Huntington Talks Taillon, Allie, Presley, Draft

Pirates GM Neal Huntington spoke to some reporters today, and Colin Dunlap of the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette has the audio up. Here's some highlights:

  • Huntington feels it's unfortunate that top prospects Jameson Taillon and Stetson Allie are often linked so closely because they're very different cases. Taillon has been pitching his whole life and therefore has a more accelerated schedule with his innings, whereas Allie was more of a position prospect until his emergence on the mound during his senior year of high school and will be handled more slowly.
  • Minor leaguer Alex Presley will continue to "make it a challenge" for the Pirates to keep him off the Major League roster if he continues playing at his current level. Huntington points out that it's a good problem to have when players are excelling at Triple-A but there isn't a Major League roster spot open. Presley is following up a .320/.373/.494 effort in 2010 with a .367/.413/.560 performance so far in 2011.
  • Huntington says he trusts his scouts will make an informed decision to draft the best player possible, but it's difficult without a consensus #1 like the Nationals had with Stephen Strasburg. Most expect the Pirates to draft either UCLA right-hander Gerrit Cole or Rice third baseman Anthony Rendon.
  • Ultimately, the decision will come down to scouting director Greg Smith, who has final veto power on the first overall pick. Huntington says he has "complete trust and faith" in Smith, but if the pick goes wrong, it will be his own fault, not Smith's.
  • 2011 would be a great year to be able to trade the #1 overall pick if Major League Baseball's rules allowed it, due to the depth of the draft. Huntington says it's a great year to be Tampa Bay, San Diego, or Toronto with all of their high picks.

Overall, the 12-minute clip offers some great insight into the Pirates' means of evaluating players and their approach to the draft. It's definitely worth a listen.

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