And now for the backside of the draft, from which the organization’s depth and the occasional big leaguer emerge:
• Zachary Wilson (26- Wilson HS, 3B) Rated 140th by Baseball America, with a scholarship to Arizona State in his pocket and Scott Boras as his man, Wilson was no doubt out of Pittsburgh’s price range this year.
• Edwin Roman (27- Puerto Rican Baseball Academy, CF) He’s supposed to be the fastest dude in PR and a great glove with no lumber to speak of. He’s playing LF at Bradenton, hitting .220. He’s got 12 stolen bases, but he’s been caught 7 times.
• Kyle Saukko (28- Sierra JC, OF/P) He was a hybrid in college, just the kind of guy Dave Littlefield loved, and was drafted by the Rockies as a pitcher last year. He went to Bradenton as a CF. He’s hitting .218. It’s tough to build up your average when you’ve K’d 22 times in 55 AB’s.
• Kevin Komstadius (29- East Valley HS, 1B) Has a free ride to Washington, and probably priced himself out of Pittsburgh’s plans this year, asking for $200K.
• Daniel Martin (30- Panola JC, RHP) Drafted by the Mets in 2005, he’s going to McNeese State. He’s another player who told the Pirates he needed to be wowed by the money to sign.
• Ryan Hinson (31- Clemson, LHP) After having two very good years at college, he dropped off badly in 2008 and decided to stay in school for his senior year to try to improve his draft slot.
• TJ Forrest (32- Bossier Parish CC, RHP) He was drafted by the Marlins in 2006 out of LSU, but had TJ surgery. Pitched well after transferring to Bossier. He decided to have a last hurrah at school to raise his draft stock.
• Mark Carver (33- North Carolina Wilmington, C) A senior, he signed early and went to State College. A below average catcher in the field, he tore it up at the plate in college, hitting .347 with 21 HR’s and 82 RBI. He’s hitting .208 for the Spikes.
• Matt Payne (34- North Carolina State, 3B) Good plate discipline, and hit over .320 in his three years as a position player (he pitched his freshman year.) He signed and went to State College. Payne is batting .266 with 3 HR’s.
• Tyler Cox (35- Illinois State, LHP) Average college pitcher, he started his last two years. The Bucs sent him to Bradenton, even though he’s 22. He’s doing nicely there, with a 2-3 record, 1.74 ERA, and 36 K’s in 41-1/3 innings with a WHIP of 1.02.
• Kyle Morgan (36- San Francisco, OF) He played two years of JC ball, sat on the Long Beach pine, and transferred to SF, where he hit .286 without much power. He’s at Bradenton, where he’s hitting .148 in 27 at-bats. He started out at State College, where he hit .164 before being sent down.
• Matthew Curry (37- Howard College, 1B) He transferred to TCU to continue his career.
• Alan Knotts (38- Louisiana Tech, RHP) He’s a senior with fairly pedestrian college numbers. At State College, he’s 2-1 with a 4.01 ERA, 1.22 WHIP, and a great K:BB ratio of 35:6 in 33-2/3 innings of bullpen work.
• AJ Fagan (39- Manhattanville College, RHP) Sat out a year of baseball after an unsuccessful tryout with the Cubs in 2007, which burned his college eligibility. He signed and went to Bradenton. He’s 2-2 there with a 3.72 ERA in 19-1/3 innings, a 14:5 K to BB ratio, and WHIP of 1.02.
• Beau Didier (40- Bellarmine Prep, 3B) Went to LSU.
• Chris Simmons (41- West Point, C) Rode a solid senior year (.318, 8 HR) to a spot in the draft. The Pirates sent him to State College, where he was hitting .257 when the Army called him back to active duty.
• Cole White (42- West Point, OF) Great hitter for Army, batting .403 and .373 his last two season, and pitched, too. He signed as an OF’er and went to State College. He was hitting .338 there before the Army decided to recall him to active duty.
• Johnny Gunter (43- Chattahoochee Valley CC, RHP) No, really, it’s a school in Alabama. He didn’t sign, choosing to return to Chattahoochee for another season.
• Mike Williams (44- Mt. Olive College, LHP) Drafted as a senior, he was the third starter (8-2, 4.01 ERA) for the Division 3 champs, Mt. Olive. He signed and went to State College. He’s 1-1 with a 4.82 ERA for the Spikes. In 18-2/3 innings, William’s struck out 16, walked eight, and has a WHIP of 1.29 out of the pen.
• Allen Ponder (45- Auburn @ Montgomery, RHP) He’s a sidewinder that struck out 68 batters in 48 innings and will be used as a bullpen arm. He’ll be 25 in September, so he better impress in a hurry if he ever plans to pitch at PNC. He’s 0-2 with a 4.55 ERA, but a excellent K:BB ratio of 29:7 in 31-2/3 innings.
• Scott McGough (46- Plum HS, SS/P) He’s going to Oregon. The Ducks plan to use him at SS, though he throws 94 MPH heat and may become a hybrid infielder/closer.
• Jordan Craft (47- Kennesaw Mountain HS, OF) He’s going to play at Kennesaw State.
• Owen Brolsma (48- Texas Tech, RHP) He had TJ surgery in 2005, pitched a year, sat a year, and pitched another year, and not very well. He has a low 90’s fastball and a slider, but with poor command. The Bucs signed him and sent him to State College to see if his arm could be salvaged. Brolsma’s getting beat up there, too, with a record of 0-3, 7.61 ERA, and 1.91 WHIP. He’s given up 4 homers in 23-2/3 innings.
• Zachary Foster (49- Pitt Bradford, RHP) A junior without a lot of success at Division 3, the Bucs signed him and sent him to Bradenton to work in the bullpen. He’s a one trick horse, depending on his fastball, so he has to try to develop a second pitch to succeed. Foster is 1-1 with a 4.45 ERA. In 28 innings, he’s given up 38 hits and 15 walks, K’ing 23.
• Craig Parry (50- South Dakota State, OF) He’s a LH power guy that hit 17 HR’s in the past two years, and has played C, OF, and 3B. He’s hitting .308 at Bradenton with an .852 OPS, but hasn’t gone yard yet, though he’s only batted 52 times. They list him as a LF.
Draft picks 1-25 are posted below. For more detailed reporting on these guys and every Bucco, click over to Wilbur Miller's Pirate Profiles.
Somewhere along the line, we'll check out 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.