Not too surprisingly, the Bucs took a couple of high school kids in the second and third rounds. These are the ype of players that in the old days would be drafted late but paid like an early pick. With the new CBA, you have to grab the prep guys quickly, where you can offer a big bonus, or watch them go off to college.
The second rounder was Wyatt Mathisen, 18, who sorta fell into the Pirates lap. He was Baseball America's
#47 rated player, considered the top prep catcher in the draft and maybe the #2 overall behind Mike Zunino. He went to Calallen HS of Corpus Christi, Texas, and is a recruit of the U of Texas.
Catching will be a developmental project. Mathisen was actually a shortstop/pitcher for his high school (which may be how he fell to Pittsburgh), but in the summer leagues, he dons the tools of ignorance. He's athletic, quick, has a good arm, hits with power, and has the size at 6'2", 215 pounds.
Mathisen will have to make the transition to full-time catcher, so it will realistically be a while before he can help the big club. But as soon as he signs, he becomes the Pirates' #3 prospect behind the plate, trailing Tony Sanchez at Indy and Ramon Cabrera at Altoona.
His slot allotment is $746,300.
With their third round pick, the Bucs selected Winter Springs, Florida, prep pitcher Jonathan Sandfort. A RHP, he's a big, projectable kid at 6′
5″, 220 pounds and sits at 88-92 MPH. He also throws a hook and is developing a changeup. The righty put together an 8-1 record with a 0.92 ERA and 73 strikeouts in 68-2/3 innings this season.
Sandfort was rated the 255th best prospect in the draft by Baseball
America. He has a commitment to the University of Florida, so he
probably won’t come cheap. He will, like every high school pitcher not named Jameson Taillon, be a project.
The slot price for the
third round pick is $462,900.
This does show that the Pirates are working the draft hard and not conceding cheap picks early to free up Mark Appel cash. The strategy of getting high school kids early maximizes the talent pool, but also insures that the draft slot allocations will be hit heavily to buy them out of their college years. So the direction is toward a solid draft, not a one-hit wonder, and that's a welcome bit of news.