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Yep, the Pirates know how to waste draft picks

The Pittsburgh Pirates and the baseball draft are almost an annual joke.

Starting with the failed picks of the 1990s through Tuesday, the Pirates made money the deciding factor over athletic ability for many of their picks.

There have been a couple exceptions, Andrew McCutchen being one, and Pedro Alvarez last year being the other.

But more often than not, the Bucs went with budget, and it cost them.

There are two ways to build a franchise these days: buying players or drafting players.

Obviously, the Pirates aren't in position to buy players like the Yankees or Red Sox. The only recourse they have is to draft good ones, like the Tampa Bay Rays have done.

Boston College catcher Tony Sanchez doesn't qualify as a fourth overall pick, however. ESPN and Baseball America had Alvarez rated as end-of-the-first-round talent. As an aside, you can see how Keith Law of ESPN.com rates the Bucs.

The Pirates disagreed.

At least that's what general manager Neal Huntington said.

The Pirates had Sanchez rated as the third best player in the draft.

Although, Sanchez already has said he won't be demanding much, like Alvarez last year.

Huntington later said money saved on Sanchez will be used on other players in the draft. That, to me, sounds like economics being the deciding factor.

With their second-round pick, the Pirates took high school pitcher Brooks Pounders. On the surface, it sounds like an upside choice. If you look at the scouting report, Pounders' fastball is in the 89-90 mph range. If I'm choosing a high school pitcher, he's going to be a flame thrower.

When I first heard about the Nate McLouth deal, I thought money the Pirates would save could be used in the MLB draft. They could go sign pitcher Aaron Crow, who profiles as a top-line starter.

Instead, they grabbed Sanchez, who could be a major league backup.

That's the Pirates' way.

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