It’s been nine years since the Pirates have had a selection as high as the No. 7 pick that they’ll have in this year’s abbreviated first-year player draft, set for June 10-11.
In 2011, the Pirates had the top pick in the entire draft, and surprised no one by taking UCLA right-hander Gerrit Cole. That year capped a run that saw the club pick no worse than fourth in a six-year stretch that started in 2006.
Dave Littlefield made his next-to-last pick as general manager that year – Brad Lincoln, a right-handed pitcher from Houston, was taken No. 4. In Littlefield’s final draft, the Pirates again went with a college pitcher – Daniel Moskos of Clemson – in the same No. 4 spot.
Lincoln starred for the Cougars, winning the Dick Howser Trophy emblematic of college baseball’s top player that season. But he ran into injury issues right off the bat, undergoing Tommy John surgery in April 2007, and he was never the pitcher many envisioned. Moskos also encountered arm problems, including an injury that required Tommy John surgery, but that wasn’t until he was long gone from the Pirates organization.
Neal Huntington replaced Littlefield at the end of the 2007 season, and…