Over at Bucs Dugout, I offer some muted praise for the Pirates' performance in the 2012 MLB Draft. Recent changes to baseball's Collective Bargaining Agreement have severely restricted the Pirates and their free-spending ways, and so the shape of this draft was quite different than in past drafts. Most of the talent the Bucs are likely to sign comes from the first five rounds, for example, as compared to the 2008-2011 drafts, where the Pirates typically signed three or four players from after the fifth round to considerable bonuses. And the fact that the Pirates picked eighth in a weak draft, rather than first or second in a stronger one, prevented them from getting a marquee prospect like Jameson Taillon or Gerrit Cole.
That said, it looks like they didn't do badly. First-round pick Mark Appel wasn't the best talent in the draft, but it's not for nothing that most mock drafts had him going first overall. Supplemental pick Barrett Barnes and fourth-rounder Brandon Thomas are both toolsy college outfielders with interesting combinations of power and speed. Second-rounder Wyatt Mathisen was perhaps the best high-school catching talent available. And third-round pick Jon Sandford and fifth-rounder Adrian Sampson should add more pitching depth to the system.
Anyway, head over to Bucs Dugout and check out the full article.