PITTSBURGH -- The Pirates had the No. 1 pick in the 2021 Draft, a spot which netted them a great Major Leaguer 10 years ago.
How have they fared with their first selection in past Drafts? Here is a list of the Pirates’ top pick in each year’s Draft (only Rule 4) since it began in 1965.
2021: Henry Davis, C, Louisville (No. 1)
The Louisville catcher became the fifth No. 1 overall pick by the club and the first since Gerrit Cole in 2011. Davis was a finalist for the Buster Posey Award as college baseball’s top catcher in Division I, he earned first-team All-American honors from Baseball America and the American Baseball Coaches Association this season and he was a semifinalist for the 2021 Golden Spikes Award. Davis recorded a .370/.482/.663 slash line with 15 homers and 10 stolen bases in his junior year.
2020: Nick Gonzales, SS, New Mexico State (No. 7)
Gonzales, a pure hitter, is at Low-A in his first pro season. He was a 2020 Golden Spikes Award contender before the college baseball season was de facto canceled during the COVID-19 pandemic.
2019: Quinn Priester, RHP, Cary-Grove HS (Ill.) (No. 18)
Priester is seen as one of the quickest-rising prospects by evaluators, though he’s only at the Low-A level for now.
2018: Travis Swaggerty, CF, South Alabama (No. 10)
Swaggerty reached Triple-A in 2021, but a season-ending shoulder surgery will table his eventual MLB debut.
2017: Shane Baz, RHP, Concordia Lutheran HS (Texas) (No. 12)
Baz was the player to be named in a trade with the Rays for Chris Archer, and he reached Double-A in their organization this season.
2016: Will Craig, 1B, Wake Forest (No. 22)
Craig has not gotten a consistent look at the Major League level, as he’s hovered at Triple-A for a couple of seasons.
2015: Kevin Newman, SS, Arizona (No. 19)
Newman has been Pittsburgh's primary shortstop from 2019-2021, and his defense has only gotten better as he’s grown in MLB experience.
2014: Cole Tucker, SS, Mountain Pointe HS (Ariz.) (No. 24)
Tucker has only gotten a brief taste of the Majors, as Newman and other young middle infielders have stuck at the level.
2013: Austin Meadows, LF, Grayson (Ga.) HS (No. 9)
Meadows, who was also part of the Archer deal with the Rays before he could prove himself in Pittsburgh, has been an everyday player for four seasons with Tampa Bay and was a 2019 All-Star.
2012: Mark Appel, RHP, Stanford (No. 8)
Appel did not sign with the Pirates, and he has never made it to the Majors, though he is trying to rekindle his career this season in the Phillies’ system.
2011: Gerrit Cole, RHP, UCLA (No. 1)
Cole was an ace in Pittsburgh with a 3.50 ERA in five seasons -- three of which led to postseason appearances. He's currently one of the most dominating pitchers in the game while anchoring the Yankees' rotation.
2010: Jameson Taillon, RHP, The Woodlands (Texas) HS (No. 2)
Taillon was dealt to the Yankees this year after recording a 3.67 ERA in four seasons with Pittsburgh -- a tenure which was limited due to two Tommy John surgeries.
2009: Tony Sanchez, C, Boston College (No. 4)
Sanchez played 52 games in the Majors, 51 of which came with the Pirates from 2013-15.
2008: Pedro Álvarez, 3B, Vanderbilt (No. 2)
Álvarez was an All-Star in 2013, when he hit a career-high 36 homers, and he spent six of his nine seasons in the Majors with the Pirates, posting a .750 OPS in Pittsburgh.
2007: Daniel Moskos, LHP, Clemson (No. 4)
Moskos saw action in only one MLB season, when he had a 2.96 ERA in 31 games as a reliever in 2011, though he spent nine seasons in the Minors and went on to play foreign and independent ball.
2006: Brad Lincoln, RHP, Houston (No. 4)
Lincoln spent three of his five years in MLB with the Pirates, with whom he posted a 4.62 ERA split between starting and relief work.
2005: Andrew McCutchen, LF, Fort Meade (Fla.) HS (No. 11)
McCutchen became the face of the franchise over nine seasons in Pittsburgh, leading the Pirates to the playoffs from 2013-15 while winning the NL MVP Award in 2013 and routinely earning All-Star Game spots.
2004: Neil Walker, 2B, Pine Richland HS (Pa.) (No. 11)
The hometown kid was drafted as a catcher, but converted into a second baseman and hit .272 with 93 homers over seven seasons with the Pirates before journeying across five more organizations.
2003: Paul Maholm, LHP, Mississippi State (No. 8)
Maholm was a reliable mid-rotation arm for the Pirates from 2005-11, recording a 4.36 ERA in 1,143 2/3 innings, before pitching with three more teams in his final three seasons.
2002: Bryan Bullington, RHP, Ball State (No. 1)
Bullington was a first-overall miss, as he recorded a 5.62 ERA across four organizations in five seasons.
2001: John Van Benschoten, RHP, Kent State (No. 8)
Van Benschoten pitched to a 9.20 ERA in 26 MLB games, all with the Pirates from 2004-08, around Tommy John surgery after a standout college career as a two-way player.
2000: Sean Burnett, LHP, Wellington Community HS (Fla.) (No. 19)
Burnett pitched three seasons with the Pirates before being dealt to the Nationals for Joel Hanrahan and Lastings Milledge in 2009.
1999: Bobby Bradley, RHP, Wellington Community HS (Fla.) (No. 8)
Bradley climbed the ladder to Triple-A in 2005, his final professional season, when he had a 13.14 ERA.
1998: Clint Johnston, LHP, Vanderbilt (No. 15)
Johnston spent eight seasons in the Minors, pitching at Double-A in one season, before going to independent ball for three years.
1997: J.J. Davis, RF, Baldwin Park (Calif.) HS (No. 8)
Davis hit .179 in four years in the Majors, three of which came with the Pirates.
1996: Kris Benson, RHP, Clemson (No. 1)
Benson finished fourth in NL Rookie of the Year Award voting in 1999, one of his five seasons with Pittsburgh and nine seasons in MLB.
1995: Chad Hermansen, CF, Green Valley HS (Nev.) (No. 10)
Hermansen recorded a .199 batting average in four seasons with the Pirates before short stints with the Dodgers, Cubs and Blue Jays.
1994: Mark Farris, IF, Angleton (Texas) HS (No. 11)
Farris reached Double-A in 1998, but he never exceeded that level.
1993: Charles Peterson, OF, Laurens District HS (S.C.) (No. 22)
Peterson spent four of his six Minor League seasons with the organization before spending most of his baseball career in independent and foregin leagues.
1992: Jason Kendall, C, Torrance (Calif.) HS (No. 23)
A fan favorite in Pittsburgh, Kendall spent nine of his 15 MLB seasons with the Pirates. He was a three-time All-Star with the club and placed third in NL Rookie of the Year Award voting in 1996.
1991: Jonathan Farrell, RHP, Florida Junior College (No. 24)
Farrell spent two seasons at Double-A, which would mark his highest rung in the organizational ladder.
1990: Kurt Miller, RHP, West HS (Calif.) (No. 5)
Miller spent parts of five seasons with the Marlins and Cubs after being dealt by Pittsburgh for Steve Buechele in 1991.
1989: Willie Greene, 3B, Jones County HS (Ga.) (No. 18)
Greene never played in Pittsburgh, as he was sent to Montreal for Zane Smith as a prospect, but he enjoyed a nine-year Major League tenure.
1988: Austin Manahan, 3B, Horizon HS (Ariz.) (No. 13)
Manahan grinded through eight seasons in the Minors without reaching MLB.
1987: Mark Merchant, OF, Oviedo (Fla.) HS (No. 2)
Merchant spent three of his 11 Minor League seasons at Triple-A, but he never reached the Majors after being taken one pick behind Ken Griffey Jr.
1986: Jeff King, 3B, Arkansas (No. 1)
King, who moved around the diamond a lot in Pittsburgh, hit .258 with 154 homers in eight seasons before he was dealt to the Royals in 1996.
1985: Barry Bonds, LF, Arizona State (No. 6)
A 22-year star in MLB, Bonds won two of his seven NL MVP Awards with the Pirates before going on to become one of the most feared hitters of all time with the Giants.
1984: Kevin Andersh, LHP, New Mexico (No. 15)
Andersh made it as far as Double-A during five seasons in the Minors.
1983: Ron DeLucchi, OF, Campolindo HS (Calif.) (No. 12)
He spent four seasons in the Minors, with none above Class A.
1982: Sam Khalifa, SS, Sahuaro HS (Ariz.) (No. 7)
Khalifa played three seasons in Pittsburgh, but he had trouble sticking due to a lack of offense (.578 OPS).
1981: Jim Winn, RHP, John Brown (No. 14)
Winn had a 4.47 ERA in four seasons in Pittsburgh before being traded to the White Sox in 1987.
1980: Rick Renteria, 2B, South Gate (Calif.) HS (No. 20)
Renteria, who went on to manage both MLB clubs in Chicago, played 10 games with the Pirates.
1979: Scott Fiepke, LHP, Elizabethtown (Ky.) HS (No. 42)
Fiepke reached Double-A in 1986, but that was as far as he’d go.
1978: Brad Garnett, 1B, DeSoto (Texas) HS (No. 19)
Garnett hit .210 in four Minor League seasons, never going beyond Class A.
1977: Anthony Nicely, Meadowdale HS (Ohio) (No. 18)
Nicely didn’t fare so well in the Minors, where he hit .240 while plateauing in Class A.
1976: Jim Parke, RHP, Henry Ford II HS (Mich.) (No. 21)
Parke never made it beyond Class A.
1975: Dale Berra, SS, Montclair (N.J.) HS (No. 20)
Berra, son of the legendary Yogi, played eight seasons with the Pirates, primarily as a utility infielder, before being shipped to the Yankees in 1984.
1974: Rod Scurry, LHP, Proctor Hug HS (Nev.) (No. 11)
Scurry recorded a 3.15 ERA in six seasons as a reliever for the Bucs before his contract was purchased by the Yankees in 1985.
1973: Steve Nicosia, C, North Miami Beach (Fla.) (No. 24)
Nicosia served as a backup catcher in Pittsburgh for six years, then was traded to the Giants in 1983 for Milt May, who returned to the Pirates after being on the 1971 World Series team.
1972: Dwayne Peltier, SS, Servite HS (Calif.) (No. 23)
Peltier reached Double-A in 1976, but never jumped above it.
1971: Craig Reynolds, SS, Regan HS (Texas) (No. 22)
Reynolds played 38 games with the Pirates before he was traded for Grant Jackson. The shortstop would go on to become a two-time All-Star with the Astros and play in 15 MLB seasons.
1970: John Bedard, RHP, Springfield (Mass.) Tech HS (No. 13)
Bedard played five seasons in the Minors without advancing beyond Class A.
1969: Bob May, RHP, Merritt Island (Fla.) HS (No. 10)
May never played a pro game.
1968: Dick Sharon, OF, Sequoia HS (Calif.) (No. 9)
Sharon, a three-year MLB veteran, was traded to the Tigers in 1972 for Jim Foor, who played three games with the Pirates, and Norm McRae, who played none.
1967: Joseph Grigas, OF, Coyle HS (Mass.) (No. 16)
Grigas spent four seasons in the Minors, never advancing past Class A.
1966: Richie Hebner, 3B, Norwood (Mass.) HS (No. 15)
Hebner, who was a key part of the Pirates’ 1971 World Series championship-winning squad, enjoyed an 18-year MLB career, with 11 seasons spent in Pittsburgh.
1965: Wayne Dickerson, Ensley HS (Ala.) (No. 10)
Dickerson never advanced above Class A ball in five years in the Minors.