Draft Day 1 Wrap

Before getting into some discussion about the Pirates’ first-round pick, C Tony Sanchez, here’s the skinny on the Pirates’ other three selections made on Tuesday, courtesy of GM Neal Huntington

  • 49th overall pick: RHP Victor Black (Dallas Baptist University): “Black is a large-framed college right-handed starter with an above-average fastball (top 96, average 92-93) to complement a quality breaking ball and change-up.  Victor has the size, frame, delivery and arm action to log quality innings and attain his up-side as solid Major League starting pitcher. Victor is a quality person and has more upside than the typical college pitcher because he has only been pitching for three seasons after being converted from catcher upon entering Dallas Baptist University.”
  • 53rd overall pick: RHP Brooks Pounders (Temecula Valley HS (Calif.)): “Pounders is a large-bodied high school right-handed starter with a quality mix of now stuff, future ceiling and an advanced feel for pitching.  Brooks has shown an above-average fastball (top 94, average 90-92), breaking ball and change-up.  Brooks has the mental and physical aptitude to refine his pitch arsenal to match his ability to pitch and develop into a solid major league starting pitcher.”
  • 84th overall pick: CF Evan Chambers (Hillsborough Community College): “Chambers is a solid five-tool, athletic, muscular, compact center fielder with a short, loose swing that drives the ball from gap-to-gap with developing home run power.  He has solid instincts defensively, offensively and on the bases.  He has the potential to become a solid all around major league center fielder.”

As for Sanchez, Pirates management is plenty aware that Pirates fans are crying “Money!” over the decision to choose Sanchez over more well known players like Aaron Crow, Alex White, Mike Minor, Grant Green, etc…

Is this a repeat of 2007, when the Pirates passed over can’t-miss-catcher Matt Wieters to instead take LHP Daniel Moskos, a decision that most believe was dictated by money? Well, first off, there was no Wieters-type talent in this Draft. If there had been, Huntington emphasized that the Pirates would have taken such a player.

Huntington wanted everyone to know that Sanchez sat in the third spot on the Pirates’ Draft board, a position that, yes, had something to do with signability, but more to do with upside. Stephen Strasburg and Dustin Ackley were the only two players that the Pirates had listed higher. Both were gone by the time the third pick of the Draft rolled around.

The Pirates’ thinking is simple (and feel free to disagree with it if you’d like — I’m just here to be the messenger): This Draft did not have a lot of premium college position player talent. By getting Sanchez, then, the Pirates got a premium college player. This Draft is also full of pitching depth, so there seems little concern that the Pirates won’t be able to load up on pitching in the later rounds.

And then there’s the simple fact that the Pirates didn’t see a first-round pick worth using the majority of their signing bonus allotment for, as was the case with Pedro Alvarez. As a result, by selecting Sanchez and signing him for “slot” or lower money, the Pirates have significant funds available to be agressive in the rest of the Draft.

In other words, despite any conclusions you might want to make immediately, this Draft is going to have to be viewed as a success or failure based on the entire 50-round package.

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