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Pirates' draft retrospective: 2013

Mark J. Rebilas-USA TODAY Sports

Draft rounds are in parentheses, positions are those announced at the draft.

What's left

Austin Meadows, CF (1): Meadows has gradually moved up top prospect lists and is one of the better outfield prospects in the game.  He did hit a bit of a roadblock when he struggled in the Arizona Fall League last year, the first time he'd run into any problems with the bat as a pro.  After returning from an orbital bone fracture this year, he also struggled initially, but he's hit well over the last couple weeks.

Reese McGuire, C (1): McGuire is one of the best defensive catchers in the minors, possibly even the best, but has yet to hit the ball with any authority.  He controls the strike zone extremely well, rarely striking out, but his ISO has been almost non-existent.  Catchers often develop slowly with the bat and McGuire just turned 21, so it's by no means out of the question that he could still make strides at the plate.  Because of his glove, he's moved up quickly, which has probably challenged his bat more than would otherwise have been the case, so there's that, too.  Francisco Cervelli's extension may help by reducing the pressure.

Blake Taylor, LHP (2): Traded for Ike Davis, Taylor has struggled with the Mets and hasn't gotten to full season ball yet.

JaCoby Jones, SS (3): Jones was a high-risk pick who started living up to his tools, including good power, with the Pirates.  They traded him to Detroit for Joakim Soria.  He recently came off a drug suspension and has continued hitting for power in AA.  It's also possible that he'll be able to stay at short.

Cody Dickson, LHP (4): Dickson has shown good stuff, but command has been a problem.  He's currently struggling in AA.

Trae Arbet, SS (5): Arbet struggled severely at bat and in the field for two years before moving to second and putting up big hitting numbers in his second year in the Appalachian League.  His success was heavily BABIP-driven, though, and his plate discipline remains dreadful.  The Pirates have not moved him up to full season ball, which is a good indication that they're skeptical about his 2015 stats, so he'll probably return to short season ball for a fourth year.

Adam Frazier, SS (6): The Pirates are grooming Frazier as a utility player, giving him a lot of time in the outfield even though the numbers show him to be a good infielder.  He's a gap-to-gap hitter with excellent plate discipline, which fits well with the Pirates' current philosophy, and is having a good year in AAA.  He's not on the 40-man roster yet, but should be a strong contender for a bench job in 2017, if not sooner.

Buddy Borden, RHP (7): Traded for Rogers Hornsby Sean Rodriguez, Borden is currently pitching in relief for the Rays in AA and is getting rocked.

Neil Kozikowski, RHP (8): A projectible prep pitcher from New England, Kozikowski looked good his first year, but had a horrific second year and was just OK last year.  He's still in extended spring training.

Chad Kuhl, RHP (9): Kuhl is looking like an inspired pick.  He doesn't strike out a ton of hitters, but he combines a mid-90s fastball and decent-ish secondary stuff with excellent command.  He should be able to help the big league team in the near future, as either a starter or reliever.

Shane Carle, RHP (10): The Pirates traded Carle to the Rockies for Rob Scahill.  He pitched fairly well in AA, but is currently struggling in AAA.  His ceiling is probably . . . Rob Scahill.

Erich Weiss, 3B (11): The Pirates moved Weiss to second in the hopes that his bat would play better there.  He bulked up during the off-season and has hit with considerably more authority so far this year.  He's solid defensively.  Weiss could be a pretty good prospect, especially as a left-handed hitting infielder with some pop, although he'll turn 25 at the end of the season.

Nick Buckner, CF (14): Buckner has struggled with contact issues.  He's spent the last two years in the Appalachian League and hit decently, but struck out in a third of his at-bats.  He's still in extended spring training and doesn't look all that likely to make it to full season ball.

Billy Roth, RHP (16): A prep pitcher who now throws in the mid-90s, Roth has continued to struggle with command issues.  He's in low A right now and is walking a batter an inning.

Justin Topa, RHP (17): Topa gets into the mid-90s, but he got hammered in 2014 in low A and missed all of 2015 due to Tommy John surgery.  He's expected back this season.

Jeff Roy, CF (18): A very speedy outfielder, Roy has sometimes done a good job of getting on base but has no power at all.  He's settled in as a mid-level organizational player and is currently doing very well at Bradenton.

Brett McKinney, RHP (19): McKinney has been strictly a reliever.  He throws in the low- to mid-90s and put up solid numbers at lower levels, but he's had a rough time so far in AA, which he reached in the middle of last season.

Henry Hirsch, RHP (22): Hirsch is fairly similar to McKinney, although he may throw a little harder.  He's actually put up slightly better numbers, but the Pirates have kept him in high A since the beginning of 2015.  He has a good ERA and K rate there now, but he's allowing a lot of baserunners.  The bottom line is that Hirsch, McKinney and Topa all look like organizational relievers.

Justin Maffei, CF (25): Maffei was a very good fourth outfielder for Bradenton for a year and a half.  He kept finding himself in regular roles due to injuries and put up a .376 OBP there.  He seemed pretty interesting and opened this year at Altoona, but he was sent to extended spring training when Meadows was activated and hasn't emerged.

Michael Fransoso, SS (27): Fransoso quickly moved into a utility role and appeared to have a better bat than usual for a middle infielder, but he didn't hit much last year at Bradenton.  He hasn't emerged from extended spring training this year, which isn't a good sign.

Other Signees

Beau Wallace, 3B (12): Wallace struggled and was released after one season.  He sat out 2014 and then played in rookie ball for the Brewers last year at age 22.

Danny Collins, 1B (13): Released after two seasons without making it to full season ball.

Max Rossiter, C (15): Rossiter quit after one game.

Adam Landecker, 2B (21): Landecker spent two years as a utility infielder, the last one in low A, then was released.

Cameron Griffin, LHP (23): Griffin pitched pretty well as a college draftee in the GCL his first year, then was released.

Jerry Mulderig, RHP (28): Mulderig struggled in relief through last year and then was released.

Will Kendall, LHP (30): Kendall struggled in relief and was released after two seasons.

Andrew Dennis, C (37): The Pirates signed Dennis to add a catcher after Rossiter quit.  He played sparingly over two seasons and was released.

This could end up being quite a good draft.  Of course, it helps to have two first round picks, and the jury is still out on Meadows and especially McGuire.  Beyond those two, though, Kuhl could be a fourth starter, which is a great outcome for a ninth round pick, and Frazier will almost certainly get a shot in the majors as a utility player.  Jones has a good chance to be a major league shortstop or utility player, although not for the Pirates, and Weiss may be getting himself on the map this year.  Taylor and Borden were useful as trade chips, although neither seems likely to go anywhere.

It's interesting that all of the players after the first round who turned into prospects were college draftees.  In 2014 and 2015 the Pirates went even more with a college-heavy approach after focusing previously on prep players, primarily pitchers.  These guys aren't generally going to have exceptionally high ceilings, but depth does matter.  I know that Baseball America, for one, assesses farm systems based on the potential stars they have.  A small-market contender like the Pirates, though, is going to have needs at the trade deadline and in the off-season, and may not want to give up potential stars to fill them.  Having a JaCoby Jones and an Adrian Sampson in the upper minors, available to trade, may mean that J.A. Happ and Joakim Soria end up in Pittsburgh and not in Baltimore.