Big Lead Sports Bar

6/05/2008

VOTE FOR PEDRO

PEDRO ALVAREZ

3B - VANDERBILT

6'2", 225 LBS

BATS LEFT - THROWS RIGHT

Well, no one can complain like we did last year, because this time the Pirates did take the best available player, Vanderbilt 3B Pedro Alvarez, in the MLB draft. Alvarez is what the Pirates have previously shied away from in the first round: a left-handed bat with huge power potential for PNC Park.

For the second year in a row, we had the privilege of watching the draft live on ESPN, and you could feel the excitement teeming from the partisan Tampa crowd, long known for their rabid fan base. From the moment Bud Selig locked his eyes on the teleprompter without looking into the camera, it was intriguing television. Luckily, I only had to sit through one pick this year before the Pirates were up on the clock.

The Buccos were represented at the draft by former pitcher/current broadcaster Steve Blass and former skipper Chuck Tanner, who were more than happy to take some R&R time in Florida on a Thursday afternoon.

But the Alvarez pick has some intrigue. It's finally a sign that the Pirates are taking some steps in what appears to be the right direction, drafting a Scott Boras client instead of a 3rd starter or a reliever with their coveted, high-1st-round draft choice.

Boras now gets to negotiate with the team who employs the very same man (Frank Coonelly) who instituted the draft-slotting system that Boras loathes so. Early reports indicate that Boras will be looking for a signing bonus of at least $7 million and perhaps a Major League contract. MLB.com puts those numbers in perspective by reminding us that last year's #2, Kansas City's Mike Moustakas, got a $4 million bonus. Ahh, the fun of a Scott Boras negotation. We're on the way to the big leagues, Pirate fans.

But back to Alvarez, who by all means the real deal...although he missed 23 of his team's first 24 games this season with a broken bone in his right hand suffered in the opener, he ended up playing in Vanderbilt's final 40 games, hitting .317 with 15 doubles, nine homers and 30 RBI. In his freshman and sophomore seasons, he hit a combined .357 with 40 home runs and 132 RBI. Those are some numbers I could live with.

Alvarez was a 2005 14th-round pick of Boston, who offered him $1 million to skip school. So in addition to being a good player, he turned his back on the Red Sox. I like this guy better and better.

For as many shots as we all take at the Pirates, it's time to pat them on the back when they do the right thing. And from most perspectives, this looks like the right thing. Although much of this season has played out like the previous 15, right down to the last-place standing that we see today, hats off to the Pirates on a good pick. Now sign the guy!

Required Reading:

Bucs make third baseman top pick [MLB.com]

Official Vanderbilt profile

Pedro Alvarez Wikipedia Page

7 comments:

HotDog_Zanzabar said...

For the first 8 months, I have to say that I am pleased with the decisions made by this administration. While it would have been very easy to come here and trade everyone away this past winter, Neal-o's patience is going to net the Bucs a much nicer haul at the trade deadline. Add in the fact that the little moves he's made have more than worked out too.

Cecil from Cecil Twp. said...

Poor Pedro Alvarez. His career is already over.

Welcome to the Buccos.

PGH Sports Guy said...

What? You're telling me Jose Bautista's not the answer at third base?

talkinproud said...

They're wasting their time. I still say they should talk Joe Randa out of retirement.

ManBearPig said...

Hey, I've been as critical of the Buccos as anyone, but I agree with Hotdog, the new guys have made nothing but good moves so far. In fact, they've done so well that they've made McClatchy and his crowd look that much worse than I even thought they were.

Those guys not only couldn't evaluate baseball talent, they couldn't even hire competent scouts, managers, pitching or batting coaches. In short, the same incompetency that ruined so many drafts was carried over (naturally) into every other aspect of baseball. And why not? If a person's not smart at algebra, do you think he'll excell in physics? Doubtful. Those guys just had no baseball aptitude. Period.

While I haven't been a fan of Pirates ownership for many, many years, the hirings of their new president and g.m. may go down as their most astute business move since they last won the pennant in 1979 (only 29 years ago).

I know, I know, it's still early. All I'm saying is that they've already strung together more good moves than I can remember taking place in a long time.

ManBearPig said...

Bucco Koolaid anyone?

Cecil from Cecil Twp. said...

As I've stated on these boards since this site launched, I will not root for the Buccos again until they claim the all-time record for most consecutive losing seasons by an MLB team.

They tie the 1933-1948 Philadelphia A's this year at 16; next year they own it.

C'mon, Buccos. You've come too far to be deinied.