Pirates GM Neal Huntington and director of amateur scouting Joe DelliCarri spoke to the press early Tuesday morning about the Bucs' selections of Kevin Newman, Ke'Bryan Hayes and Kevin Kramer on the first day of the draft. Here are the highlights.
-P- The Pirates say they did not have any particular objective in choosing the players they did, other than selecting the best players they could. "Our plan is best available," said DelliCarri. "No plan, just best available as we go."
-P- Newman, Hayes and Kramer all profile, to one degree or another, as contact-oriented infielders who don't have huge home-run power but might one day hit for good averages. I asked if that reflected a shift in organizational approach -- perhaps, as WTM suggested late Monday night, the Bucs are trying to combat the increasing prevalence of the strikeout in today's game.
Not necessarily, said Huntington. "Our philosophy has been, and continues to be, [that] we believe in the hitter first. Then there are attributes that we look beyond the hitter," he said. "In particular, guys in the middle of the diamond, the defensive qualities. Guys in the corner of the diamond, what kind of power do we think they'll have down the road. But as a core covenant, we believe in the hitter first. ... We believe that, if there are the right contributing elements, the power will come if the player has the ability to hit."
-P- The Bucs say they felt that the players they took were appropriate to their draft choices. They weren't shocked that any of them were on the board when they picked. "Surprised, no," said DelliCarri. "We were right in line where these players were going to go."
-P- The Pirates believe that Kramer, who missed all of 2014 with a shoulder injury, is already showing signs of throwing as well as he did in 2013. "Kevin, before being injured, had a real solid throwing arm, and we see ... great signs of continued strength," said DelliCarri. "[We] see good signs of that coming back, and not just coming back, but signs of it being there again. So we feel more than fine with where he's at."