In the convoluted world of what presently constitutes being a Pirate fan, some of us have been relegated at this time of year to rooting in reverse, otherwise known as "the worst record gets the first pick in the draft".
This year Bryce Harper, labeled by some as the "Lebron James of baseball" is a lock to be the first pick. This is the guy who can throw a ball 96 mile an hour and hit one 500 feet.
Things have gone so bad for us lately, that it appears we're not even going to win the "losers derby" for the first pick, with Washington having a six game advantage in the loss column with around a dozen games to go.
If the Nationals do get the top pick, that would be two straight years for them. Even if we miss out on the top spot, there's a gap of a few games between us and the two teams closest to us, hopefully we can "hold them off" for the rights to the second pick.
One mock draft I ran across has Anthony Ranaudo a big right handed pitcher from LSU who goes six foot seven inches and 231 pounds going to us in the second spot.
Neal Huntington's first two drafts were in stark contrast to one another, so I'm not exactly sure what strategy he will employ this time. Year one had him investing heavily in first round pick Pedro Alvarez to the tune of about a 6.3 million dollar contract and what was left of the budgeted money went to the rest of the players they signed.
Year two had them draft and then sign Tony Sanchez for around 2.5 million, about forty percent of what they paid Alvarez and that enabled them to invest a much larger portion of the budgeted draft dollars into the later rounds to sign a decent amount of high end talent.
I mentioned in a previous article the Pirates strategy of drafting first and second round talent, available in the later rounds only because the players had college scholarships and had made known their intentions to use them. The Pirates then overpaid them (according to draft position, but not according to talent level) in order to convince them to forgo college and sign with the Buc's.
Whatever strategy our GM employs this year, I'm sure it will add depth to the farm system and if our top pick is a college player, hopefully he will make the parent club in a year or two, which would be a big help.
These are not things I ever heard after any of Dave Littlefields drafts.
Since you can never totally predict when or even if a prospect will become a major leaguer, it's hard to say exactly how this draft will affect the Pirates in the future, but from what I've seen of the current management teams moves, overall it should be a positive one.
The next few years should bring about a fair amount of roster turnover to the Pirates, not because it's being torn down by trades for prospects, but because it's being built up by the addition of those prospects acquired by trades.
Within two to three years the major league roster should stabilize, after which any changes should just be the normal comings and goings every major league team goes through.
This is one fan, who having experienced the good times and the bad with the Pirates, longs to experience the good, just one more time.
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