The Pirate draft choices for 2008: Pittsburgh Picks.
So far, about half the selections have been high school players. They're notoriously hard to sign this early in their careers, but it tells us that the suits are trying to put together a team that'll come of age in 2011-12 and still have some kids stockpiled to keep the ball rolling beyond that group.
And it sure seems to us that they intend to remain at least competitive until they hit that window of opportunity.
Also, the lower levels of the Buc's system are a little gray (the old bosses liked college kids a lot), and it seems like they're addressing that in this draft.
Throw in the anticipated pipeline of Latino players expected when the Dominican Academy gets fully on line, and the new brass are making good on their promise to retool the organization and try to get it on a self-sustaining footing so far.
The only surprise to us is that they only took three pitchers in the first 13 rounds. Either they're more impressed with the organization's arms than we are, or it was a lousy year for young guns on the hill.
We'll see in another five weeks, when the signing deadline hits on August 15th. (Teams usually get about half their picks to sign on the dotted line. And remember - every kid that signs means one that's already in the system goes.)
But we like the plan as it takes shape so far. Some risk, a lot of bucks to be shelled out, and upside through the roof. Now to see what the long awaited fire sale will bring to the Pirate lineup...
On the past draft front: Here's where & when the current Bucco 25 man roster was drafted - Jose Bautista (20-2000), Jay Bay (22-2000), Bryan Bullington (1-2002), Sean Burnett (1-2000), Matt Capps (7-2002), Ryan Doumit (2-1999), Zach Duke (20-2001), Phil Dumatrait (1-2000), Chris Gomez (3-1992), Tom Gorzelanny (2-2003), John Grabow (3-1997), Adam LaRoche (29-2000), Paul Maholm (1-2003), Nate McLouth (25-2000), Jason Michaels (4-1998), Doug Mientkiewicz (5-1995), Xavier Nady (2-2000), Freddy Sanchez (11-2000), Ian Snell (26-2000), Jack Wilson (9-1998), and Tyler Yates (23-1998).
Raul Chavez, Damaso Marte, Franquelis Osoria, and Luis Rivas are all Latino players and weren't draft eligible, so they were signed as free agents to begin their careers.
The Pirates have four #1's, 9 more picked in the top 10, and their longest shot was Adam LaRoche, who was taken in the 29th round. 9 of the 21 draftees were picked in 2000; 6 more were selected prior to that. So 15 of 21, over 70% of the team, have over 8 years as pro ballplayers. That doesn't sound like a young team to us.
(The stats were taken from the Baseball Reference, a great site for MLB geeks.)