Pittsburgh Pirates: Draft Focus Shifts to Offense on Day Two

Paul LadewskiCorrespondent IIJune 8, 2011

(For complete Pirates coverage, see Piratesreport.com.)

PITTSBURGH -- Pittsburgh Pirates management promised to be aggressive in the draft, and on Tuesday, they made good on it.

In the second round, they chose Josh Bell (61st overall), whom Baseball America ranked as the top corner outfielder and fifth-best position player available.

First baseman Alex Dickerson (91st) was chosen in round three.

Bell had been projected to be a first-round pick, but because of questions about his immediate plans, he slid to the second round.

The 6-foot-3, 206-pounder planned to attend the University of Texas next fall. Prior to the draft, he sent a letter to Major League Baseball officials that confirmed his intent to honor the commitment.

Superagent Scott Boras advises Bell and pitcher Gerrit Cole, whom the organization selected at the first overall pick one day earlier.

"We're optimistic that we can sign him," general manager Neal Huntington said. "We know it will be difficult, but we believe both parties will work hard to come to a mutually acceptable agreement. If not, then we wish him nothing but the best."

If a contract agreement cannot be reached, then the organization will receive a compensatory second round pick next year.

As a senior, Bell hit .548 at Dallas-based Jesuit High School last season. He had 13 home runs, 54 RBI, 54 runs scored and a 1.054 slugging percentage. He struck out only five times in 139 plate appearances.

"We're really happy to get him where we did," said manager Clint Hurdle, who was familiar with Bell from the time that he spent with the Texas Rangers last season. "He's a switch-hitting outfielder with a big barrel of the bat. The signability part of it will work itself out."

Dickerson attended Indiana University, where his longball ability prompted comparisons to veteran slugger Adam Dunn in particular.

The 6-foot-3 left-hander led the Big Ten in batting average, home runs and RBI as a sophomore. He was limited by a back problem early this season, which he finished with a .367 batting average, nine homers and 49 RBI.

High school pitchers Colten Brewer (122nd) and Tyler Glasnow (152nd) were drafted in the fourth and fifth rounds, respectively.

The 6-foot-4 Brewer attended Canton (Tex.) High School, while the 6-foot-7 Glasnow was a Hart (Calif.) High School product. Both are right-handers.

The remainder of the picks in the first 15 rounds: third baseman Daniel Gamache, Auburn University (182nd), pitcher Jake Burnette, Buford (Ga.) High School (212th), pitcher Jason Creasy Clayton (N.C.) High School (242nd), Clay Holmes, Slocumb (Ala.) High School (272nd), center fielder Taylor Lewis, University of Maine-Orono (302nd), center fielder Jo-El Bennett-Lowe, Houston (Ala.) Academy (332nd), center fielder Candon Myles, South Grand Prairie (Tex.) High School (362nd), pitcher Brandon Platts, Mason City (Ia.) High School (392nd), Jordan Dunatov, Horizon (Ariz.) High School (422nd), Kody Watts, pitcher, Skyview (Wash.) High School (452nd).

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