Pittsburgh Pirates: Drafting Smart Or From The Wallet?

Anthony CasaleCorrespondent IJune 4, 2008

The first-year player draft is approaching rapidly. Actually there is, well, a day and a few hours left until it starts.

Pittsburgh Pirates fans these past 15 years have never been really excited about the draft.  The Pitrates' management has never drafted well, taking players that aren’t the immense talent the Bucs should be taking at such an early pick.

With the payroll the Pirates have, or lack there of, the management has never wanted to spend the money on the top tier picks.  They pick lesser talent knowing they will sign for lesser amounts of money. 

Is this the year things are going to change?  Speculation says that may be the case.

That being said, who are the top prospects for the pirates?  Let’s take a look.

Buster Posey: 

A catcher from Florida State that has tremendous contact ability with power to the gaps.  He will not hit many home runs, but has the power to do so.  He leads the NCAA in average, slugging percentage, and on base percentage.  He is a catcher, which is why his stock is high. 

I don’t believe the Bucs are going to pick him up regardless of what the Rays do with the first pick.  I think the glaring needs are elsewhere around the left side of the infield which in turn means Buster Posey will not be the pick. 

Tim Beckham: 

A high school shortstop with five tool potential.  That is pretty much all you need to know, the kid is an all-around athlete. 

The argument against him from a Pirate's standpoint, is that he will take a while to mature in the minor leagues, instead of being that immediate fix.  I think the Pirates, barring the Rays picking him, should take Beckham.  That argument is a good one at that, until you look at the game of baseball. 

One player is NOT going to fix an organization by himself.  Though other guys may be able to come up quicker, it may be for the worse.  I say they pick Beckham and let him mature for about 3-4 years and bring him up while building with what they have now. 

Pedro Alvarez: 

A power hitting third basemen from Vanderbilt.  Said to be the best bat in the draft and that could very well be true. He played third base in college, but had an 89.7 fielding percentage.  Some believe he may end up moving to first.  I would not object to taking a kid of his caliber. 

It would make some sense to take him, being that Neil Walker is in the minors and can play multiple positions as well.  Maybe send one of them to first and the other at third if they both come around.  He is that quick fix people want also. 

He is said to want about 12 million though, and we all know the pirates, regardless of what they say, want to go cheap.  From what I read, he has a great attitude and is a wonderful kid.  A power left-handed bat, but is relatively slow and has problems fielding.

Aaron Crow: 

A junior right-hander from the University of Missouri.  Crow has an outstanding fastball that has been clocked as high and 98 and backs that up with an amazing slider as well.  He finished with a 2.35 ERA and 13 wins as well at zero, yes zero, losses. 

This kid can pitch, but I do not think the Pirates should end up taking another pitcher.  The past ten years, the Bucs have taken eight pitchers.  One is in the starting rotation, which is Paul Maholm. 

Pitchers are probably the most injury-prone players in the game, which explains why some of them have gone down with injuries and have never recovered to pitch that their maximum potential.  Just look at what the Rays have done by drafting the best players then when the time was right, dealing the right guy. 

They dealt young and got some good young pitchers that have pitched in the big leagues.  I do not think this is the route to go.

All four prospects are without a doubt good players and I wouldn’t mind seeing any of them on the team if they can compete at the major league level. Thursday is a big day for Pirates fans who would like to see some things turn around.  The waiting game is now on.