Because of that, before I even started Buried Treasure I had done a solid amount of research on the draft. My first draft post highlighted two players, providing a scouting report. From there, I simply decided to do a mock draft. With no offense intended at any one in specific, mock drafts, especially those this early before the draft, always irk me. Generally the reasoning behind them make little sense and do not match up with how teams actually pick. In addition, the reader usually just gets a name and maybe a poorly written sentence. I wanted to do better than that, so I tried to incorporate factors that actually drive teams to their picks into my mock draft and then provide a detailed scouting report which also explains my reasoning behind my picks.
I honestly feel somewhat under qualified to gauge this year’s draft class as a whole due to a lack of context. Last year was the first year I seriously followed and researched the draft. As such, I can only compare this year’s class to last year’s class. Last year’s class was a really good one, highlighted by seven elite players at the top (Gerrit Cole through Archie Bradley) and incredible college depth, especially in the pitching ranks. This year, the strength seems to be in the depth of the high school players, both in the outfield and on the mound. I also think it is possible to see another good elite class of players emerge that would include Appel, Zunino, Giolito, Buxton, and maybe even guys like Gausman, Correa, and Williams.
All that explained, I seriously doubt the Pirates take another prep pitcher unless someone dominant falls to #8; right now, that would be Lucas Giolito, and I'd be surprised and miffed if that happens. A prep batter is also doubtful, although to a lesser degree, so a Correa is more of a personal pipe dream. Again, for the Pirates to take a prep batter, he would have to be the clear best player available at #8, and even there, although no one would admit it, they might pass on a toolsy, but raw outfielder such as Buxton due to the Pirates depth at that position.
From there, it leaves the college guys. Considering how the farm system is developing and the window that could start closing when Andrew McCutchen becomes a free agent after the 2015 season, a college guys makes sense. In fact, it makes sense enough that the Pirates could reach at #8. They would definitely prefer a guy like Mike Zunino, Devin Marrero, or Kevin Gausman to drop to #8, but since right now that looks doubtful, the Pirates could take a guy like pitchers Chris Beck and Mike Wacha or bat Victor Roache and pass on a slightly better prep pitcher or hitter.
Being somewhat realistic, I hope the Pirates are able to grab a guy like Gausman. He would fit in nicely with that pitching staff, and won't be three or four years away like a prep pitcher will be, at least considering how the Pirates develop their pitchers.
Plus, the Reds were always really good, and added Mat Latos. The Cardinals will get Adam Wainwright back and added Carlos Beltran. The NL Central isn't as strong as it was last year, but the Pirates just aren't ready.
Now, what's exciting is the near future, rather than the distant future. As early as next year, the Pirates could see guys such as Starling Marte, Tony Sanchez and Gerrit Cole all in
In that same time, the Astros will have moved to the AL West. The Cubs will still be rebuilding now that they didn't get Fielder. The Brewers will get older and probably lose at least one of Shaun Marcum, Yovani Gallardo or Zack Greinke to free agency. Plus their farm system is barren. The Cardinals lost Pujols, and while they have a solid farm system, I think they will have trouble replacing Chris Carpenter, Lance Berkman, Beltran, and Matt Holliday in the near future, all of whom are on the wrong side of 30. The Reds will still be a force, and I believe the Pirates' main competition.