Pirates Second Round Buzz
The Pirates kick off the second round today with the 61st overall pick. How will the team follow up the selection of Gerrit Cole?
Signability concerns has several 1st round prospects remaining on the board.
The Pirates philosophy remains building around pitching throughout the system and GM Neal Huntington has made it known that you can never have enough pitching.
Three pitchers with 1st round grades are among the top 3 or 4 prospects still on the board.
High School pitchers Daniel Norris (Science Hill, HS, LHP), and Dillion Howard (Searcy HS, RHP) would be big hauls for the Pirates in the second round as would college pitcher Anthony Meo (Coastal Carolina, RHP), if the Pirates are confident he could would be a starter in the majors.
Norris is the No. 15th rated player in MLB.com’s Jonathan Mayo’s draft rankings and No. 35 in ESPN’s Keith Law’s rankings.
Norris, 6-foot-2, 180-pounds, is committed to Clemson and the belief is if he goes to college, he’ll enter the 2014 draft as one of the top pitching prospects. Norris has three above plus pitches and his fastball sits in the 92mph range but can reach up to 96.
Right hander Dillion Howard is No. 18 on MLB’s draft rankings and also No. 18 on Keith Law’s rankings.
At 6-foot-3, 200-pounds, Howard is a big pitcher with the type of build the Pirates are drawn too. He’s committed to Arkansas next year but is considered more likely to sign than Norris.
College pitcher Anthony Meo also enters the second round with a previous first round grade. The 6-foot-2, 185-pounder went 10-3 with a 2.16 ERA for Coastal Carolina.
He’s a big arm pitcher which the Pirates could be drawn too and would be an easier sign and less risk than high school pitchers Norris, Howard.
Meo can flash 96-97 and according to Keith Law’s scouting report has a hard slider with a late bite than can hit 88-90.
Some have projected Meo as a possible No. 2 or No. 3 starter but there appears to be some scouts who feel he’s a long-term reliever which has seen him fall into the second round.
Other college pitchers rated highly is TCU’s Matthew Purke (No. 27 on MLB’s board) and Oregon State’s Josh Osich (No. 50 prospect, according to MLB.com.
While the Pirates adding a pitcher in the second round remains a possibility, the Pirates know that there is a serious need to add impact hitters into the system.
Some very intriguing high rated prospects remain on the board but a lot of risk comes with them.
The top name is high school outfielder Josh Bell who is one of the best high school bats in the draft. He is rated 15th overall by Keith Law and No. 23 by MLB.com. Bell though is believed to be set on going to Texas next season and would be a major risk for the Pirates to select.
Other high ceiling position players (top-50 prospects) still on the board include Indiana university outfielder Alex Dickerson (No. 37 rated prospect by Keith Law), high school outfielder Charles Tilson who Law calls a 5-tool player and Cedar Crest high school outfielder Derek Fisher.
USC’s Ricky Oropesa (6-3, 230 1B/3B) is another college bat widely considered a top-50 prospect and has the ability to play first and third base. He could be an intriguing option for the Pirates.
Oropesa led USC in the triple crown categories, batting .322 (67-for-208) with seven home runs and 44 RBI and was named to the All-Pac-10 Conference Team…recorded 10 doubles, a triple and three stolen bases…posted a .481 slugging percentage and .402 on-base percentage.