For a select few young men, the first steps taken along the Road to the Show will begin on Thursday night during the first two rounds of the 2014 Major League Baseball First-Year Player Draft. The event will be held at MLB Network’s Studio 42 in Secaucus, New Jersey.
Next up will be rounds 3 through 10 on Friday with the last 30 rounds conducted on Saturday. The time has come for Pirates’ general manager Neal Huntington and scouting director Joe DelliCarri to make the decisions on who could be the next Andrew McCutchen, Neil Walker, Gerrit Cole, Pedro Alvarez, Jordy Mercer or Tony Watson to be developed by Pittsburgh’s farm system.
While the Black and Gold is choosing in the 24th position in the first round, Huntington took steps this week to add to the Bucs’ draft presence by sending reliever Bryan Morris to Miami for the Marlins’ Competitive Balance Round A selection, which is the 39th pick overall. With the $1,457,600 attached to that pick, the Pirates’ bonus pool, which covers the first 10 rounds, increased from $5,606,100 to $7,603,700. The Bucs’ total bonus pool now ranks 13th in the majors.
Back in early May, we took a look at possible players that may be on the Bucs’ draft board on Thursday night. It is time to revisit that list as players move up and down on every team’s scouting report. Some draftologists across the internet see a different mix of prospects available for the Black and Gold when they are on the clock.
Looking at their first pick at No. 24, the Pirates could go with a postition player such as outfielder Monte Harrison from Summit West High School in Missouri. The 6-foot-4 prospect has the strength and bat speed for above-average power. He was clocked at 97 mph making a throw from the outfield during the Perfect Game National in June. Harrison is an above-average runner who could become a star center fielder.
Shortstop Jacob Gatewood is from Clovis High School in California and has tremendous power and bat speed. He could become an annual 30-homer hitter as either a big league shortstop or third baseman. The 6-5 prospect won the Home Run Derby at the Under Armour All-America Game at Wrigley Field.
Another infielder could be Ti’quan Forbes from Columbia High School in Mississippi, who is an above-average runner that could steal bases and cover ground at shortstop. The 6-4 hopeful possesses the bat speed that makes him a solid hitter and could lend itself to plenty of pop once he adds strength to his frame.
Meanwhile at the 39th slot, Pittsburgh could look for some help on the mound from the college ranks by going with right-hander Tyler Beede from Vanderbilt or left-hander Matt Imhof from Cal Poly.
On Saturday in the later rounds, it will be interesting to see if the Bucs go local with left-hander Brendan McKay, the pitching prospect from Blackhawk High School in Chippewa.
The moment is almost here to see whose name is on the card when the Pirates make their decisions. Who will be the one to make an impact eventually at PNC Park?