With their supplemental first round pick in the 2009 draft, the Pirates had to go with signability because the pick wasn’t protected, but Black is still an intriguing selection. He hits 95 on the gun consistently (albeit with control problems), and he backs it up with a decent slider. He signed quickly and went to State College, where he worked 31 1/3 innings with 33 strikeouts and an acceptable 15 walks.
That profile sounds a lot like a future reliever, but the Pirates will almost certainly try to move him through the system as a starter. There’s a good chance he’ll start 2010 with the Marauders in Bradenton and he might move quickly if the team’s long-term plan for him is indeed in the bullpen.
July 2010 update: He only made two starts with West Virginia before going on the disabled list and he hasn’t been back sense. His pedigree was big strikeout arm without much control, but since being drafted last year he’s only thrown 36 innings in the system so he’s hard to judge, even as a college draftee. No one seems to know much about his injury, but hopefully he’ll get back on the mound this season. July 2010 rank: 18
January 2011 upadate: As noted above, Black hadn’t pitched much at mid-season last year and that didn’t really change in the second half. Since he was a college pick, that’s a bit of a shame. I was curious to see last year if the Pirates could make any headway on his control problems. Hopefully we’ll find out in 2011. January 2011 rank: 20