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2010 Draft Review: Pittsburgh Pirates

September 6, 2010

This was the year to dream big and spend big on high school right-handed starting pitching.

DRAFT STRATEGY: Right-handed starting pitching. The 2010 draft, by far, was the year to do it. It was a huge year for right-handed arms, especially at the high school level. This was the year to gamble big and spend money, to develop depth, which is almost always hard to do in the same draft. As far as guesswork goes, there wasn’t a whole lot to do with Jameson Taillon or Stetson Allie – and the Pirates can blame the Nationals for taking A.J. Cole – because I am sure that if he had been on the board at the top of the fourth round, he would have been gone. I don’t think the Nationals liked the idea of Taillon-Allie-Cole potentially in the same rotation in their own backyard. Nick Kingham was a good alternative with their fourth pick. Tyler Waldron is probably a fast mover through that system. You need someone to pick the balls. Drew Maggi was a relatively affordable shortstop sign.

RISK/REWARD: By the very nature of things, Taillon, Allie and Kingham are all risk and all reward. The same can be said for any three high school right-handers drafted big and paid well.

THE GUY WHO GOT AWAY: Right-hander Austin Kubitza was a guy I saw in summer 2009 and felt was a sleeper in terms of projection and power.

GUYS WHO MIGHT SURPRISE: Kingham is probably the least known of the big three high school arms, but he had come a long way fast and was on track to become a Friday night guy in the Pac-10.

IF I HAD MY PICK:  Taillon and Allie. You’re not only talking about pitchers, but potential pillars.

SUMMARY: For me, this draft is a potential franchise changer over the course of  a decade. What needs to happen here is Taillon and Allie have to become a solid duo of aces.  Looking further into the crystal ball, the Pirates need to pay to keep that tandem together. They’ll get more premium picks in 2011, so they had better go for the few bats that are going to be there. I’m on the outside looking in here, but I would say this. The course of the careers of the Taillon-Allie-Kingham trio will go a long way toward telling me if the Pirates are serious about spending to retain talent or if they’re in it to cash their revenue sharing checks. It’s one or the other. But if you’re going to win, you’ve got to win young, and this is the correct kind of first step.

OLD SCHOOL SCOUTING GRADE: I don’t give many of these out. A.


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