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From the ground up
August 17, 2008 - John Mehno
Pirates personnel were pretty happy on Saturday afternoon, less than 24 hours after No. 1 draft pick Pedro Alvarez signed.
Despite the presence of commando agent Scott Boras, it came down to this: Alvarez, who comes from modest means, wasn't going to pass up $6 million and wait until next year's draft. This is a player who has a chance to be in the major leagues within two years and a chance to have a steady seven-figure income within five years. Who is going to sit out and delay that for a year, with no guarantee that another team would be willing to spend more money in 2009? Alvarez made the smart move, took the check, and will now get his professional career underway.
It wasn't just Alvarez's signing that made the Pirates people smile. They think they got a bunch of good players to replenish a farm system that needs help. GM Neal Huntington will never admit it publically, but he was pretty well shocked at how little the Pirates had in the system.
One draft won't turn that around, but it's an important first step. Because some of the players drafted have college experience, you may be seeing some of them with the Curve as soon as next season.