With a bat in his hands, Arden Pabst did not overwhelm at Georgia Tech. His career batting average was .234, including .248 this season as a junior. He hit six home runs in 372 career at-bats.
Nevertheless, the Pittsburgh Pirates made him their 12th-round draft pick in the major league baseball draft, the second of four catchers they took in the draft. He expects to sign later this week. He declined to disclose the signing bonus. (Most draftees in the 12th round last year received signing bonuses between $100,000 and $150,000, according to Baseball America.)
“It’s such a great organization,” said Pabst, who was a co-captain this season. “I couldn’t be happier; I really couldn’t.”
Pabst’s appeal to the Pirates lay in what he did behind the plate, not at it. He was considered to be one of the best defensive catchers in the country. Among other things, Pabst had a career caught-stealing percentage of .441, including .478 this season.
“I think (area scout Tim Osborne) definitely liked that I can catch and I was a defense-first catcher, and that’s what I think about myself,” Pabst said. “Hopefully I’m going to work on that as hard as I can and hopefully the bat will catch up. In their organization, all of their catchers, they want to be defense-first guys, and I take pride in that. I think they like that.”
Pabst, from Sherman Oaks, Calif., had spoken with Osborne leading up to the draft, giving him some confidence that he would get taken and not return to Tech for his senior year.
“I was expecting the worst, kind of hoping for the best,” he said. “I didn’t want to get bummed out if I didn’t get picked up, which made it even better I was.”
Pabst said he’ll play either for the Pirates’ rookie league team (in Bristol, Va.) or the short-season A-ball team (in Morgantown, W.V.). He joins a farm system that was ranked 11th by Baseball America in February.
“I’m extremely excited,” he said.