Pirates Draft Report Card




QUICK TAKE
Pittsburgh heeded MLB's guidelines with the No. 4 pick, choosing Sanchez over more highly regarded players, then spent big money lower in the draft, going well over slot to land Dodson ($600,000), Von Rosenberg ($1.2 million) and Cain ($1,125,000).
POSITION PLAYERS

BEST PURE HITTER:: While some teams questioned C Tony Sanchez's (1) bat, the Pirates didn't. He became less pull-conscious after switching from metal to wood bats and hit .309/.409/.539 while reaching high Class A. >> BEST POWER HITTER:: 1B Aaron Baker (11) led the short-season New York-Penn League with seven triples, and the 6-foot-3, 232-pounder didn't do that with blazing speed. Sanchez and OF Evan Chambers (3) have a chance for solid or better power. >> FASTEST RUNNER:: Chambers and SS/2B Brock Holt (9) have plus speed, but Pittsburgh didn't sign any burners. >> BEST DEFENSIVE PLAYER: The top defensive catcher in the 2009 draft, Sanchez has plus arm strength, soft hands and quick feet.

PITCHERS


BEST FASTBALL:
RHP Victor Black (1s) maintained his 96 mph peak velocity through instructional league. RHP Jeff Inman (12), who had a rough spring at Stanford, worked at 93-95 mph during instructional league. >> BEST SECONDARY PITCH: LHP Zack Dodson's (4) curveball rates a slight edge of LHP Zac Fuesser's (34).

ODDS AND ENDS


BEST PRO DEBUT:
Sanchez did everything the Pirates wanted to see offensively and defensively. >> BEST ATHLETE: Chambers' athleticism and stocky 5-foot-9, 215-pound frame have prompted physical comparisons to Kirby Puckett. RHP Zack Von Rosenberg (6) and LHP Colton Cain (8) had pro potential as position players. >> MOST INTRIGUING BACKGROUND:: Unsigned C Wes Luquette (27) is the grandson of Tabasco tycoon Paul McIlhenny. Luquette also starred as a quarterback at the Isidore Newman School (New Orleans), the alma mater of Peyton and Eli Manning. Von Rosenberg won Louisiana state titles and pitched the clincher in each of his four years of high school. Baker's grandfather Jerry Mays played in two Super Bowls and was an all-American Football League performer as an offensive and defensive lineman. >> CLOSEST TO THE MAJORS: Sanchez could be Pittsburgh's Opening Day starter behind the plate in 2011. LHP Nate Baker (5), who commands three average pitches, also could jump on the fast track. >> BEST LATE-ROUND PICK: Inman has shown three promising pitches and improved competitiveness, and now he needs to bring them to the mound on a consistent basis. RHP Phillip Irwin (21), Nate Baker's teammate at Mississippi, does a nice job of locating all three of his pitches down in the zone. >> THE ONE WHO GOT AWAY: OF Matt den Dekker's (16) all-around tools made him a potential first-rounder before a disappointing spring and a $1 million asking price dropped him in the draft. He held firm to his price and returned to Florida. The Pirates made strong runs at Luquette (even after he had Tommy John surgery) and RHP Kyle Hooper (28), but Luquette attended Louisiana State and Hooper went to Santa Clara.