7/21/22 – By Corey R. Shrader @CoreyShrader on Twitter
“How poor are they that they have not patience!” – William Shakespeare (‘Othello’ (1602-4) act 2, sc. 3, l. 
I have spent some time trying to gather as much information as is available on the Pirates 2022 draftees. There is a significant amount of virtual ink spilled on the Bucs top pick, Termarr Johnson. That one is easy. To a lesser extent, information is readily available on several other early picks. And that is great for baseball fans!
We live in a time with an incredible amount of (mostly) freely available information on
everything, including sports. Even in this information age, it is virtually impossible to find the necessary information for the layperson to really get the necessary data to analyze MLB
draftees. Of the 20 players the Pirates selected in the 2022 draft, I’d say that at least 50% of them are virtual unknowns to anyone not plugged in to scouting, etc. and calling it 50% might even be generous. Overreaction is easy and it cuts both ways.
Now it comes time for me to fess up. I, myself have violated exactly what I profess to be be
in opposition to. My initial overreaction to this draft class was a mix of revulsion and confusion, ‘revfusion’, if you will.
But I have taken a step back and realized that just because the team did not snag players that I personally wanted (pick 44 – we will get to you later), does not mean this draft is “bad.” Judging the MLB draft in real time is a fool’s errand. Folks, I am here to tell you The Main Ingredient was right. Everybody plays the fool, sometime.
I took a little heat on Twitter from some of you for criticizing the first day’s picks. I’m still not over the moon but here is Day One:
4 – Termarr Johnson, SS, Mays HS (GA)
36 – Thomas Harrington, RHP, Campbell University
44 – Hunter Barco, LHP, University of Florida
I drew the internet ire of some with my concerns over Termarr Johnson. I want to say it clearly here; he is a very good prospect and I like him. However, given what was available, he was not my preference for this scenario. He boasts the most advanced hit tool among the prep prospects, elite bat speed, a very advanced understanding of the strike zone (he will whiff some, but is rarely fooled twice), and an ability to use positive launch angles to get to power in a game that is unexpected. His limitations however come from some belief that he may not have a clear home on the defensive spectrum. Listed as a shortstop, very few scouts that I have read or interacted with believe he can stick there. In fact, the consensus seems to be that his best case scenario is playing 2B at the major league level. I believe he could possibly have the athleticism to play the outfield. The concern is that he ends up being a super-utility player defensively. And in my opinion, this is the downside with the selection. There is an enormous amount of pressure on the power tool to emerge as 60, hit tool to develop (or maintain, depending on your take) a 70+ hit tool. Should that happen, I don’t much care where he plays, just hit big fella.
Thomas Harrington is a really fun selection, I think. An accomplished college arm with a great strikeout to walk ratio. Gets elite extension and has a low release that helps his fastball play up despite middling average FF velocity. Throws 3 secondaries, changeup, slider, curve. Changeup and slider are solid offerings. Curveball could use polish. This is a nice combination of performance and projection. If the organization can add velocity to the FF and develop the pitch usage/repertoire he has a shot to be very good.
Hunter Barco & pick 44. Barco is an interesting player. But this is the pick I did not like most. With two of my personal favorite remaining bats on the board in Jud Fabian, OF, University of Florida and Tyler Locklear, 1B, Virginia Commonwealth University, I saw the pick come in and my head dropped. This isn’t an indictment of Barco – he has a track record of being good at a high level – he basically shoved for his entire career against the SEC. Good strikeout to walk ratio, gets ground balls, deceptive delivery, interesting enough repertoire. He is a fine pick too and I am excited for his Pirates career. But the two bats in particular that I mentioned were 1st round talents, in my opinion.
83 – Jack Brannigan, RHP/3B, Notre Dame
110 – Michael Kennedy, LHP, Troy HS (NY)
140 – Tres Gonzalez, OF, Georgia Tech
170 – Derek Diamond, RHP, Ole Miss
200 – J.P. Massey, RHP, Minnesota
230 – Cy Nielson, LHP, BYU
260 – Mike Walsh, RHP, Yale
290 – Tanner Tredaway, OF, Oklahoma
Day Three –
320 – Dominic Perachi, LHP, Salve Regina University
350 – K.C. Hunt, RHP, Mississippi State
380 – Miguel Fulencio, LHP, Cowley County CC (KS)
410 – Julian Bosnic, LHP, South Carolina
440 – Josiah Sightler, LHP, South Carolina
470 – Nick Cimillo, C, Rutgers
500 – Jaycob Deese, RHP, Houston
530 – Elijah Birdsong, RHP, Pacific
560 – Yoel Tejeda, RHP/1B, North Broward Prep HS (FL)
590 – Joshua Loeschorn, RHP, LIU
First and foremost; I cannot possibly talk about all of these players in depth enough to be
beneficial for you, the reader. I wanted to list them all, however, to recognize them and
congratulate them on getting to realize their dream of being drafted to be a Major League ballplayer & give them their flowers for this achievement. I hope Pirates fans will all get to
know their games and about them as people as they grow within the organization.
This is where I am going to ask you to indulge me on the title of this piece for a moment; an exercise in patience and trust.
As I alluded to in the introduction, most of these players are unknown to us folks that do not have access to data or are not actively scouting in person or via video. There are tidbits here and there on many of them, sure. Take Dominic Perachi for instance. He was the Division III Pitcher of the Year. He is an excellent case in point for patience and trust. The best pitcher across the entire country at an entire division of college baseball. This is very pliable clay to be molded by a professional team. And I think that is what this 2022 draft is for the Pirates. It is a lump of clay.
I would bet dollars to donuts that many of these players were taken due to something specific that the organization sees or thinks that they can maximize. Take J.P. Massey, he added a curveball that flashed really nasty results just this year. Throw that lump of clay on the wheel and hey, it could start to look like a vase. Dominic Perachi – DIII PTOY, no offense to Salve Regina U – but maybe a professional baseball organization’s Research & Development team can get him to places Salve Regina simply could not? Nick Cimillo, he played terrific baseball for Rutgers to the tune of a Big 10 batting title.
The biggest question going forward with this class; just how skilled are the hands working the clay & the running the pottery wheel? I have spoken with some people that are simply much sharper baseball minds than myself and they have many positive things to say with regards to Pittsburgh’s R&D departments, specifically on the pitching side. Eventually we need to see these results filter up, and I think we see some glimmers now in Roansy, Keller & Brubaker, but we need to see it from A- to the MLB level more regularly.
This class is FAR different from the class of 2021. That class positively oozed ceiling and it was a lot of fun! 2022 looks a lot less “fun” at first glance. In fact, I would still give it an updated knee-jerk reaction of a C+. But it is very much a lump of clay. Will it stay that way, slightly misshapen and formless, or will we have some ornate vases to show for it in a few years?
All we can really do in these moments as fans, is have patience and trust.