Tagged: 2007 Draft

The Sky is Falling

It’s really unbelievable the shock wave that is running through the Pirates fan base all because they picked Moskos. Irate fan sites are lit up like a Christmas tree asking everything from new yellow t-shirts to be put on the market, to new protests to be formed.

It’s utterly hilarious.

I mean, it’s the end of the world as we know it all because, at worse case scenario, Moskos was selected a couple of picks before he would have gone.

Pl-eeeaseee..

Where are all these doomsayers every night when the bases are cranked and Wilson pops out? Or Paulino flubs another ball in the dirt? Or Sanchez fails to turn another double play?

Obviously not watching the games, that’s for sure.

After getting 282 327 emails today, it’s time to set the record straight:

1 — The rumor being floated around about the Pirates ownership not willing to spend the dollars for Weiters is BS, I just found out from a source extremely close to the org. The Pirates had no intention of drafting Weiters or Porcello.. ever.

Maybe the money BP talked about was a request for funding to play in China next year that was turned down? hehe

2 — I spoke with one NL crosschecker, one AL scout, and two retired scouts today and everyone of them said the same thing – great pick for the Bucs.. solid lefty. Everyone expects him to make a year’s worth of starts and then come up as a closer. One scout who saw him late said his velocity has been better lately – not worse.

To call Moskos an overdraft is ludicrous. If you want to question anything, start questioning why Friday was selected third. Now THAT was a serious overdraft which sent my head spinning.

Those that know me from pirateball.com know I have hammered this ownership group harder than anyone since 2002. But there are just some things that are down right silly to be fussin over, and the Bucs taking Moskos is certainly one of them — EVEN if he goes down needing TJ surgery one day.

He was a perfect pick for the Bucs and why I had him #2 on the odds chart based on all the conversations I had with folks in the industry. He’s a perfect fit.

Now, those of you who want to whine about the pick, go to one of the irate boards and cry your eyes out.. don’t do it here unless you whine about something that makes sense, like some of our current play.

I’ll say it again and then move on, good job Dave.

Now let’s go smack the Yankees around.

Pirates Take Moskos in First Round

Think Oliver Perez and his nasty slider that made wimps out of pure hitters like Pujols, Bonds, and Helton.. think Matt Capps who touches 97 mph.. think Mike Gonzalez without the elbow problems.

Put them together and you get Daniel Moskos, the Pirates first round pick in the 2007 draft.

Bucco Blog had Vitters #1 on the Pirates board and Moskos #2 and it played out just as we expected as the Cubs took Vitters with the 3rd pick.

Moskos is a safe pick for the Pirates for several reasons — one, he can be in Pittsburgh in a hurry – as early as 2008; two, Moskos is a leader, not a follower – his makeup is A++; three, he fills an immediate dire need for the Bucs; and four, he had one of the best arms in the draft.

He features an electric fastball with late movement that some scouts believe might eventually touch 100 with some mechanical work, a deceptive slider some scouts liken to Francisco Liriano’s, and an average change up and curve.

Every player has question marks and the scouts I talked to all wonder about his shoulder holding up (labrum type problems), but nearly every one of them agreed that if he was conditioned and kept as a closer, and the Pirates kept him from overthrowing as he has a tendency to do, he’ll probably be fine.

Truth be told, I didn’t expect the Pirates to go after Weiters because of some makeup issues and Porcello had all but came out and said he’d attend college rather than go to a ‘bottom-rung’ team. I was secretly hoping the Pirates would take Michael Main because I see him as a healthier Prior in 5 years.

Moskos was a good pick for the Bucs, albeit by the email I’m receiving few believe it. I’ve read all your rumors like Moskos’ velocity had dropped recently, that he’ll have arm problems, that we needed a bat, etc, etc, etc.. Throw all that out the door – I’ve talked to some A++ sources about him and there’s nothing wrong with this kid’s arm.

You don’t put together a small market farm drafting bats in the top round – you go after pitching and the Pirates took the best arm available that can get to Pittsburgh the quickest. That’s what I expect as a fan.

Good job Dave.

Welker2a Second round action saw the Bucs taking Duke Welker, no doubt from old Yankee scout Dave Jorn’s advice.

He is a 6′ 7", 220 lb, right-hand pitcher out of the University of Arkansas who doesn’t have great control, nor does he have any true plus pitches.

He’s known as an innings eater who nibbles, throws a low 90’s fastball on a downward plane, has a McCutchen-like Christian background, and has already undergone one labrum surgery.

One of the concerns that has been expressed was his 118 pitch outing against Florida back in mid-April. Welker pitched a great game striking out 7, allowing just 1 run and 5 hits with 3 of the 5 coming in the 9th, and even held first round pick Matt LaPorta to just a 9th inning single.

But Welker tanked hard after that start and didn’t pick it up again until his stock rose significantly a couple of weeks ago when he pitched a seven-hit game against South Carolina in the SEC tourney and then came back a week later to strikeout seven while throwing six shutout innings against Albany (which had about an hour delay in the 3rd from rain).

Still, some feel he will get better and better as time goes by but question if he might already be toast.

Look for him to go to the GCL and then shoot to Hickory where we’ll have John Setzler keep us informed.

Year Innings ERA K/9 BB/9 HR/9 H/9
2007 91.2 3.83 7.2 3.6 0.3 7.8

The Bucs took Brian Friday in the third round, a Rice shortstop who has a cannon arm and little else defensively. With a bat Friday is said to be a line drive gap hitter but I think I see more of a Jack Wilson fly ball hitting machine in him.

This was a Creech pick to be sure – he loves the middle of the diamond players and it’s a need that has to be addressed in each draft.

The fourth round pick was Frederick Latimore, a high school centerfield speed product who reminds me a lot of Rajai Davis. Poor route running, popgun arm, quick bat speed, and plus speed.

I won’t be covering anymore picks since the toolsy players are now gone. Anybody taken from now on has to be developed into something which isn’t the Pirates best game.

By the way, the Pirates won today with a very sweet performance by Ian Snell and home runs from Sanchez and Bay.

Draft Rumors Heating Up

I spoke with a few scouts last night who passed along all the gossip in the circuit and one of the more surprising statements made to me was the fact few have seen Pirates GM assistants Vuckovich or Lester this year. "I always look forward to seeing Vuck but missed him entirely this year," one scout said.

Now that might be because the Pirates are focused on a couple of players this year and are not all over the board as in past years. It could also signal uncertainty as shared by another who said the Pirates are all over the place – the only team nobody can put a handle on.

Witness the fact Matt Dominguez was asked spur of the moment last weekend to fly to Pittsburgh so they could see him, which isn’t unusual except for the timing.

That being said, I shot emails back and forth to a few contacts the last few days to try and get a handle on the Rays and Royals picks. The Rays are still on Price and that’s seemingly not going to change.

But the Royals now seem to be jumping toward Vitters.

That leaves Porcello to fall to the Cubs who seems to want around $5MM slot money and a four-year deal probably around $4MM (pure guess). That’s a ridiculous amount of money for a high-school arm but the Cubs may pony that up. I heard Porcello isn’t a Boras client – his folks are just being advised by Boras. Whether that is a true-blue fact or not, I don’t know for sure.

If Porcello falls to the Pirates because the Cubs take Weiters, I don’t expect the Pirates to take him because, from what I heard, the Pirates were one of seven teams that never contacted him about signability. Ouch.

It’s more likely Weiters falls to the Pirates and, as bad as the Pirates need a receiver in the organization in front of Bob Walk’s boy, they will pass on him. That’s disheartening, but there are some rumors about Weiter’s makeup floating around which might be influencing teams too.

So what will the Pirates do?

Mike Moustakas has shot up the draft charts this last week but I doubt we’ll see the Pirates jump on a Boras high school position player. It’s one thing to jump on a perfect blueprint high school pitcher like Porcello for high bucks, and quite another for a position player.

Matt Dominguez was in Pittsburgh Tuesday putting on a show for the Bucs, but he would be a serious overdraft. Plus, he projects out at 3B where Walker should be putting on a show for years. While you often hear an organization shouldn’t worry about position duplication with first round picks, the Pirates have been known to pick with needs in mind.

I suppose you can flip a coin as to the better pitchers below Porcello. Ross Detwiler and Daniel Moskos are the two best college arms with Detwiler projecting better but Moskos having the better stuff, and then there is Jarrod Parker who is a click below Porcello.

Personally, I hope the Pirates continue to stock pitching from the first round taking the best available – whoever they feel that player is. Parker would probably be the easier sign and Detwiler the safer pick.

Now what the Pirates will do is anyone’s guess as I mentioned above – nobody has a handle on them because they don’t seem to have a handle yet themselves.

But one thing for sure – we have bigger problems with the current roster than we have with Thursday’s draft, even if the Pirates take Michael Burgess.

Scouting Videos

One of the more remarkable things about this year’s draft is the fact somebody has been working very hard to make sure videos of certain players are not freely available on the web.

Take Beau Mills, for example. One day there were 5 or 6 videos at a well known scouting website and the next day they were all gone. Even more curious is the fact all his videos all over the web seem to have been removed, from TV stations, to CSTV, even the NAIA site. Not even the Minor League Baseball draft page has a video of Mills.

That’s very strange.

I did manage to find one video that makes Mills seem like he is the best thing since Kevin McClatchy and I’ve included it so you at least get a look at him. But I wanted to show you the error-prone third baseman who strikes out all the time in between the gap shots and home runs he hits in the weak league he’s in. Obviously somebody else doesn’t want the world to see those types of things.

So far I have Porcello, Main, and Vitters you can watch, as well as the heavily slanted Mills film. I didn’t interest myself in Brackman, Weiters, or Price because it’s becoming pretty obvious we aren’t going to have a chance at Price, Brackman is falling off the charts, and we won’t take Weiters because of slot money.

I’m assuming if Vitters is available the Pirates are going to take him because it solves their potential PR nightmare. I don’t personally think he will be the best player at the time, but that’s neither here nor there.

Instead, I focused on the two pitchers I think the Pirates are probably going to be hard pressed to pass up on if available – Main and Porcello.

Porcello will probably be gone but if he isn’t, he has a clean delivery and throws over the top. He has three plus pitches, including a 93 – 95 mph fastball, but they really aren’t polished. What makes Porcello attractive is that he has easy mechanics like, say, Lincoln did and Duke does.

Main is another lanky right hander I’ve seen in action with a few scouts around me. The one thing everyone wonders about with Main is if he can stay healthy. He’s missed parts of two seasons with tendinitis issues but he has a very strict pitch count that might have led to part of his problems as a two-way player.

Main has hit 99 mph in tourney games and has good late tail on his fastball. He throws with a long arm and some scouts worry about that because history has showed long arm pitchers don’t necessarily get good action on their offspeed stuff. But if your throwing 95 – 97 mph consistently, that may not matter.

The other thing scouts seem to worry about Main is that his delivery motion is less than smooth and has so many different pieces to it that it will require an advanced pitching coach to work with him on it.

But one thing is for sure, every scout I talked to liked Main’s stuff better than Porcello’s and everyone agreed if Main stays healthy he has a chance to be a legitimate #1. I heard the term tandem slot over and over with scouts watching him thinking he would be a great candidate for the next few years for such a slot (pitch four/five innings starting them next outing pitch the last 4 or so).

All of these are in Windows Media format:

Main  —  PorcelloVittersMills

If you are aware of any other videos out there, send me an email and I’ll include them here. If there’s someone you want to see, let me know and I’ll see about adding them.

Few Under the Radar Draft Picks

It’s time to start thinking about the draft. For now, here’s a few players who might be surprising everyone a few years from now:

Adam Mills – RHP, Charolotte (another Ian Snell?)
Sean Doolittle – LHP/1B, Virginia (but where do you play him?)
Robert Woodard – RHP, North Carolina (nothing facy, just keeps winning)

Kellen Kulbacki – OF, James Madison (hard to take anybody serious playing at JM, but Kulbacki is a Hershey HS product putting up LaPorta type numbers late)

Tony Thomas Jr – 2B, FL (I’ve seen this spark plug in action – McCutchen swing without the power; getting a lot better on D; very underrated)

Looking Ahead to the 2007 Draft

Now that the Super Bowl is over, baseball fans typically turn their attention toward the opening of spring training, final trade rumors, and college baseball with an eye toward the upcoming first year player draft in June.

The new MLB Collective Bargaining Agreement brought about a host of changes to free-agent compensation that will begin to impact the draft in 2007. The net result is that you will see triple the number of supplemental first-round picks (33 or more) than had been the norm over the last five years (11).

The Pirates own the fourth pick in the draft this year and, under the old CBA, they would have made their second pick at about the 41st – 45th position this year. As it stands today, the Pirates second overall pick in the draft won’t be until the 67th position, meaning they lost the equivalent of their second round pick.

That’s not a positive sign for a small-market team that depends on drafting and developing their players to win.

Baseball America has indicated this years draft pool will be one of the deepest in years but some say it starts to thin out after the first 40 players. Not that there aren’t some outstanding picks after the 40th position, it’s just that you might as well start asking your Magic 8-ball if you are going to get the desired return from the player you are about to select after the 40th position.

Here are the Pirates first five selection positions as of today: 4, 67, 97, 127, and 157.

The top seven players in the country right now are:

David Price, LHP, Vanderbilt    
Matt Wieters, C, Georgia Tech   
Andrew Brackman, RHP, North Carolina State   
Matt Harvey, RHP, Fitch High School, Groton, CT 
Rick Porcello, RHP, Seton Hall Prep (West Orange N.J.)
Daniel Moskos, LHP, Clemson    

The two high school hurlers do not have links to their bios. Porcello has hit 98 mph on the gun and has an A+ curve to go with decent command of his heater. Harvey throws with less flame but has much easier mechanics meaning he will most likely be seen as the more durable of the two.

Baseball America’s first mock draft had the Pirates taking Matt Harvey, but I don’t think the Pirates are going to risk their #1 pick on a high school hurler this year considering they don’t draft again until much later. If either Price or Brackman happen to be available to the Pirates in the first round, I have to believe they will be taken without question.

We’ll have to watch the college and high school baseball season unfold because player rankings are sure to juggle considerably between now and June 7th when the draft begins. Bucco Blog will be adding the right sidebar draft links over the next month so you can follow all the action.

Edit — I see Minor League Baseball and I were on the same wavelength as they started their weekly reviews of draft pool prospects today.