Start celebrating Pirates fans. Pop the champagne, spray each other down, get crazy, your team has just locked up the No. 1 pick in the 2011 MLB Draft. On second though, scoring the worst record in baseball is a tad different than clinching a playoff spot, and given how cheap your franchise is, they aren’t going to spring for any bubbly…how about you tap a keg of PBR and pop open a few bottles of Malort and start er…celebrating.
The Pirates have officially secured the top spot, while the Seattle Mariners are closing in on No. 2, while the Baltimore Orioles have a one-game lead on the Arizona Diamondbacks for the No. 3 spot. Arizona, the Kansas City Royals and the Cleveland Indians are all within two games of each other for the No. 4 pick. So the last few days of the season should be exciting for fans of those franchises, right?
With next year’s draft shaping up to be the deepest in over a decade, those picks actually could mean big things to franchises looking to build something.
What the Pirates have accomplished is essentially winning the Anthony Rendon Sweepstakes. Rendon, a third baseman for Rice, is widely considered the top talent in the 2011 draft and is almost assured of being the No. 1 overall selection. He is a third baseman with a great, short swing, fantastic plate discipline and is a plus defender (some scouts say he has Gold Glove-caliber hands).
As a freshman, Rendon hit .388 with 20 home runs and won National Freshman of the Year honors. This past spring he hit .396 with 26 home runs. Those numbers are nice, but what really stands out is a walk-to-strikeout ratio of 65-to-22 and an on-base percentage of .530. The guy has such a fantastic eye for hitting that he claims he can see the seams on the baseball as it heads towards the plate.
So the Pirates, who grabbed third baseman Pedro Alvarez with the No. 2 overall pick in the 2008 MLB Draft, will likely have to find another place for Alvarez on the field. A move to first base could be in his future, since Rendon’s defensive abilities will push Alvarez elsewhere.
So yeah, go ahead Pirates fans, go crazy. You’re soon to be drafting a phenomenally talented player who will likely enter a protracted holdout, then demand far too much money and give you an ulcer waiting to see if he actually inks his deal by the deadline.
How’s that Malort tasting?