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MLB Draft

‘Just How it Shaked Out,’ Pirates Go Heavy on Pitchers, College Players



Garrett McMillan, Pittsburgh Pirates

The 2023 Major League Baseball draft is all wrapped up. For the Pittsburgh Pirates, they made 21 selections and will now look to sign each one to join the organization.

The Pirates’ draft was heavy on two categories in particular — pitching and college — most often, both at the same time.

Of the 21 selections made by the Pirates 18 of them came from the collegiate level, including one JUCO draftee.

“Our goal is to add as much talent up and down the draft as we can and do everything we can to bring in as much collective talent as we can,” Pirates assistant general manager Steve Sanders said. “On day two and day three of the draft, often times there’s just a little bit more depth of the college pool there.”

Additionally, two-thirds of the players taken were pitchers, including nine in a row from rounds 4 to 12. However, that too was simply a result of how things played out.

Though an organization can never have enough pitching and entering the draft. It just so happens that pitching was right up there with the biggest area to be addressed in this cycle.

“I think the easy answer is, that’s the way things shaked out,” Pirates scouting director Joe Dellicarri said. “Each selection afforded the opportunity of what was in front of us and take advantage of that opportunity. It certainly turned out that way that two-thirds of the numbers were pitchers but nothing more than that.”

It was a different looking draft from when the Pirates had the first overall pick only two years ago, when they took Henry Davis from Louisville.

That draft class was similar in the sense that there were about five guys or so in contention for being the top pick. The Pirates opted for Davis over the others and saved a good bit of their allocated draft funds for later in doing so.

With those savings, the Pirates took three-consecutive high school players in left-hander Anthony Solometo, outfielder Lonnie White Jr. and two-way player (now pitcher) Bubba Chandler.

This year, the Pirates’ class looks much different than it did in 2021, but the Pirates seem equally as pleased with the results.

“Every draft is different,” said Sanders. “Our goal is to both plan and strategize and also be flexible enough to, sort of, take what the draft gives you… At the end of the day our goal is to be coming out of every draft with adding as much impact to the organization as possible.

“Our goal is to respond and react as nimbly as possible to take advantage of what the draft presents to us. I think we did that this year. It probably looks a little different than past years and will probably look a little different than future years.”

With the draft now in the rearview mirror, now comes that hard part for the Pirates’ front office.

Not only do they have to sign these players before the Aug. 1 deadline, but the Pirates will look to develop the players they drafted into impactful big league contributors down the road.

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