Tuesday, May 8, 2012

Bryce Harper AUTO and a rant

Last year I showed off my dual auto of Bryce Harper and Jameson Taillon from 2011 Bowman I got as a birthday gift.  Since Harper will face off against the Pirates tonight, I think it's fitting to show it off again.

There's been a lot of Bryce Harper hate going on lately, but I love the guy.  He plays the game the way it's meant to be played.  Hopefully he keeps that hustle up his entire career.  If he does, he will likely be inducted into Cooperstown one day because his talent level is through the roof. 

Bryce Harper was selected by the Washington Nationals 1st overall in his first year of being eligible for the draft.

Last night, Chunter (who runs an awesome Braves blog) asked if "And btw, do the Pirates fans regret not having Bryce Harper (could they have gotten him) or do they just hate him like everyone else? They probably could have taken a shot at him. Then again, his agent was (is) Scott Boras..."

Had the Pirates finished the 2009 season with a worse record than the Nationals did, I think the Pirates would have selected Bryce Harper regardless of who his agent is.  I'm going to go on a little rant now and it's in no way meant to offend anyone, but I'm tired of people thinking that the Pirates front office is afraid of dealing with Scott Boras and that the team is cheap.

Prior to Bob Nutting taking over primary ownership of the Pirates in 2007, yes the Pirates chose to not deal with Scott Boras clients and they were cheap in how they handled their business.  This was proven by the Pirates selecting college relief pitcher Daniel Moskos instead  of one of the top catching prospects to come along in a generation Matt Wieters.  This was also proven when the Pirates chose to not go after Prince Fielder or BJ Upton in the 2002 draft when they selected Bryan Bullington.  After the draft, the then front office stated that they saw Bullington as a solid #3 or #4 starter.  You don't use the #1 overall selection to draft a midrotation starting pitcher.
The current Pirates front office doesn't shy away from Scott Boras represented draftees.  In the current front office's first draft they selected the Scott Boras represented, power hitting lefty Pedro Alvarez.  Pedro has had an interesting start to his young career, but if the end of the 2010 season and most recent 2 weeks have proven, Pedro Alvarez has intense power that can change the game with a single swing of the bat.  I think that Pedro will be a fixture in Pittsburgh for years to come.
The only notable Boras client in the 2009 draft when the Pirates could select was prep pitcher Jacob Turner.  The Pirates felt that the 2009 draft was very deep in prep pitchers and chose to instead grab college catcher Tony Sanchez who could help build strong relationships with some of that prep talent selected in later rounds.  They had a plan and targeted Sanchez not because Turner was a Boras agent, but because they felt they could get similar pitchers to Turner in later rounds which is exactly what they did.  Based on Turner's pro career so far, it doesn't look like he would have been a sure fire can't miss prospect anyway.  Besides Stephen Strasburg and Dustin Ackley no player from this draft has emerged as a superstar. 
In 2010, the Pirates had missed the opportunity to get Bryce Harper, but there were other Boras clients still on the board when the Pirates selected 2nd.  The Pirates instead chose to go after prep starting pitcher and future ace Jameson Taillon.  Jameson was not only the best prep pitcher in the 2010 draft, but also considered by many scouts to be the best pitcher in the entire draft with comparisons to Josh Beckett and Roger Clemens.  The Pirates then gave Taillon the largest draft signing bonus in the history of the franchise and also signed fireballing prep pitcher Stetson Allie who many teams thought was unsignable.
 In 2011, the Pirates held no punches back in going big and drafting Scott Boras represented players.  They selected previous NY Yankee 1st rounder Gerrit Cole with the 1st overall pick.  Cole is compared to pitching superstars Stephen Strasburg and Justin Verlander early in his pro career.
With the 1st pick on day 2 of the 2011 draft, the Pirates went after the unsignable Josh Bell and offered him the largest draft bonus awarded to a 2nd rounder EVER.  Josh Bell was represented by Boras and had sent letters to teams stating that he fully intended to attend college and don't draft him.  Proving my point that the current Pirates front office was not afraid of Boras, they drafted him and signed him.  He recently injured his knee playing in A ball, but looks like the power hitting switch hitter the Pirates drafted prior to getting injured.

So in my very long winded response, no the Pirates would not have passed up Bryce Harper if he was still on the board when the Pirates selected #2 overall in 2010.  The Pirates front office will spend money when it makes sense (see Andrew McCutchen's 6 year contract extension, bringing in Derrek Lee at the trade deadline last year, and the enormous amount of spending in recent drafts).

All that being said, I'm very happy with the Pirates getting Jameson Taillon in the 2010 draft.  Here's his numbers so far for the 2012 season as a 20 year old.
1.76 ERA
30.2 IP
0.82WHIP (6 Walks/19 Hits)
.172 opponents batting average
0 HR allowed

Yup I'll take a future Verlander/Clemens/Beckett ace like pitcher with 6+ years of control.



  1. The Pirates have scary good pitching in the minors. I was happy to get a Taillon TTM this spring, as I agree with you that he has a very bright future. I'm jealous that you guys have such a talented group of young pitchers, then again it's the result of finishing low in the standings for many years in a row...so I guess I understand why.

    I agree with your take on Harper. While I won't pronounce him as a future HOFer, from what I've seen he plays hard and has kept his mouth shut. It's been documented that he is cocky and full of himself, and perhaps that was true, but he's young and deserves a fair shot to mature. So far, in the week that he has been up, I haven't seen anything that indicates him being a punk. Maybe he's just been on his best behavior and has me fooled. People love to hate on the next big thing, but there is not one team that wouldn't want him. Any fan that says they wouldn't isn't telling the truth.

    P.s. Let's Go Bucs!

  2. Let's go Bucs!!!! kill the Natatude!

    1. Sorry but the series has already started. I appreciate the Bucs loving tho

  3. Wow, I'm reading this now. Thanks for going to such lengths to answer my question!