If the Pirates need to draft a pitcher, I would much rather see them take UCLA’s Gerrit Cole or teammate Trevor Bauer, or Oklahoma high school pitcher Dylan Bundy. The problem with Hultzen is that a lot of his value stems from him being nearly major-league-ready right now, and the Pirates really shouldn’t care about that. They need upside, and Hultzen doesn’t seem to be the best candidate for that – he doesn’t throw particularly hard, and few experts think he’ll be an ace in the majors.
As I wrote earlier Friday, the Pirates shouldn’t be drafting a pitcher at all if they can avoid it. But for a team with a farm system that has plenty of depth but lacks top-tier talent, Hultzen would be an especially poor choice.
Fortunately, the Pirates haven’t given much information about who they’re taking, so all of this is speculation right now. We know Pirates general manager Neal Huntington scouted Hultzen, but that’s really about it. I obviously can’t blame the Pirates for doing their due diligence and scouting Hultzen. But actually taking him would be another matter.