Tuesday, December 22, 2009
Analyzing the Neil Huntington Era- Part II
NH has made a commitment to building through the draft. In the two seasons, the Pirates have signed more draft picks and have spent almost as much money than any team in the game. They realized the organization needed talent and that is the route NH & Cooneley have taken.
Now, there is more minor league talent then at any other time I can recall. I especially have liked the approach they have taken to signing some of these guys. Drafting the best players and buying college away from them has proven to be a success for the time being. It's a much different approach from the Littlefield regime, which made a habit of drafting only signable players, no matter how bad they lacked talent. Daniel Moskos instead of Matt Wieters, pretty much put the pressure on NH not to miss with his early picks.
Let's take a look back at NH's first draft, in 2008. Click Here to take a look at the complete draft. Looking at his first overall selection as the GM of the Pirates, NH didn't shy away from Scott Boras client Pedro Alvarez, like had been done many times before. The negotiations with Alvarez literally lasted until the final second, but eventually Alvarez was signed and is on a fast track to PNC Park.
Look at the entire draft, but I will highlight just a couple of the top picks. Alvarez, naturally speaks for himself. He immediately became the teams top prospect. SS's Jordy Mercer and Chase D'Arnaud were taken in the 3rd and 4th rounds and both have upgraded the position. D'Arnaud is likely the SS of the future for the Bucs. Pitcher Justin Wilson was a 5th rd choice and OF Robbie Grossman was a sixth rd choice. Grossman was set to go to college and NH added him to the system. If the threat of college wasn't there, he likely would have been a first round selection. Another name, Calvin Anderson was selected in the 12th round. He has legit power and could be a big piece of the future.
One that got away in 08 was second round selection Tanner Scheppers, who wasn't signed and went back into the draft the following season.
Here is a breakdown of the 2009 draft.Click Here to take a look at all the selections. One thing, is that the strategy was the same. Draft talented players and sign as many as possible. Catcher Tony Sanchez was selected in the first round, 4th overall. The pick was criticized throughout the nation, but juding from the fact that Sanchez signed quickly and got off to a fantastic start to his pro career, it looks like NH may have struck gold in the first round on back to back seasons.
One thing to note is that NH signed the teams top 14 picks, which is very impressive. Out of the top 14 signed, eight were pitchers. Looking back, it looks as if NH is truly committed to his plan of building through the draft and re-shapping the organization. Drafts are so hard to judge for atleast three seasons, but so far, it looks as if NH is doing a much better job than his predecessor