Bucs draft Bama outfielder to begin Day 2
PITTSBURGH -- With their first three Draft picks Monday night, the Pirates stuck to their "best player available" philosophy, selecting three position players despite the pre-Draft speculation that they'd lean toward high school pitchers.
The Bucs' busy war room at Pirate City in Bradenton, Fla., got back to work on Tuesday afternoon with Day 2 of the Draft, which covers Rounds 3-10.
The Draft concludes on Wednesday, with exclusive coverage of Rounds 11-40 on MLB.com beginning at noon ET.
Round 3, 96th overall: OF Casey Hughston, University of Alabama
The Pirates picked up early Tuesday where they left off Monday night, selecting another college hitter in Hughston.
A lefty-swinging corner outfielder shot up Draft boards as he broke out in a big way for the Crimson Tide this season, hitting .332/.389/.502 with six home runs, 44 RBIs and 12 stolen bases in 60 games. A Draft-eligible sophomore who went unpicked out of high school, Hughston is listed at 6-foot-2 and 205 pounds.Complete 2015 Draft coverage
Hughston is regarded as a player with solid tools across the board with plus raw power to all fields and speed to go along with it. He mostly manned the infield in high school and played both corner-outfield spots for Alabama, but he has the speed to play center field if necessary.
Round 4, 127th overall: RHP Jacob Taylor, Pearl River (Miss.) CC
With their fifth pick, the Bucs finally snapped their position-player streak by snagging Taylor, MLBPipeline.com's 77th-ranked Draft prospect.Video: Draft Report: Jacob Taylor, College Pitcher
Taylor spent his first season at Pearl River Community College working primarily as an outfielder, but he emerged this spring as the best pitching prospect in the Alabama/Louisiana/Mississippi area. The 6-foot-3, 215-pound righty offers good athleticism and a sound delivery with a fastball that sits around 93 mph but can reach 97.
"Right now, he can throw up to 100 pitches and sit comfortably in the mid- to low-90s. I'd say on average he's around 92-95 [mph], and he'll flash some 96s and 97s at times," Pearl River associate baseball coach Kyle Lindsey recently told the Sun Herald newspaper in Mississippi. "He's still 19, so he's still young and has a lot of room to grow in that body. It's a fluid arm action and an effortless low-90s."
Taylor, who will turn 20 in July, also throws a slider and a developing changeup. Given his athleticism and frame, he's expected to remain a starter in the pro ranks, though he still needs to work on his command and control.
Round 5: LHP Brandon Waddell, Virginia
Waddell established himself on the college baseball landscape this time last year, when he threw a shutout in the College World Series. It was a strong finish to an outstanding year for the Cavaliers, as he went 10-3 with a 2.45 ERA and 73 strikeouts in 114 innings over 18 starts as a sophomore.Video: Draft Report: Brandon Waddell, College Pitcher
Virginia is back in the College World Series this year, but Waddell has lacked the same command he had in previous years. He entered the tournament 3-5 with a 4.15 ERA and 1.57 WHIP as his walk total more than doubled in 23 fewer innings than he threw a year ago.
Still, Waddell presents an intriguing profile for the Pirates as a pitchability college lefty with three pitches -- fastball, slider, changeup -- and a proven ability to succeed at a high level. The 6-foot-3, 180-pound left-hander was MLBPipeline.com's No. 163 overall Draft prospect.