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12/02/09 10:00 AM ET

Money spent on, earned by '09 class

Stockpiled Bucs system has several promising prospects

With the 2009 season and Arizona Fall League (where several 2009 draftees got their first taste of pro ball) in the books, we take a look at the early results of each club's '09 First-Year Player Draft class: how their top picks did; late-round picks that fared well; which picks are likely to move up the ladder quickest; and which picks clubs were unable to sign.

While the Pirates made considerable headlines during the 2009 season with all the trades at the big league level they made, the change in philosophy with the new management continued to be most evident in Draft strategy.

In 2008, it was taking the best player available in the first round in Pedro Alvarez, getting him signed while also aggressively pursuing talent later in that Draft. In total, the team spent $10 million that year.

NL East

AL East

NL Central

AL Central

NL West

AL West

This year, they went "safe" with their top pick, though he happened to be the second-best college position player according to most. That allowed them extra funds to bring in an exciting group of high-end high school pitchers, the likes of which the organization hasn't seen in recent memory. That should help 2010 be one of the most intersting seasons to follow the Bucs' farm system.

Top five picks

The Pirates received a supplemental first-round pick as compensation for not signing 2008 second-round pick Tanner Scheppers.

1. Tony Sanchez, C: Some may have thought the Boston College product was a bit of a reach at No. 4 overall, but Sanchez signed quickly and got to play at three levels in a whirlwind summer. Though he was clearly out of gas by the end, he did hit a combined .309/.409/.539 in 48 total games. He threw out 33 percent of would-be basestealers as well.

1a. Victor Black, RHP: The Dallas Baptist product moved up Draft charts last spring and ended up going No. 49 overall. He's got some serious arm strength and he showed it during his debut with State College in the NY-Penn League. Black had a 3.45 ERA in 31 1/3 IP and held hitters to a .213 batting average while striking out 33. He was more effective as a starter (19 2/3 IP, 14 H, 21 K, .182 BAA, 2.29 ERA) than in his six relief outings and the Pirates intend to develop him in a starting role.

2. Brooks Pounders, RHP: The first of several interesting high school arms taken by the Pirates in June, the big right-hander went to the Gulf Coast League and got 23 2/3 innings under his belt, allowing 19 hits and 11 walks while striking out 20. Hitters finished with a .218 average against him and he had a 3.04 ERA. Unlike some of the other prepsters, Pounders might be more advanced in terms of repertoire and command.

3. Evan Chambers, OF: A strong, stocky outfielder with tools, Chambers went from junior college to State College and picked up 200 at-bats. Playing center field and hitting near the top of the lineup every day for the Spikes, Chambers hit .245/.393/.380 over his 58 games. He also went 6-for-6 in stolen-base attempts. After struggling at the start of his debut, he came on strong with a .303/.442/.438 August.

4. Zack Dodson, LHP: Dodson likely would have gone higher in the Draft, but a supposed seven-figure bonus demand allowed him to slide until the fourth round. The Pirates gave him second-round money ($600,000) to keep him from going to Baylor. He signed late and got in just one inning in the GCL before heading to instructs, so he'll make his "real" Pirates debut in 2010.

Best of the Rest

Based just on talent, the Pirates signed several high-end high school pitchers later in the Draft. Zack Von Rosenberg in the sixth and Colton Cain in the seventh each got seven-figure deals and seventh-rounder Trent Stevenson also got an above-slot deal. ... 2B/SS Brock Holt (ninth round) was a NY-Penn League All-Star and hit .299/.361/.449 while going a perfect 9-for-9 in stolen-base attempts for State College. After a rough year at Stanford, partially because of injury, Jeff Inman slid to the 12th round and could end up being a steal even with the third-round money he received.

Fast Risers

With his all-around ability, both with the bat and behind the plate, most feel Sanchez will be catching in Pittsburgh sooner rather than later. College lefties often are thought of as fast trackers. Perhaps Mississippi's Nathan Baker (5th round) will fit the mold. Holt, the ninth-rounder out of Rice University, is the kind of college utility/middle infielder type who could jump levels quickly.


The Pirates signed their first 14 picks, including several that required over-slot deals to get done. Their first unsigned selection came in round 14, RHP Marcos Reyna. Pittsburgh had 51 selections, signing 23 of them. While they were able to bring in some high-ceiling talent with bigger bonuses, they weren't able to entice 16th rounder Matt den Dekker to leave the University of Florida. High schoolers like Jordan Cooper (17th round), Joshua Urban (19th) and Kyle Hooper (28th) chose college over the Pirates.

Jonathan Mayo is a reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.