.

Chase Lyles, IF (32): Released after 2011.

Justin Ennis, LHP (33): Released after 2012.

Kelson Brown, IF (34): Settled in quickly as an organizational utility player.  He's spent most of this year in extended spring training.

Cliff Archibald, RHP (36): Released after 2011.

Kevin Decker, RHP (39): Released after 2011.

Bryton Trepagnier, RHP (41): Made slow progress, then was traded to the Braves last off-season for Edward Salcedo.  Now in AA.

Logan Pevny, RHP (49): Released after 2012.

Did Not Sign

Jason Hursh, RHP (6): Signed with the Braves in 2013 after they drafted him 31st overall.  Baseball America rated Hursh as Atlanta's fourth best prospect after both the 2013 and 2014 seasons, but he was sent back to AA this year and is having a terrible year so far.  Hursh was one of four prep pitchers chosen by the Pirates among their top ten picks who didn't sign.

Austin Kubitza, RHP (7): Kubitza signed after being selected by the Tigers in the 4th round in 2013.  BA rated him as Detroit's 8th best prospect after 2014.  Now in AA.

Dace Kime, RHP (8): Signed with Cleveland as a 3rd round pick in 2013.  Kime didn't pitch well in 2014 and was only in low A, but BA ranked him as the Indians' 20th best prospect after the season.

Zack Weiss, RHP (10): Signed in 2013 with the Reds as a 6th round pick.  Weiss has posted exceptional K rates, with very few walks, as a reliever, but BA has not put him on any top prospect lists.

Kent Emanuel, LHP (19): Signed after being drafted by the Astros in the 3rd round in 2013.  BA rated him Houston's 26th best prospect after 2014.  He's currently in AA.


This draft obviously was all about pitching, as the Pirates selected only one position player in the first ten rounds.  They tried to make up for it somewhat by signing Maggi and Lakind to over-slot deals, but those deals didn't pan out.  Still, there's a significant chance that the draft could produce two strong starting pitchers in Taillon and Kingham.  Of course, it's too soon to say, as neither has reached the majors, Taillon is just recovering from Tommy John surgery and Kingham may need it.  The draft also produced two good, later-round finds in Cumpton and Sadler, who've provided the team with credible fallbacks for the rotation.

The other big story here was the Pirates' failure to sign four of their top ten picks, all of them prep pitchers who were candidates for above-slot bonuses.  There were probably two reasons for these failures.  One was MLB's interference with teams' efforts to agree to above-slot bonuses, which took the form of extensive delays in approving the contracts.  This subterfuge, which may well have been aimed first and foremost at the Pirates (just try to imagine MLB even attempting to prevent the Yankees or Red Sox from signing a free agent to a ridiculous contract) was documented by Baseball America.  According to BA and other sources, MLB's underhanded tactics cost the Pirates at least two signings in 2010.

Another factor, though, may have been unrealistic bonus expectations.  Neal Huntington said in an interview at the time that the team found that draftees expected to get the kind of money Zack von Rosenberg and Colton Cain got the previous year, but the Pirates didn't regard them quite that highly.  Some fans at times have questioned why teams don't simply hand out seven-figure bonuses left and right, since the money seems trivial compared to major league salaries.  The Pirates' failure to sign guys like Hursh and Kubitza illustrates how a lot of factors affect market prices.  Teams can't simply ignore market dynamics by throwing money around as if it had no implications beyond a couple individual signings.

From a depth standpoint, the impact of the Pirates missing out on so many of their early draftees is obvious.  Other than the four (so far) success stories -- Taillon, Kingham, Cumpton and Sadler -- no pitchers from this draft ever really got on the prospect track.  Most of the other pitchers were released within one to three years.  It proved to be an odd sort of all-or-nothing draft, especially for a team that's emphasized depth and quantity heavily in its approach to its farm system.  If Taillon and Kingham both work out, though, this will be a good draft.