A quick roundup of the Pirates’ moves today:
-P- The Pirates picked shortstop Josh Rodriguez of the Indians in the Rule 5 draft. Pirates general manager Neal Huntington worked for the Indians when they acquired him, so this pick isn’t a big shock.
This doesn’t appear to be a high-upside pick, since Rodriguez will turn 26 in a few days, but it’s good, in the sense that the Pirates can use middle infielders who can hit a little bit. Rodriguez took a long time getting through the high minors, but he had a nice season this year, hitting .293 AVG /.372 OBP /.486 SLG at Class AAA Columbus.
Just for kicks, I went to Brian Bixler’s stats page to see how he and Rodriguez compared, because Bixler is another infielder who took his time getting through the minors but ended up doing pretty well in Class AAA. Rodriguez, fortunately, hit better than Bixler this year, and doesn’t have Bixler’s issues with the strike zone, which are what kept Bixler from topping out in Class AAA.
I don’t see any obvious reason why Rodriguez couldn’t stick – perhaps not as a starter right away, but he can play bits of second and third along with shortstop this year and probably get by just fine with the bat.
-P- The Royals picked Class A+ Bradenton starting pitcher Nathan Adcock, which is unfortunate. I thought the Pirates would be able to sneak Adcock through the draft because his stuff isn’t that great, but I wasn’t sure they needed to risk losing him, either. Here’s hoping they get him back quickly.
-P- In the minor-league portion of the draft, the Pirates picked outfielder Brad Chalk from the Padres and catcher Travis Scott from the Angels. Chalk was a second-round pick for the Padres a few years back, but he hasn’t hit much since turning pro. Scott has spent the last several years at High Desert putting up superficially nice-looking numbers, but that means exactly nothing given how easy it is to hit there. Neither of these guys are really worth worrying about.
The Pirates also received starting pitcher Cesar Valdez from the Diamondbacks to complete the Zach Duke trade. Valdez, 25, doesn’t have great stuff and struggled a bit last year at Class AAA Reno. He’ll produce plenty of ground balls, but he should be very hittable, and doesn’t have much upside. Maybe the Pirates see some future for him if they can make him a reliever