Still, the Bucs had a wad of draft cash in their pocket thanks to the Tony Sanchez deal, and selected Von Rosenberg in the sixth round as part of their strategy to add some young, upside arms to a system that needed some help badly.
And hey, ZVR let it be known that if they thought enough of him to wave some first-round money under his nose, well, he could always go to night school. They did, and he inked the dotted line on a $1.2M contract in early August. Slot, schlot!
He has all the bona fides. Von Rosenberg led Barbe-Lake Charles High to a state title as a freshman, then pitched Zachary High to three more state crowns - and he started and won all four title games. Oh, and he was selected Mr. Louisiana the past two seasons and was named a 2009 Louisville Slugger High School All-American.
This past season, he went 11-1 with a 0.60 ERA and 141 strikeouts in 91 innings as a scholastic player. On his days off, he played SS and hit .489 with 10 home runs, 28 stolen bases and 45 runs batted in. Heck, he even punted for the football team.
Perfect Game USA had this report on him:
"Von Rosenberg has a tall frame and a good pitchers' build. His arm is loose and smooth and really projects. He showed good mechanics and repeats his delivery well. He topped at 88 (other combines had him hitting 91), but more will be coming. He has good off-speed pitches including a late breaking curveball at 76 mph and a changeup with good fade at 78 mph."He reported to Bradenton for some evaluation and a little work. The Bucs even managed to squeeze in an inning for him during the GCL season, and he got his first pro K. ZVR is in the Florida instructional league now.
We'd expect to see him start 2010 in State College and move on to West Virginia, and wouldn't be surprised if he landed at Indy sometime in 2012, even though the Pirates aren't quite as aggressive moving pitchers along in the system as position players. The glut they drafted this year may change that philosophy, though.
GW doesn't have Von Rosenberg rated yet; one frame in the Florida sunshine doesn't a prospect make. But we've seen several publications claim that as far as ability and upside, he's already one of the Pirates Top Ten farm hands.
(Tomorrow: Trent Stevenson)