Draft kicks off in two hours in Seacaucus. We’re chatting at FanHouse at 6 PM through the draft, so stop by there for live analysis that’s free. I’ll update here with any rumors I hear before the draft and our picks as we make them. I’ll post a wrap-up of the picks tonight.
Right now (4 PM), both Jim Callis and Keith Law seem to think we’re leaning towards Tony Sanchez, the catcher from Boston College. Callis seems pretty certain, Law seems less confident and says it could be any of Sanchez, Grant Green, Aaron Crow, Zack Wheeler, and Matt Hobgood.
Immediate Update: Keith Law’s blog, which is Insider only (which annoys me to no freaking end), has a post currently titled, “Pirates to take Sanchez.” So, there goes all your first round speculation.
UPDATE (4:30)- I’m not a huge fan of this pick, but I’d caution everyone against freaking out just yet. What’s clear is that the Pirates really liked Sanchez and that he wasn’t going to be available with the 49th or 53rd pick. There are some big upside arms that could free-fall that far with their contract demands and the Pirates’ front office may see this as the best way to get both Sanchez and a big arm. I’m not saying we will, and I’m not saying we’ll take them when we get there, but we should at least wait until the team makes their first three picks before hitting the panic button on this draft.
UPDATE (6:30)- Tony Sanchez it is.
6:41- Both Hobgood and Wheeler are off the board over guys like Matzek, Turner, Purke, etc. who had big bonus demands.
7:00- Crow, Matzek, Scheppers, and Purke all last through the top 10.
7:12- Crow goes to KC at #12.
7:19- Purke’s gone to Texas at 14.
7:39- I guess it’s fair to talk about Sanchez a bit since he’s our pick. He’s certainly a big reach at #4 and I don’t like the pick at all, really, but it’s not fair to say that he would’ve been available at #49 for the Pirates to take. He was generally projected to go to a team late in the first round and because of his willingness to sign easily and his great defensive reputation, I don’t think he would’ve fallen further than that.
The issue, at least for me, comes in that there were better options for the Pirates here. There were quite a few interesting pitchers, as well as a couple position players like Borchering and Green that the Pirates could certainly use in their system. It’s possible that Sanchez will keep developing the power that he flashed (14 homers) this year, but he absolutely has to do that for this pick to be worth the slot we made it in. Otherwise, well, we picked up two catchers with great defensive reputations and some mildly intriguing bat skills for what amounts to spare parts in the past year. It’s clear that Huntington and Smith love that guy, but they’re just about the only people on the planet that have him rated this high, which makes me incredibly nervous. He’ll likely play for the Pirates if his defense is anywhere near as good as people say it is, but this just isn’t a great pick for a team in the Pirates’ situation.
Anyways, here’s a link to his MLB.com scouting page with some video and scouting reports and the like.
7:56- Gibson falls to the Twins at #22. Just about all of the arms the Pirates might’ve been interested in with the fourth pick are gone, save Tanner Scheppers. I don’t think the odds of them going that route again are very good.
8:05- Sanchez Q&A with David Laurila at BP is here. He compares himself to Yadier Molina. Really, it sounds to me like we drafted a Molina brother with the fourth pick in the draft.
9:16- Scheppers gone at #44 to Texas.
9:21- With their comp pick for Scheppers from last year (49 overall), the Pirates take Victor Black, RHP from Dallas Baptist University.
9:27- And with the 53rd pick (fourth in the second round), the Pirates take Brooks Pounders, a high school RHP from California. Give me a few minutes to dig up some stuff on Pounders and Black and I’ll get it posted.
9:34- Black is a tall, hard-throwing righty with control problems. John Manuel thinks he might end up in the bullpen, but he seems pretty appropriately slotted at #49. Remember, we have to sign that pick or we don’t get it back since it’s compensatory. Pounders, besides having an awesome name, is committed to USC as both a power-hitting first baseman and a pitcher, though the Pirates announced him as a pitcher. USC’s coach has this to say about him (link via Bucs Dugout):
“Brooks is another one of our commits who has accelerated his play in the past year. He has shown the ability to hit top-level pitching and become a force on the mound himself. He pitches with a loose arm and has great command of all his pitches while maintaining a low to mid 90’s fastball. He will make an immediate impact for us in the lineup and our pitching rotation.”
Like Black, he seems like a pretty appropriate pick for the spot but with the commitment to USC, he’ll probably be a little harder to sign.
9:48- John Manuel calls Pounders “another reach” and notes that he doesn’t really throw very hard (87-90) for such a big guy (did I mention he’s a big guy, or did you just assume it from the name?). I’m guessing the Pirates hope his fastball grows into his frame.
10:15 PM- Third round pick is Evan Chambers, an outfielder from a community college in Florida.