Monday, December 10, 2012
2013 MLB Draft: Notable Former Pirates Draftees
The first name to be called that will sound familiar is Mark Appel, who could be the first name to be called at all.
Appel was the favorite to go first overall to the Astors in the 2012 draft, but fell all the way to the Pirates at #8 who took a signability gamble and selected the Stanford pitcher. The gamble did not pay off as the two parties were unable to come to an agreement and Appel chose to go back to Stanford for his senior year. He will re-enter the 2013 draft, where he should again go early. Appel combines elite stuff with clean mechanics, but he has been more hittable in college than makes sense considering his arsenal.
After that, one of the next familiar names to be called will be another 2012 draftee, Brandon Thomas
Thomas was the Pirates fourth round pick in 2012. The athletic outfielder allegedly has a pre-draft deal with the Pirates, but that never materialized. Thomas decided to return to Georgia Tech and next June he projects to go off the board sometime soon after the second round begins. That said, Thomas does have his senior year at Georgia Tech and his stock could rise if he could add some production and polish to compliment an impressive set of tools.
That ends the group of former Pirates picks from the 2012 draft class. Going back one year, the 2011 Pirates draft class will have one name called early on come June. That name is Aaron Brown.
Pirates fans should remember the name Aaron Brown as the backup plan in case 2011 second round pick and monster bonus baby Josh Bell chose to go to Texas. When it became clear close to midnight that Bell would sign, there seemed a glimmer of hope that Brown would also sign. That did not happen, but losing Brown was only like losing a bit of frosting from the top of a delicious cake; not a major deal. Two years later and Brown is a draft-eligible sophomore as an outfielder who will bring solid tools, good polish, and a strong prospect pedigree to the table come June. That will most likely result on him hearing his name in the first few rounds of the draft.
From there, any names that sound familiar to the Pirates will come from the 2010 draft, although the first may not ring a ton of bells. His name is Dale Carey.
The reason his name might not sound incredibly familiar is Carey is an outfielder. That kept him under-the-radar as a prep draftee in 2010 when the focus was on arms. Prep pitchers drafted included Jameson Taillon, Stetson Allie, Nick Kingham, Jason Hursh, Austin Kubitza, Dace Kime, Zach Weiss, Ryan Hafner, and Kent Emaunel (hint: four of those names will end out this list). Every one of those pitchers named were drafted ahead of Carey, who did not sign with the Pirates to attend Miami. The wiry and speedy Carey has showed a better bat than expected in college and could go in the top five rounds come June.
As indicated above, that leaves four names on the rest of the list, all prep pitchers. The first to be called come June may be the southpaw, Kent Emaunel.
Unlike his potential teammate Stetson Allie, The Pirates were unable to buy Emaunel out of his commitment to UNC. Chapel Hill as been kind to Emaunel, who's been able to translate his athleticism and projectability - he's 6'4 and was skinny in high school - into a solid arsenal. Come June, Emaunel should attract plenty of attention and has a very good shot of going in the first two rounds of the draft, if not higher.
By round, the next name that might sound familiar was the first Pirates draftee to not sign, Jason Hursh.
Hursh actually failed to meet the typical Pirates projectable prep pitcher mold as he only stands 6'1. Despite lacking ideal height, Hursh already sat in the low 90's and could touch 94 coming out of high school. The Oklahoma State commit also featured two promising secondaries in both a slider and curveball. Unfortunately, the Pirates were unable to keep their sixth round pick away from Stillwater, where he's blossomed into a good pitcher that should hear his name in the second or third round in the upcoming MLB draft.
The next name on the list was drafted the round after Hursh, Austin Kubitza.
Soon after the 2010 draft, Kubitza looked like he might be the real prize the Pirates missed out on. As a freshman at Rice, Kubtiza had an excellent showing. Since then he's stagnated a bit, but he still features a workhorse-like frame and a sinking fastball and slider that both grade out at plus when they are on. Those two pitches almost guarantee that Kubitza will hear his name fairly early on come June.
Rounding out this article is a pitcher drafted one round after Kubtiza and was most likely the closest to actually sign with the Pirates. His name is Dace Kime.
Shortly after the June draft in 2010, reports came out that Kime had completed a deal with the Pirates. However, the standard practice of the MLB front office was to delay overslot signings and that's exactly what happened with Kime. Somewhere along the line, Kime changed his mind and chose instead to attend Louisville, sparking a minor controversy. Life went on, however, and it went on pretty well for Kime, who features a workhorse frame, decent fastball, and a wicked curveball. Kime will most likely hear his name in the first five rounds of the 2013 MLB draft or shortly thereafter.
To wrap it up, plenty of conclusions can be made from looking at a list like this. In my opinion, it's hard to determine which are relevant and accurate. It can be argued that this is a good list as it shows the Pirates have selected good talent that has succeeded at the college level, even if the Pirates were unable to sign said talent. That would be the stance I would lean towards. There is evidence to back this theory up. Nick Kingham, one of the 2010 prep pitchers that did sign, has turned himself into a solid prospect. Early returns on the 2011 class, namely Tyler Glasnow and Clay Holmes, are exciting. Even Max Moroff in the 2012 class had a strong rookie debut. On the other hand, an argument can also be made that because players have been more successful that have not signed than have signed, there is a major issue with player development in the Pirates organization. The 2009 class failures - Von Rosenberg, Cain, Dodson, and Stevenson - provide evidence to back up such a proposition. Feel free to draw your own conclusions.