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Pirates stick with strategy on Day 2 of Draft

The most obvious pattern of the Pirates' first full day at the 2012 First-Year Player Draft was that ... there wasn't a pattern to their 14 picks.

Obviously sticking to general manager Neal Huntington's oft-cited mantra of taking "the best player on the board" when their turns came, resulted in numerous eyebrow-raising selections. The Bucs, for instance, took a high-school right-hander considerably higher than his pre-Draft ranking and another pitcher three years removed from Tommy John surgery.

Otherwise, an identifiable M.O.? Forget it: The Bucs plucked eight collegians, two others from the junior college ranks and four high school players; four right-handers and two southpaws; of the eight position players they selected, three are shortstops and two catchers.

"We feel we've added another 14 quality names, added depth and variety," said Huntington after the 15th and final round for the day. "We feel very good about each guy. Some will present bigger challenges to get them to sign than others, but we like our chances with all of them."

Of the several draftees who have already signed collegiate letters of intent, the most difficult to sway could be Wyatt Mathisen, a Texas catcher who has committed to the University of Texas, and right-hander Walker Buehler, a potential high choice who fell to the Pirates in round No. 14 because of his commitment to Vanderbilt.

The Pirates' Day 2 Draft picks in order 2nd-15th rounds:

Wyatt Mathisen, C, Calallen (Corpus Christi, TX) High School:
A .433 hitter with 13 homers and 40 RBIs as a senior, many feel Mathisen could've gone as high as the first round had he spent more time behind the plate and less at short. That is how highly his catching tools are regarded.

With Mathisen's commitment to the Longhorns, the Pirates are trying to continue a pattern here: Josh Bell, Colton Cain and Robbie Grossman are other Texas recruits they have recently drafted and talked into signing.

Jonathan Sandfort, RHP, Winter Springs (FL) High School:
The 6-foot-5, 220-pounder averages only in the high 80s with his fastball, but has been able to hit 94 mph and is still developing. His 72 Ks in 68 2/3 innings as a senior aren't overwhelming for the preps, but the 0.92 ERA is noteworthy. Taking him at No. 103 indicates the Bucs rated him considerably higher than others; he was No. 255 on Baseball America's prospects list.

Brandon Thomas, OF, Georgia Tech:
A 6-foot-3, 205-pound switch-hitter, Thomas is a good top-of-the-order guy. He batted .360 this season with an OPS of 1.031. His on-base percentage was inflated to .481 by 37 walks -- but had only five homers. Great character guy.

Adrian Sampson, RHP, Bellevue (WA) CC:
A born-again pitching star. Sampson was a highly-recruited prep ace, but the calls stopped when he had Tommy John surgery at 17 and couldn't even pitch as a senior. He did well enough as a junior college freshman last year to get drafted in the 16th round by Florida, and the decision to stay in school (11-0 record, 1.36 ERA and 107 punchouts in 79 1/3 innings) obviously paid off in a major jump up the board.

Eric Wood, 3B, Blinn (Brenham, TX) College:
A freshman from Ontario, Canada, the 6-foot-2, 195-pound 19-year-old batted .321 but averaged about an error every three games. Great batting-practice power, hasn't yet translated into games.

Jacob Stallings, C, North Carolina:
He's a 22-year-old senior, which always raises question marks, but has filled out to 6-foot-5, 222 pounds, making the superior defensive player an imposing presence behind the plate. He batted .294 for the Tar Heels, also seeing action at first base.

Kevin Ross, SS, Niles West (Skokie, IL) High School:
The 6-foot-1, 200-pound gamer likely would have gone a lot higher had he not accepted a full-ride scholarship from Michigan a year ago. Many teams took that as indication he is committed to going to college and is not signable. The Bucs likely project him as a third baseman.

Douglas Crumlich, SS, UC Irvine:
The Bucs are making a second straight run at Cremlich, whom they drafted in last year's 38th round but did not sign. At 6-foot, 190 pounds, the 22-year-old collegian is a very light hitter but also very disciplined, regularly walking more often than striking out.

Pat Ludwig, RHP, Yale:
Accomplished ballplayers from the Ivy League are uncommon, but the Bucs had some success with Princeton's Russ Ohlendorf and went for this 6-1, 185-pound senior. Ludwig's ball moves a lot, just not very fast; the club will start him out as a reliever.

Christopher Diaz, SS, North Carolina State:
A third shortstop pick out of the last four, Diaz led the Wolfpack with a .356 batting average while not missing a single game. The junior from Miami is a 5-foot-11 slasher.

Dalton Friend, LHP, Jefferson (Hillsboro, MO) College:
Now, really, how can the Pirates go wrong with a pitcher named "Friend?" This 6-foot-3, 235-pound sophomore is a southpaw who went 11-0 this season, with 68 strikeouts in 46 innings and a .222 opponents average. He has committed to Texas Tech.

Thomas Harlan, LHP, Fresno State:
The reedy (6-foot-6, 195 pounds) senior is the latest Bulldog lefty plucked by the Pirates (Justin Wilson 2008, Josh Poytress last year). Showed excellent control for a tall southpaw, with 85 strikeouts versus 16 walks in 106 2/3 innings.

Walker Buehler, RHP, Henry Clay (KY) High School:
The Bucs took a shot at a pitcher many considered a second- or third-rounder unless signing issues warded off teams. He has committed to Vanderbilt, and the Pirates will assuredly have to exceed his $100,000 slot cap to have any chance of getting his signature. Only 160 pounds over his 6-foot-2 frame, but can dial it up in to the mid-90s.

Jonathan Youngblood, CF, Meridian (MS) CC:
Speed and "D," lightweight bat, owning a slash line of .277/,379/.326 in school. But Pirates saw enough promise to bump him up from a 30th-round pick a year ago by Atlanta.

Pittsburgh Pirates