Pittsburgh Pirates GM Neal Huntington Talks State of Club, 2013 MLB Draft


Pittsburgh Pirates GM Neal Huntington was on the phone line with Greg Brown.

Greg Brown started with this question:

Is it time to panic with this offense?

“If we took poll before the season, a lot of people would have signed up for 12 over .500. We still think the offense has the ability to score the runs it needs to.” Neal Huntington

What went into thinking of moving Josh Harrison down and Alex Presley up?

Clint and I looked through what was coming up. Clint wanted right handed bat against Detroit. First four Harrison would be most useful. As he looked forward to the Reds and Braves, he thought Presley would be the best. We are doing the best to put ourselves in position to win.

James McDonald? What was difference between last two rehab starts for JMac?

“Intensity and Focus. (James McDonald) got his teeth kicked in by a Double-A club and it woke him up.” Neal Huntington

Charlie looked to add a cutter. At times there were flashes and we may revisit that in the future. Instead of compteting and getting outs, Charlie was trying to use all of his pitches.

Get him back to mastering what he does well. Stop tinkering. There is a time when it is about competing and being effective. Getting outs.

We have until the middle of June with Morton. A couple of more starts. We want to see how Charlie responds to the direction he was given.

Pedro Alvarez contract discussions regarding the Trib story by Rob Biertempfel. Greg used the Boras quotes as talking points.

For me it’s a non story. Scott didn’t pick up the phone and call Rob.   There isn’t an agent in their right mind that doesn’t want to make their player wealthy, ridiculously wealthy…. For me, non story. If there is a situation where even we think there is a remote chance, we will certainly engage it.

We don’t have a ton of third base depth. Looking around the industry, Scott is right there isn’t a lot of depth at the position.

Brown asked about depth at third base in the system.

The first three years was all about talent acquisition. We wanted to stay true to the board. If you players relatively equal, you could factor that in. You don’t take 67th best player when the 22nd best player is on the board because you need a position filled.

Greg asked about his pet, Alex Presley.

We try to get Alex to play to his strengths. Gap to gap. Bunt more. Above average speed. He has the ability to drive a ball gap-to-gap. Understand what pitches he can do damage with and lay off pitchers pitches.

Draft discussion:

Opportunity cost of not getting Mark Appel was discussed. We think we can add a couple future ML players. Other guys that add value, through trades, or add depth to future club.

Who knows if Appel is there. Teams didn’t have Appel ranked as the best player. Who knows. Lot of rumblings that Houston is going to do what they did a year ago. Also a lot of conversation about them taking him and spending a lot of money.

We are walking through a number of scenarios. If someone drops, we will be prepared.

Appel still has the ability to not make that happen (Bucs taking him.) That will be out of our hands. (Doesn’t he have to let you know that Neal?)We have engaged in conversations (with Appel and Boras presumably) and we will see how it plays out.

Brown asked if there is less pressure.

Huntington said no. These are our lifebloods. It’s a crucial way to acquire talent. In our minds, no the intensity is still the same.

When asked about specific players, Huntington refused to comment.

(A very wise move we think with the Bucs picking two players before 15 players are taken.)


Stetson Allie is doing what Clint wants our major leaguers to do.  A big man with a short power stroke.  The strikeouts are higher than you’d like them to be.  There is bat speed, power, authority to the opposite field.  A lot to like about a young player.

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