The Pirates pulled a couple of unexpected moves to open the draft, picking prep SS Cole Tucker and OF Connor Joe.
They went more traditional in the following selections, taking a pair of prep pitchers with big frames and big fastballs, Mitch Keller and Trey Supak. They were both taken where expected, and they both fit the Pirate profile, even if Pittsburgh hasn't had much luck developing high school pitchers.
The Pirates reached for their first two picks. The real puzzler is Joe. He was a catcher at San Diego after converting from first base. His bat profiles pretty well for a catcher, with good plate discipline, gap power and a respectable average.
But the Pirates announced that they plan to use him as an outfielder. He projects not so well there (or at first) because of a lack of power and pretty average physical tools. The organization is already knee deep in solid prospects for the pasture, and if they wanted to add to that position, a more toolsy guy, Monte Harrison, was available at that spot.
Personally, we would have taken another prep kid at that slot, Jacob Gatewood, who is a little raw but has the toolkit to be projected as a third baseman with power. But the Bucs picked neither, and we think that pick, with what was available, made the first day a disappointment.
Tucker paired with Gatewood would have addressed positions of need - just about anywhere in the infield - and with the two young fireballers would have made for a strong opening round, at least in potential. But they opted not to go that way. We don't particularly see where Joe fits in organizationally, and that awkward choice gets the Bucs out of the box pretty slowly for the 2014 draft.
There may be a plan in place, and maybe the first two choices were made because the Pirates weren't first-round impressed with the players available at their #24 spot, and opted to get a couple of guys that could help build up the pool so they could at least dabble with some quality depth later. So we'll see what they have up their sleeve in the next couple of days.