In a handful of years you very well could be seeing this guy in a Pittsburgh uniform. History tells us chances are you won’t but the Pirates have full intentions of getting him up to the majors. After all he was their first pick in the 2009 draft. His name: Tony Sanchez, a catcher from Boston College out of the Atlantic Coast Conference. The ACC is known for its baseball poweress, but not so much from a school such as Boston College.
Sanchez completed his Junior year of college at BC and was known as the best collegiate catcher in the draft. Nice accolades, but only one problem, he wasn’t expected to go untill laster, much later in the draft. The pick was done for signability issues, the Pirates front office knew what they were getting into picking a lesser player talent wise, in hopes that he would be an easy sign and that he would easily become a Pirate. The firestorm on Pirates message boards erupted after Sanchez was chosen. Many fans hoped the Pirates would choose a pitcher, specifically Aaron Crow. Crow fell to the 12th pick where he was chosen by Kansas City. Crow was a standout for Missouri so the hometown pick will surely be welcomed as a Royal.
Now I really have no problem with Sanchez, however I just don’t see the need for a catcher. While I can’t really say they Pirates are loaded at that position, I just know we have some solid guys waiting in the wings. Currently Ryan Doumit is first on our depth chart. He is widely regarded as a strong presence at the plate, unfortunately he is on teh DL and looks to remain there for a better part of the year. On the active roster now there is Jason Jaramillo and Robinzon Diaz. Both are rookies and done fantastic filling in for Doumit. In the minors the only catcher that has a legit shot at cracking the majors is Steven Lerud. He has been around for quite sometime but is still mentioned on top prospect lists.
I would have much rather seen an infielder drafted, preferably shortstop or 2nd baseman. Outside of current Pirates Jack Wilson and Freddy Sanchez the depth is pretty weak. Ideally a corner outfielder or first baseman could have been drafted. The Pirates have a stacked lineup with speed and average, just no power. If Sanchez can be developed properly, perhaps he can be able to put the ball in the seats. In college his numbers were .346, 14 homers, 51 RBI, from covering teh West Virginia University baseball team I can tell you those are very solid. Nobody on the Mountaineers hit more than 14 homeruns and a .346 averagee is very nice.
In later rounds the Pirates went after pitchers. From previous drafts Pirate pitchers have been nothing but busts. Bobby Bradley was injured and faded from baseball, number one overall pick Bryan Bullington never panned out and is probably floating around some Frontier League team. 2 years ago the Pirate nabbed Daniel Moskos. Moskos is a great guy and has a popular blog here on mlblogs, but he is tabbed to become nothing more than a decent relief pitcher. WIth a first round pick common sense would tell you to go after an impact player, not a decent relief pitcher.
Victor Black, Brooks Pounders and Zackary Dodson are a trio of pitchers thats were chosen in the first 5 round by the Bucs. With all the hoopla about the Pirates skipping over Aaron Crow, I look back to the previous busts by Pirate pitchers. Maybe it was a good thing he was passed over. Hopefully Black, Pounders, and Dodson can make teh impact that Maholm, Duke and Snell have made since being drafted by the Bucs and rising through teh farm system. Those 3 certianly aren’t major league elite but they’ve proved themselves through every phase and continue to hold down a spot on a major league rotation.
OTHER NOTABLE PLAYERS CHOSEN:
Pick 1455- Pat White. Yes, yes indeed this is THE Pat White. WVU football legend and Miami Dolphin Pat White. He made the decision out of high school to come to West Virginia and bypass the chance of playing baseball for the Los Angeles Angels. Based on his speed and pure athletic abilty the Yanks picked White. Once again he will give up baseball to pursue football in the NFL. This just show that 50 rounds is kind of meaningless when half the players will not even sign with their respective teams.
Pick 162-Tobias Striech. Following him the last two years and hearing nothing but the best, I knew Streich would be picked up in teh draft. Every single one of the WVU pitchers I’ve talked to said if it wasn’t for Tobias’s knowledge of the game and management skills the Mountaineers would lose more games than they won. He was a great defesnisve catcher with a quick release. Compared to Tony Snachez his numbers lack, but he still has a great opportunity with the Minnesota Twins and their organization.
Pick 834- Vince Belnome. Belnome was an RBI machine at WVU. His 84 this season gave him the all time single season record as a Mountaineer. He was a scrappy second baseman and always put the ball in play. The Padres picked him up and plan to use him as a utlityman. He was the cleanup hitter for the Mountaineers, a great spot to drive in runs and he did just that.
Its hard to tell what will happen with this draft. I wish all the Pirate picks the best of luck, they are the future and a cornerstone to give the Pirates a winning chance. I also wish Streich and Belnome the best. Once a Mountaineer always a Mountaineer, they have a chance to show the nation what West Virginia Spirit is all about.
PHOTO CREDITS: mlb.com, msnsportsnet.com