On Wednesday, the Pirates began to lock down the future when the club announced it had signed the first five players from the 2014 draft class.
Those players included outfielder Michael Suchy, right-handed pitchers Tyler Eppler, Alex McRae and Eric Dorsch and infielder Tyler Filliben.
Suchy and Eppler were the highest picks signed as they went in the fifth and sixth rounds, respectively. Suchy, from Florida Gulf Coast University, hit .318 with 16 doubles, tour triples, and eight home runs. He also had a career-high 49 RBIs in 60 games as a junior this season.
Eppler was named a Second-Team All-Southland Conference as a junior at Sam Houston State University. The 6-foot-6 pitcher posted a 9-6 record and 3.20 ERA to go along with 67 strikeouts in 2014.
McRae, a product of Jacksonville University, was rated as the fourth-best prospect in the Atlantic Sun Conference by Baseball America at the start of the 2014 season. The 10th round pick went 5-7 with 69 strikeouts in 16 appearances as a junior.
Filliben hit .293 with eight doubles, eight home runs and 43 RBI as a junior at Samford University this year. He also ranked fourth in the Southern Conference with five triples and was third in the conference with 51 runs scored.
Joining Eppler in the height department is 15th round pick Eric Dorsch. The 6-foot-8 reliever from Kent State University went 2-4 with a 3.56 ERA and 10 saves in 27 relief appearances as a junior. He was selected by Cincinnati in the 21st round of the 2013 draft, but did not sign.