Draft Report Cards: Pittsburgh Pirates

Early returns on the few hitters the Pirates took were not strong. But no other team brought in power arms like Taillon and Allie, and this draft will be judged by how that $8.75 million investment plays out.
Bonus Spending: $11.9 million

BEST PURE HITTER: In a draft class dominated by pitching, OF Adalberto Santos (22) has the steadiest bat. He hit .520 and was the national junior college batting leader in 2008, then was Oregon State's top hitter for two seasons. » BEST POWER HITTER: 1B Matt Curry (16) has a short, powerful stroke and patience to work himself into counts where he can unleash his above-average power. He led short-season State College with seven home runs. » FASTEST RUNNER: OF Justin Bencsko (20) plays to his plus-plus speed, using a contact approach at the plate and showing good range in center field. » BEST DEFENSIVE PLAYER: While not quite a burner like Bencsko, OF Mel Rojas Jr. (3)—the only player the Pirates took in the first 10 rounds who is not a righthanded pitcher—has above-average speed and arm strength. The Pirates believe he can play center, and if not, he'll be a fine right fielder.


BEST FASTBALL: The Pirates drafted the two hardest throwers in the high school ranks in RHPs Jameson Taillon (1) and Stetson Allie (2). Taillon has touched 99 in the past and pitched at 93-97 mph in high school. Allie may have thrown 98-99 mph more frequently as the draft approached. Both are built to throw hard, with Taillon a 6-foot-6, 225-pounder, and Allie coming in two inches shorter. » BEST SECONDARY PITCH: Taillon's curveball earns the "hammer" tag with mid-80s power and good depth. Allie's slider at times registered in the upper 80s.


BEST PRO DEBUT: Santos (.319/.406/.479, 17 SB) and Curry (.299/.421/.477) were State College's best hitters. Projectable RHP Vincent Payne (12) finished up with the Spikes as a 19-year-old after going 2-2, 2.43 in 37 innings in the Rookie-level Gulf Coast League. » BEST ATHLETE: Some clubs, including the Pirates, viewed Rojas as a five-tool talent. Allie was a legitimate two-way threat and a good prospect as a third baseman, while versatile SS Drew Maggi (15) has good quickness and all-around skills. » MOST INTRIGUING BACKGROUND: Rojas' father Mel spent parts of 10 seasons in the majors, mostly with the Expos. Allie's father Dan is a former scout who was his high school coach. Santos was on the 2001 Bronx Little League team made infamous by his former New Mexico JC teammate, Danny Almonte. » CLOSEST TO THE MAJORS: Taillon is a special case for a high school pitcher, especially considering his $6.5 million signing bonus, largest ever for a high school player. » BEST LATE-ROUND PICK: The Pirates went over slot for Maggi, RHP Ryan Hafner (17) and 1B Jared Lakind (23), but loose-armed RHP Jason Townsend (31) has impressed the club most, running his fastball up to 95-96 this summer. » THE ONE WHO GOT AWAY: RHP Connor Sadzeck (45), an Illinois prep product, has impressed in the fall at Angelina (Texas) JC, throwing 93-98 with his fastball.