Organizational depth is a luxury and not one the Pirates have had at more than a handful of positions in recent years. Despite my warnings in a recent column to not overreact should the Bucs take Gonzales, almost immediately the masses took turns wondering where he fit, or who has to go to make him fit.
That’s half the fun on draft day, imagining the future, trying to picture the puzzle pieces all coming together. Here’s the thing though, we aren’t there yet, and deciding two former first rounders themselves aren’t part of the future is just too soon. Cole Tucker hasn’t himself even become a regular at this point and dismissing his pedigree and ability to contribute to the cause at this point is foolish.
Instead of getting sweaty that the Pirates didn’t need another middle infielder, think of it as adding talent, overall talent to the organization. The positions don’t matter so much at this point, its adding wealth.
In other words, there need be no rush to find alternate positions or trade partners for X number of players at this point. Organizationally speaking, Newman is not the SS of the future, arguably he should slide over to second base right now. Tucker could start at short pretty quickly and as a switch hitter, should he develop further, would be a nice part of the lineup. Adam Frazier is no slouch himself at second and still has years of control which the Pirates should be loathed to give away cheap.
O’neil Cruz is a freak at short stop, and while I do see them moving him to another position at some point, the kid can actually play the position. His arm is a cannon and accurate on top of that. Raw power off the charts and he could be a real standout in a position not typical for power hitters, despite the era of Story, ARod and Baez. His arm is too good to waste at first base, so get that out of your head too. Third base appeals to me for Cruz but there is that Hayes kid.
Peguero is probably the best pure fielder at the position in the system, and he too has a bat that profiles well to hold down the spot once he arrives. Add in Gonzales and the Bucs have nothing short of 5 or 6 solid options at middle infield.
We watched the Pirates in this very draft go after pitching, making each of their next 6 choices right-handed pitchers. Funny how nobody has constipation about some of those being blocked or having too many of them. Different position to be sure, barrier to entry alone sets pitching apart. Bottom line, when it comes to drafting talent there is nothing wrong with having “too many” of anything.
Any of the middle infielders that are deemed “extra” could very well be the Pirates future catcher waiting to be moved. Being capable of making moves like that comes directly from having the capital in the first place.