Pirates cover all the bases in draft

Pirates cover all the bases in draft

PITTSBURGH -- The Pittsburgh Pirates' basic draft philosophy is really quite simple -- take the best player available when it's your turn to pick.

Fortunately for the pitching-rich Bucs, the best player available during the first day of the 2005 First-Year Player Draft proved to be a position player more often than not.

Of the first 15 players nabbed by the Pirates on Tuesday, 10 were position players, including top pick Andrew McCutchen, a potential five-tool center fielder from Ft. Meade (Fla.) High School.

"That's just the way the board lined up," said Pirates scouting director Ed Creech. "Sometimes it happens like that. You don't really do anything intentionally like that.

"We earmarked some bats, and this was kind of the way it lined up. It just worked out like that."

In addition to being loaded with position players, the 18 players selected by the Pirates on Tuesday included 15 collegians.

"We were lucky," said Creech. "We worked out a lot of these guys and didn't think they were going to be there all the way down through the top 10 rounds.

"These are guys that we like and that's a good feeling. But like I said last year, there are 29 other [scouting directors] patting themselves on the back, too."

After leaning heavily towards college position players on the first day of the draft, the Pirates loaded up on pitchers during the latter rounds. Of the 32 players Pittsburgh selected Wednesday, 18 were pitchers, including 12 high school hurlers.

In all, the Bucs selected 22 right-handers, three southpaws, 13 outfielders, two catchers, three first basemen, one second baseman, three shortstops and three third baseman.

Of the 50 players selected, 26 were collegians, 23 were drafted out of high school and one player, Pirates closer Jose Mesa's son, Juan, was not listed as either a college or high school pick despite briefly enrolling at Miami Dade Community College.

As he has for each of the past four years, Creech sat down with MLB.com to give a brief assessment of each of the Bucs' first 18 picks:

1. Andrew McCutchen, CF, Fort Mead (Fla.) High School
"He is a potential five-tool guy. We're really impressed with his speed and hitting ability more than anything."

2. Williams Corley, RF, Mississippi State
"Corley had a little bit of an off year, but we've seen him in the past hit with power. He's a good hitter with a good arm. We think he think he's going to be a corner outfielder with some power."

3. James Boone, CF, University of Missouri-Columbia
"Boone is a switch-hitter with a smooth swing from both sides of the plate. He can do a lot of things, kind of a five-tool guy. He's going to be a good addition."

4. Brent Lillibridge, SS, University of Washington
"Lillibridge is a smooth-fielding shortstop. He's got some strength with the bat also."

5. Jeffrey Sues, RHP, Vanderbilt University
"Sues is a power arm with a power breaking ball. We like the possibilities this guy brings. I think he could be a starter or a back end of the bullpen guy."

6. Cameron Blair, 2B, Texas Tech
"Blair played shortstop at Texas Tech and put up great numbers. We're going to move him to second base, and we think we're going to have an offensive player there."

7. Justin Vaclavik, RHP, University of Texas
"Vaclavik pitched out of the bullpen when he was with the University of Houston. We saw him up to 95 [mph] with a power slider. We're very excited about him."

8. Steven Pearce, 1B, University of South Carolina-Columbia
"Pearce is a guy who had a lot of success at the University of South Carolina. We think this guy might hopefully turn into [another Brad] Eldred. Hopefully we've caught lightning in a bottle."

9. Mark Moeves, RHP, Northern Kentucky University
"Moeves is 6-foot-3 with a good arm and an above-average breaking ball."

10. Derek Antelo, RHP, Nova Southeastern University
"Antelo is a senior who knows how to pitch with a plus breaking ball. He's really a bulldog on the mound."

11. Christopher Jones, C, Cal State Long Beach
"Jones is a smooth-fielding catcher with a good arm, but he's not going to be an out at the plate. He's got some bat but we got him mostly for his defensive ability."

12. Jason Delaney, LF, Boston College
"We've tried to bring some bats in here, and Delaney was a bat who looked like he might have some potential. Hopefully it will pan out."

13. Matthew Swanson, RHP, UC Berkeley
"Swanson is a big, 6-foot-8 reliever. He's got a good arm and he throws downhill. He's a big, strong kid."

14. Albert Laboy, CF, John I. Leonard (Fla.) High School
"Laboy was a kid that we targeted. He had some injury problems and we're basically kind of hoping that those injuries are behind him because this is guy who can hit. We really like his bat."

15. Jarred Bogany, CF, George Bush (Texas) High School
"Bogany is a guy whose athletic ability we like. Hopefully we can sign him and get him in the organization."

16. Eric Krebs, RHP, Alvin Community College
"Krebs is a good power arm. He had been under contract with Kansas City and they did not sign him. We're taking a chance to try to sign him. He's a good-looking kid."

17. Darren Newlin, RHP, University of Central Florida
"Newlin had some success as a college senior. We think he's going to help us out."

18. Ryan Searage , LF, Eckerd College
"We think Searage is going to be a good addition as an outfielder in our organization."

19. Daniel Rios, 1B, College of the Sequoias
20. Ryan Lollis, OF, Houston Christian (Tex.) High School
21. Elias Otero, SS, Puerto Rico Baseball Academy High School
22. David DiNatale, OF, Stoneman Douglas (Fla.) High School
23. Juan Mesa, OF, No school
24. Jared Brown, LHP, Cumberland University
25. Michael Wanamaker, RHP, Nyack (N.Y.) High School
26. Tony Mansolino, 3B, Vanderbilt University
27. Nash Robertson, RHP, UC Irvine
28. Clayton McMillan, LHP, Carthage (Tex.) High School
29. Ian Sebastian, RHP, Columbus (Ga.) High School
30. Chad Povich, RHP, Dixie State College
31. Jason Herman, RHP, University of West Alabama
32. Matthew Acors, RHP, Virginia Military Institute
33. Michael Klindt, OF, Centennial(Ga.) High School
34. Gary Bucuren, 3B, Ambridge Area (Pa.) High School
35. Lyndon Estill, OF, Sammmamish (Wash.) High School
36. Justin Byler, C, Gulf Coast Community College
37. Eric Marshall, RHP, Barrington (Ill.) High School
38. Carl Uhl, OF, Serrano (Calif.) High School
39. Jason Brock, LHP, David Lipscomb (Tenn.) High School
40. Kenneth Wieda, RHP, John Hersey (Ill.) High School
41. Nick Beghtol, RHP, Dixie College
42. Kyle Sweat, RHP, Apopka (Fla.) High School
43. Scott Kuhns, RHP, John Hersey (Ill.) High School
44. Jordan Latham, RHP, Centennial (Ind.) High School
45. Philip Riley, RHP, Jackson State Community College
46. Kody Hinze, 1B, Nimitz (Texas) High School
47. Ryan Lormand, SS, McLennan Community College
48. Paul Dickey, RHP, Lake Washington (Wash.) High School
49. Francisco Ortiz, RHP, Puerto Rico Baseball Academy High School
50. Stephen Merino, 3B, American (Fla.) Senior High School

Ed Eagle is a reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.