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Who Will The Pirates Draft? TPOP’s 2016 MLB Preview


I tell my boys to find a future wife that:

  1. Goes to church
  2. Drinks beer
  3. Makes you laugh

While it’s possible a woman with these characteristics could be a psychopath, there’s a good chance she’d make a nice spouse.

I’m pretty sure the Pirates have a similar set of characteristics when choosing their future spouses in the draft.   My guess is:

  1. High character
  2. Intelligence on and off the field
  3. Youth
  4. Premium positions

Briefly touching on these characteristics:  #1 and #2 are obvious.   Youth is so important for the Pirates, because it allows for upside and “breakouts”.   Finally, catcher, shortstop, centerfield and starting pitcher carry much more weight than other positions because these positions are the hardest to find.   On to the horserace….

Post Positions

Picking the first overall pick in this draft would be difficult, especially without the access to players’  character and intelligence.  Guessing the 22nd pick is like finding a needle in a haystack, hence why I’m placing horse racing odds.

There are several top 15 guys that I think that the Pirates would take if they fall to them (Nolan Jones, Zack Burdi, Alex Kirilloff, Ian Anderson, Braxton Garrett, etc.) but the chances are slim.   Here are the remaining athletes I’m handicapping:



College or HS



Collegiate Players

Cal Quantrill RHP Stanford



Cody Sedlock RHP Illinois



Robert Tyler RHP Georgia



Matt Thaiss LHH C UVA



Eric Lauer LHP Kent St.



Daulton Jeffries RHP Cal



T.J. Zeuch RHP Pitt



Justin Dunn RHP Boston College



High schoolers

Jared Horn RHP California HS



Will Benson LHH corner OF Georgia HS



Alex Speas RHP Georgia HS



Joe Rizzo LHH 3B VA HS



Nonie Williams RHH SS homeschooled



Hunter Bishop LHH OF California HS



Akin Baddoo LHH OF Georgia HS



Hudson Sanchez RHH 3B/SS Texas HS



Nolan Martinez RHP California HS




Nolan Martinez (20-1) Great projectable pitcher from California high school with a high ceiling, youth and already a good changeup.  Probably tough for the Pirates to take him with 22 but maybe with 41 or 68.

Akil Badoo (20-1) LHH high school outfielder who can really fly.   His speed might keep him in CF and his bat has 20/20 potential.

Daulton Jeffries (20-1) College pitcher with a good feel for pitching.   He had some shoulder issues which caused teams to shy away.  His Mike Leake comps are inevitable due to his small stature and good command.

Justin Dunn (20-1) Out of Boston College and has the big time arm and an average curve and slider to go along with it.  He’s a little small so there are those questions, but he also is very young for a college draftee which is a plus.

Alex Speas (20-1) Is a black Georgia high school pitcher that is drawing Dwight Gooden comps due to his long lanky profile.  He only has a good curveball to go along with his plus fastball.   His frame could fill out more too.

Late scratch

In horse racing there are often late scratches before the posting and if it was in this draft it might be Cal Quantrill (18-1)  out of Stanford.   Imagine if Mark Appel had Tommy John his sophomore year and you basically have Quantril.    The things that Quantril might have on Appel is that he is known for his mound presence and he is very young for his class.   Lucas Giolito is making teams think twice about Tommy John.

Middle of the Pack

Hunter Bishop (15-1) is an Austin Meadows clone that played football as well as baseball.  He ultimately chose a baseball scholarship to Arizona State over a football scholarship to Washington.   He’s young for his class and his ceiling is higher due to committing just to baseball.

Eric Lauer (15-1) was recruited by Urban Meyer to play football but instead became the weekend starter at Kent State.   Lauer oozes athleticism and has a good feel for four pitches.   His upside is good Jeff Locke and his downside is…bad Jeff Locke?

Joe Rizzo (15-1) can “flat out rake” and has “plus makeup” which are music to the Pirates’ ears.   The high schooler’s downside is that he is maxed out physically at 5’9″ 194 and his lack of a perfect position.   Matt Carpenter is a reminder each year of how guys like Rizzo get overlooked.

Robert Tyler (15-1) and Cory Sedlock (15-1) are both good RH college pitchers in a year where there aren’t very many but that’s their only similarity.   Tyler throws a high 90’s fastball and balances that with a good changeup but he hasn’t figured out another breaking ball, whereas Sedlock is a sinker/slider guy that has a future as a Jared Hughes if his James Shields career doesn’t work out.

The only thing Jared Horn (15-1) has playing against him is that he’s a high school pitcher.   Horn has a great fastball and three other average pitches with good control.  He also has a leader’s approach as he was also the quarterback for the high school football team.

The Favorites

Hudson Sanchez (10-1) is the guy no one is talking about and those are the guys the Pirates take.  Look at these stats:

  • Sanchez is the youngest American high school draftee, not turning 18 until October.
  • He might be able to stick at shortstop.
  • He has plus bat speed
  • He has plus power

Why aren’t people talking about him more?

Nonie Williams (10-1) is a homeschooled kid who might not ever get shoved in his locker.   He is a shortstop with all the tools necessary to be a ML regular.   He even has got additional ceiling due to the fact that he’s new to switch-hitting, like Robbie Grossman was when the Pirates drafted him.    He’s bigger than some teams like their shortstops, but I doubt that would affect the Pirates.

It’s not possible to talk about William Benson (10-1) without mentioning Jason Hayward.   Both are black, both are LHH corner outfielders, both are mountains of men and both are from Georgia.   The reason the Pirates would like him is that he is one of the youngest high school players in the draft and he has plus bat speed.

Matt Thaiss (10-1) is the Kyle Schwarber of this class:  LHH college catcher with bat that is way ahead of his catching skills.   It’s hard to know exactly how the Pirates approach someone like Thaiss but I assume they like the upside of a player who could hit like Schwarber, and play some catcher if needed.    The Schwarber factor might get Thaiss picked prior to 22.

T.J Zeuch (10-1) is the local Pitt product that is wowing scouts.   If the Pirates pick Zeuch people would assume it has something to do with the local kid being drafted by his hometown team.   In reality, Zeuch has many of the things that the Pirates look for in a pitcher.   First, Zeuch is huge at 6’7″ and could probably fill out even more than his already 225 lb frame.   Second, he has a plus fastball and is working with a slider, curve and changeup that could all be league average.   Finally he’s one of the youngest college players in the draft and has that “age upside” the Bucs seem to crave.

Which horse will win?

—  Guys to keep in mind for the second round pick and beyond include high schoolers  Kahil Lee (LHP),  J.C.  Flowers (OF/RHP),  Robie Peto (RHP) and Noah Murdock (RHP), collegiate guys  Joshua Palacios (OF) ,Brandon Miller (RHP) and Tyson Miller (RHP) Canadian high schoolers  Andy Yerzy (C) and Jordan Balazovic (RHP), Juco pitchers JoJo Romero (LHP) and Mikey York (RHP) Puerto Rican high schooler  Mario Feliciano (C).

About Michael Bradley (45 Articles)
Michael is a Pirates contributor to The Point of Pittsburgh. Michael is former submarine officer and Naval Academy grad. He now runs a small consulting firm and does veteran related job fairs. He is a SABR member and regularly attends Altoona Curve games to scout the Pirate prospects.
Contact: Twitter

3 Comments on Who Will The Pirates Draft? TPOP’s 2016 MLB Preview

  1. Casual Racism much?

    • Kevin Creagh // June 6, 2016 at 3:53 PM // Reply

      Explain. If in reference to Alex Speas and William Benson being termed “black”, then:
      1. Last Mike (and I) checked, they are black.
      2. When people are comping players to Dwight Gooden and Jason Heyward, you don’t hear people say “He’s like a white Dwight Gooden!” or “He’s just like Jason Heyward! Except he’s from Japan.” Mike did not make these comparison himself, these are what others in the industry are saying about these two players.

      • Michael Bradley // June 7, 2016 at 5:11 PM // Reply

        JD, thanks for reading.

        Kevin spoke my mind. It’s notable at this point when an athlete is black. Baseball is trying hard to get more blacks into this whiter and whiter game. That’s why I wanted to note it. Plus the Hayward and Gooden comps are really applicable this time.

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