Now that that draft is a thing of the past, here's a list of the top 25 Pirate picks and their current status as of Sunday:
• Pedro Alvarez (1- Vanderbilt, 3B) Widely considered the top talent in the draft, he signed for $6M at the deadline and will report to the Fall Instructional League, where his performance will dictate his 2009 assignment, probably Lynchburg. He’s the LH power bat that the Bucs would love to showcase at PNC Field.
• Tanner Scheppers (2- Fresno State, RHP) Injured, the Pirates took a flyer on him. He wanted 1st round cash, but his arm was still iffy, and no deal was struck.
• Jordy Mercer (3- San Diego State, SS) He was sent to Hickory after signing for a $508K bonus. Has a rep for a good bat, strong arm, so-so range. He’s hitting .231 with 4 homers after a terrible start.
• Chase d’Arnaud (4- Pepperdine, SS) He signed for $293K and was assigned to State College. Good stick with gap power, average SS, good 3B’man. He’s hitting .346 in 104 AB’s with 8 doubles, 4 triples, with 20 runs scored, and stolen 10 bases in 11 tries, earning an All-Star spot of the NY-Penn League. He's got the look of a pretty good top of the order guy.
• Justin Wilson (5- Fresno State, LHP) Signed late for $195K. Wilson picked up his game during the College World Series, but couldn’t turn it into a bonus above slot. He’ll report to the Fall Instructional League, and probably head to Hickory in 2009.
• Robbie Grossman (6- Cyprus/Fairbanks HS, CF) Gave up his scholarship to Texas for a $1M bonus. He’s considered a high energy tweener with some power potential and lots of upside without being overly toolsy, in the Nate McLouth/Brandon Moss mold. Baseball America rated him as a late #1 pick, which explains the bonus. He’ll go to the Fall Instructional League.
• Benji Gonzalez (7- Puerto Rican Baseball Academy, SS) Got $130K to sign on the dotted line and pass up a ride to Oklahoma State. He runs well, has a good glove, and his questions center on his bat. He’s playing at Bradenton, where he’s hitting .225 with 7 stolen bases in eight attempts.
• Jeremy Farrell (8- Virginia, 3B/1B) Son of Bosox coach John Farrell, signed for $103K and was assigned to State College. Has some power and plays both infield corner positions. He’s hitting .300, but hasn’t gone deep yet, somewhat worrisome for a corner infielder, though he has 11 extra base knocks in 140 AB’s. He landed a spot on the NY-Penn All-Star team.
• Matt Hague (9- Oklahoma State, 3B/OF) He inked a deal for $25K. Good power and plate discipline. He was drafted by Cleveland last year. Hague signed early and went to Hickory, where he’s batting .322, with 5 HR’s and 23 RBI in 171 AB’s with an .855 OPS. He’s tough to sneak a ball past – Hague’s only struck out 21 times.
• Drew Gagnon (10- Brentwood HS, RHP) Opted to attend Long Beach State.
• David Rubenstein (11- Appalachian State, CF) Sent to State College. He showed a decent eye and solid stick in college. He’s hitting .197, but has come out a miserable funk in the past week. Maybe the light’s finally gone on for him.
• Calvin Anderson (12- Southern A&M, 1B) The son of former Steeler Fred Anderson, he hit for average and power in the SWAC. He’s a very raw player, and went to State College for some polish. He’s batting .265 with 6 HR’s and 28 RBI in 170 AB’s.
• Robert Gardner (13- Highland Park HS, CF) Went to Arkansas.
• Mike Colla (14- Arizona, RHP) Considered a project, he was assigned to State College in July, appeared briefly in August, and then was shipped to Bradenton, where he has yet to appear. He must need a lot of work: the Spikes were shorthanded arms before his demotion.
• Christopher Aure (15- North Pole HS, LHP) The Alaskan native was signed on potential, and was sent to Bradenton. He's 3-2 with a 4.57 ERA there, with 12 K’s and 12 BB’s in 21-2/3 innings of work.
• Wesley Freeman (16- All Saints Academy, CF) Signed late, but is a potential 5 tool player. His swing needs some work, but he's playing with the GCL Bradenton Bucs for now and then to the Instructional League. He projected as a fifth rounder, and got roughly $225K to sign.
• Jaron Shepherd (17- Navarro College, CF) Still has a year of JC eligibility, and said he was looking for a payday. Pittsburgh didn't give him one.
• Jarek Cunningham (18- Mead HS, SS) He had a scholarship to Arizona State, but turned pro and went to Bradenton. He plays third base for the baby Bucs, hitting .310 with 3 HR’s, 15 RBI, and an OPS of .849.
• Jason Hanniger (19- Georgia Tech, C) He replaced Matt Weiter behind the plate, and is a good defensive catcher with some power and a high strike out rate. He decided to try to pump up his stock by returning for another year at school.
• Quinton Miller (20 – Shawnee HS, RHP) Signed late in the process when Scheppers and Gagnon passed on deals. He got a $900K bonus, as Baseball America considered him a third-rounder this year. He’ll go to the Fall Instructional League.
• Brent Klinger (21- Glendale CC, RHP) Has a 94 MPH heater and good strikeout rate, but was selected on potential rather than performance. He’s tearing up Bradenton, with 11 K’s in 11-2/3 innings and an ERA of 0.77.
• Patrick Palmeiro (22- Colleyville Heritage HS, 3B) Rafael’s son, the Bucs made a late push to sign him, but he followed his dad’s advice and headed to Mississippi State.
• Austin Wright (23- Hoffman Estates HS, LHP) Going to Arkansas.
• Brian Litwin (24- St. Stephens HS, 3B) Committed to Duke.
• Brian Leach (25- Southern Mississippi, RHP) Was drafted by the Royals last year. His college stats are pretty horrible, but apparently his arm is intriguing. The Bucs sent him to State College. He’s doing OK for the Spikes, with a 1-1 record and 3.65 ERA. His control has been fine, with 29 K’s and 11 BB’s in 42 innings and a WHIP of 1.21.
For more detailed reporting on these guys and every Bucco, click over to Wilbur Miller's Pirate Profiles.
When the spirit moves us, we'll check out the back side of the draft in another post, and the new guys the suits brought in this year both at camp and through deals as we look at the retooling of the Bucs from top to bottom.