Bucs have different challenges in draft

Neal Huntington

After ending years of frustration and making the playoffs last season, the Pirates are in a much different position entering this years Major League Baseball first-year player draft.

The Pirates do not pick until No. 24 overall in the first round of the draft, which begins at 7 p.m. with the first and second rounds along with the competitive-balance lottery selections.

In addition to the 24th pick, the Pirates have the No. 39 selection in the supplemental round following the first round; their regular second-round pick at No. 64; and No. 73 in the supplemental round after the second round.

"It's a lot easier when you're picking one, two or four to have a pretty good feel of who's going to get to you," general manager Neal Huntington said recently. "It's a bit more of a challenge this year picking 24, which we'll gladly take, and, hopefully, figure out a way to start picking 28, 29 and 30 at some point here in the near future."

Huntington said they had to alter their approach this year to cover a broader span of players.

They will have scouts looking at players considered to be worthy of the top five or 10 in case they are available when the Pirates pick, in addition to players projected to be on the board closer to their selections.

"We've had to alter our approach a bit," Huntington stated. "When you're picking two or four, you really only have to narrow in on four or five players. Now we have a broader approach. A deeper board, and it will allow us to have a deeper Draft.

"But, it's probably a good year to be picking in the middle of the pack," added Huntington.

The Pirates will not focus on drafting for need at a particular position. Opting for the "best player available" model.

"We feel like we're going to get a player. We do think there's some depth to it," Huntington said. "We always go into it thinking we'll get a good guy. It is very different picking 24th than in the top 10 somewhere. We hope not to pick in the top 10 anytime soon."

In his mock draft Scout MLB Network National Baseball Analyst Kiley McDaniel had the Pirates selecting Vanderbilt right-hander Tyler Beede with pick number 24.

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