As I drove up the side of a mountain in Virginia, I managed to briefly catch Greg Brown's voice on some wayward AM radio station as Craig Monroe's heads up base running (whoa, there's a weird phrase) gave the Pirates a 3-1 lead in the seventh inning. I assumed that Charlie Morton had made a good debut with the Pirates. It wasn't until later that I found out that Morton left after the first inning with a balky hamstring and that the man he deposed from the rotation, Jeff Karstens, then made what amounted to his best start of the year by holding the Braves to one run over 4 2/3 innings. Funny how the world works out sometimes. No word on Morton's hammy (other than "day to day" that is) or who makes this start next time through the rotation.
Since I didn't catch much of the game, I'll use the rest of this space here to wrap the second day of the draft. The Pirates made good on their promise to pull in some high upside guys, nabbing four interesting high school pitchers (Zackry Dodson, Zachary von Rosenburg, Trent Stephenson, and Billy Cain) with their first five picks today. All four have commitments to good baseball programs (Baylor, LSU, Arizona, and Texas, respectively, I believe) and all four will be difficult signs. In the 12th round they also grabbed John Inman of Stanford, initially expected to be one of the best pitchers in the country in 2009 before arm trouble zapped his year. Baseball America thinks he could go back to school to try and help his draft status, so he'll be a tough sign as well.
Elsewhere on the list, we got Aaron Baker from Oklahoma in the 11th, who Bryan Smith at BP thinks has great power for an 11th rounder, and Matthew den Dekker, Baseball America's 94th best prospect, in the 16th round. All told, it was a pretty huge day for the Pirates with one massive caveat; the Pirates have to sign a lot of these guys to make this a good draft. Specifically, the four high school pitchers (especially von Rosenburg) are important to sign. The Pirates had a lot of luck with guys like Robby Grossman, Quinton Miller, and Wes Freeman last year, but I'm not sure that that's necessarily a predictor for how things will go with these guys this year. Because the Pirates didn't get much value with their first round pick, they're really putting a lot of stock into these hard-to-sign guys.
In the end, there's not really going to be any way to value this draft class until August 17th (the 15th is a Saturday) and even after that, most of the value in this draft is tied up in pitchers (and high school pitchers at that), which means that it'll be years before we have any idea what comes out of this draft. Still, the Pirates did follow through on their promise to draft a slew of high upside guys today, with the plan to use the money not spent on a first round bonus to lure them away from college. We'll know soon enough whether it was a good strategy.