The Pittsburgh Pirates, MLB's worse team in 2010, has until midnight to sign any of the 2011 draft class that remains unsigned. All eyes will be on the Pirates as they try to sign #1 overall selection Gerrit Cole.
Gerrit Cole was widely regarded as the best college pitcher heading into the 2011 season, but he struggled as the season wore on. There's still little doubt in anyone's mind that Cole can be a workhorse for the Pirates rotation in the future. The Pirates passed on several other pitchers who had better season, but scouts wonder if their ceiling is as high as Cole's.
The Pirates passed on an elite college bat (Anthony Rendon) due to injury concerns, but drafted the best high school bat in the draft on Day 2 to lead off the 2nd round. Josh Bell, a switch hitter, shows 5 tool talent and is only 17 years old. He sent out a letter to all teams stating that he wishes not to be drafted because he wants to attend college. The Pirates rolled the dice and took a chance at hoping to pry him away with a monster bonus in the 2nd round. If the Pirates can not get Josh Bell signed they will have the 62nd pick next year as compensation.
Last year, the Pirates had the number 2 overall pick and selected prep pitcher Jameson Taillon. On day 2, the Pirates rolled the dice and selected Stetson Allie who dropped in the draft due to signability concerns. Both of these guys can crank the ball up into the high 90s and in Stetson's case hit triple digits. Jameson is the more refined pitcher, whereas Stetson is still raw but shows huge potential.
Many of the 2010 draft picks are playing in short season A ball. The most advanced of the 2010 draft picks is Matt Curry, who is now in AA Altoona Curve. I'm a BIG FAN of Matt Curry. I think he's going to be a solid major leaguer one day. Interesting note about Curry is that he was drafted by the Pirates in 2008 and did not sign becuase he wanted to attend college. He agreed to be redrafted by the Pirates in 2010 and was selected in the 16th round. I've met Matt a few times and he is a very humble friendly guy.
Here is my small collection of autograph and jersey cards from the players the Pirates selected in the 2010 draft. I would love to add to my Taillon collection, but his cards are soooo pricey. I have 4 Jameson Taillon autos, 1 Jameson Taillon jersey, 2 Stetson Allie autos, and a Matt Curry auto. I do have another Taillon coming and will post it sometime before the month is over.
Here's my non-auto card collection of flame thrower Stetson Allie. He's averaging 9K/9 which is a really great number, but he's also averaging 9BB/9 and has a WHIP of 1.97. It was a concern prior to the season that Allie's wildness would be the biggest obstacle to overcome.
Jameson Taillon is looking better, but still needs to improve a bit. He does have 77 Strikeouts and only 15 Walks (4 of which were in his first 4 innings worked). He has a solid 1.26WHIP for a 19 year old playing in advanced A ball. I love that blue refractor.