According to reports, GM Neal Huntington was at the University of Virginia last night, scouting potential 1st overall pick Danny Hultzen who took on No. 16 Miami.
Hultzen (9-2) who has emerged at the top of the Pirates radar along with UCLA’s Garrett Cole and Rice’s Anthony Rendon, pitched seven innings, giving up five runs (three earned), six hits and a walk while striking out nine in the Cavaliers 6-2 loss to Miami.
Hultzen suffered just his fourth career loss, falling to 29-4 in his three seasons at UVa.
Hultzen had a rough first inning allowing 5 runs (3 ER), but rebounded well from the first inning, shutting the Hurricanes out on just two hits over his final six innings of work.
While momentum is starting to to move into Hultzen’s direction for the No. 1 pick, many scouts still believe UCLA’s Garrett Cole will be the Pirates guy come draft day.
For small market teams, getting top of the rotation pitching almost always has to come from the draft. That’s why many believe Cole or Hultzen will be too hard to pass up for GM Neal Huntington and his staff.Pirates scouts have longed favored Anthony Rendon who might have been the 1st overall pick last season over Bryce Harper if he was eligible.
Rendon’s health may possibly push him out of the top-2 but main questions from scouts that have emerged is about his “build”. He has somewhat of a slim build that scouts question whether he’s going to have power at the next level and be able to stay healthy.
However, when a player is in the spotlight for so long nitpicking from evaluators is going to happen. Due to the risk in taking pitchers, when a team is throwing $10+ million at a player, arguably Rendon is the safer pick (despite injury history) because he’s a position player.