PITTSBURGH -- The Pirates had a busy first day in the 2017 MLB Draft, making four selections in the first 72 picks Monday night. But there was no rest for general manager Neal Huntington, director of amateur scouting Joe DelliCarri and Pittsburgh's front office.The Bucs were looking to add more
PITTSBURGH -- The Pirates had a busy first day in the 2017 MLB Draft, making four selections in the first 72 picks Monday night. But there was no rest for general manager Neal Huntington, director of amateur scouting Joe DelliCarri and Pittsburgh's front office.
The Bucs were looking to add more talent to their system after going heavy on high school players Monday, when they chose right-handers Shane Baz (12th overall) and Steve Jennings (42nd overall) and outfielders Cal Mitchell (50th overall) and Conner Uselton (72nd overall). On Day 2 of the Draft, Rounds 3-10, the Pirates used seven of their eight picks on college players: two pitchers, two catchers, two outfielders and a third baseman.
The Draft concludes on Wednesday, with exclusive coverage of Rounds 11-40 beginning on MLB.com at noon ET.
:: 2017 MLB Draft coverage ::
A Fox 26 report out of Houston quoted Baz, a Texas Christian University commit, saying he agreed to a deal with the Pirates. Additionally, sixth-round pick Cody Bolton told The Record newspaper in Stockton, Calif., that he had negotiated a signing bonus. The club has not confirmed either report, and Huntington said Tuesday the Pirates were still working through the signing process.
Round 3, 88th overall: Dylan Busby, 3B, Florida State University
The Pirates made their first college selection in Busby, MLBPipeline.com's No. 185 Draft prospect. A three-year starter for the Seminoles who impressed in the Cape Cod League last summer, Busby led FSU with 14 homers last year and hit 14 more this season while slashing .315/.401/.596.
"Dylan has the ability to carry a team," FSU coach Mike Martin recently told FSUNews.com.
Busby had surgery for a sports hernia in the fall, which led to a slow start this spring. Undrafted out of high school, the 6-foot-3, 185-pound Busby could stick at third base due to his athleticism; he could also move to first base or play left field. Busby's most impressive tool is his power, however.
Busby's father, Wayne, was a 19th-round pick by the White Sox in 1988 and spent six seasons in the Minors, advancing as high as Double-A ball. The infielder's professional career ended in '93, two years before Busby was born.
The 88th pick comes with a slot value of $626,600.
Round 4, 118th overall: Jason Delay, C, Vanderbilt University
Drafted in the 11th round by the Giants in 2016, Delay went unsigned and returned to Vanderbilt for his senior season. He is considered a leader behind the plate and a defense-first catcher, with Vandy coach Tim Corbin saying he has "one of the best throwing arms that we have had here at that position." He has experience catching high-level pitching prospects for the Commodores, including right-hander Kyle Wright, the fifth overall pick in this year's Draft and Delay's roommate.
"We've thought of Jason Delay as a quality young man and catcher for years," DelliCarri said.
Delay is known more for his glove than his bat, but he possesses some power and offensive upside. The 5-foot-11, 185-pound economics major hit .309/.381/.444 in 59 games this season. According to his Vanderbilt bio page, Delay's favorite baseball player is Cardinals catcher Yadier Molina.
The slot value of the 118th overall pick is $450,500. As a college senior, Delay may wind up being an under-slot signing, freeing up some pool space for the Pirates to sign their four high school picks from Day 1.
Round 5, 148th overall: Deon Stafford, C, Saint Joseph's University
The Pirates selected their second straight college catcher in Stafford, whose pick comes with a slot value of $336,500. After a dominant sophomore season, Stafford's numbers dipped this year as he hit .288/.464/.521 with eight home runs in 42 games. Last spring, Stafford led the Atlantic 10 Conference in batting average (.395), on-base percentage (.486), slugging percentage (.702) and home runs (18) before heading off to play in the Cape Cod League.
The catcher from Harrisburg, Pa., told PennLive.com that the anticipation for the Draft was "overwhelming at times, especially during the season."
"I love playing the game, but this year it kind of took over my game," Stafford told PennLive. "Honestly, I'm just ready for it to be over. It's been a challenge for me, personally, because of how much I love baseball."
Round 6, 178th overall: Cody Bolton, RHP, Tracy (Calif.) HS
After picking three straight college hitters to begin Day 2, the Pirates returned to the prep pitching ranks and selected Bolton, a 6-foot-3, 185-pound righty from California. The 18-year-old, who turns 19 on Monday, throws a low-90s fastball and an above-average slider.
Bolton has been committed to the University of Michigan since October 2015 and the 178th overall pick is assigned a slot value of $255,900. That would seemingly make him a tough sign, but DelliCarri said the Pirates were "optimistic" they would "finish the play" and sign Bolton, as The Record's report indicated they will.
"We're excited to have the opportunity. He seemed excited," DelliCarri said. "We're hoping to get it done."
Round 7, 208th overall: Jared Oliva, CF, University of Arizona
Undrafted out of high school, Oliva came into his own as a redshirt junior this spring, batting .321/.385/.498 for the Wildcats while catching scouts' eyes with his speed and athleticism in the outfield and on the bases. Oliva was MLBPipeline.com's 138th-ranked Draft prospect. This pick was assigned a slot value of $200,000.
Standing 6-foot-3 and 187 pounds, the right-handed-hitting outfielder comes from a baseball family. His father, David, played in the Red Sox system from 1982-86, and his uncle, Steve, played in the Braves' organization from '74-78. Oliva has drawn some comparisons to outfielder Robert Stubbs. He might be a bit of a project, with some scouts reporting inconsistency in his outfield work, but the 21-year-old would become another intriguing outfield prospect in the lower levels of the Pirates' farm system.
Round 8, 238th overall: Blake Weiman, LHP, University of Kansas
The 6-foot-4, 208-pound Weiman became the first left-hander drafted by the Pirates this year. The slot value of his selection is $160,700. He pitched as a reliever for the Jayhawks this spring, striking out 55 batters with only five walks in 45 innings over 30 appearances while posting a 2.80 ERA.
Weiman primarily served as a starter for Kansas in 2016, going 2-7 with a 6.82 ERA. While his results improved dramatically when he moved to the bullpen for his junior season, it's unclear if the Pirates will introduce him as a starter or reliever.
"We're going to give him innings," DelliCarri said. "We always see where the young men are, first and foremost … to see how many innings we want to build them out to, how many innings they've thrown in the past."
Round 9, 268th overall: Bligh Madris, OF, Colorado Mesa University
Madris sat out most of 2016 with a broken finger, but he thrived for Division II Colorado Mesa University this spring, batting .422/.513/.757 with 17 home runs, 67 RBIs and 14 steals in 62 games. The 268th overall pick comes with a slot value of $142,700.
A redshirt sophomore listed at 6-foot-2 and 200 pounds, the lefty-swinging Madris was named the Rocky Mountain Athletic Conference Player of the Year as he led his team to the semifinals of the Division II NCAA National Championships. Further showcasing his athleticism and arm, Madris recorded a 2.16 ERA with six strikeouts in 8 1/3 innings over eight appearances out of the bullpen.
Round 10, 298th overall: Beau Sulser, RHP, Dartmouth College
The Pirates wrapped up Day 2 with another college selection, picking the senior right-hander Sulser out of Dartmouth. Sulser would seem likely to sign for less than the $134,200 slot value assigned to the 298th pick, perhaps freeing up pool space for the Bucs to use on the handful of high school players they drafted.
Listed at 6-foot-2 and 195 pounds, Sulser posted a 6-1 record and 1.40 ERA over seven starts. He struck out 52 and walked only five in 45 innings this spring while holding opponents to a .201 average. Last season, he served as a starter and reliever, with half of his 10 appearances coming out of the bullpen as he recorded a 2.82 ERA with 30 strikeouts and nine walks in 38 1/3 innings. He sat out all of 2015 following Tommy John surgery. His brother, Cole, also a former Dartmouth pitcher, is currently in the Indians' system.
Adam Berry has covered the Pirates for MLB.com since 2015. Follow him on Twitter and Facebook, read his blog and listen to his podcast.