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Florida catcher Gushue goes in fourth round to Pirates

Florida catcher Gushue goes in fourth round to Pirates

Switch-hitting catcher Taylor Gushue was the Pirates' pick in the fourth round of the First-Year Player Draft on Friday.

Gushue is a unique prospect, with three years of experience at the University of Florida, even though he does not turn 21 until December.

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The Draft concludes on Saturday, with exclusive coverage of Rounds 11-40 beginning on MLB.com at 1 p.m. ET.

Gushue was not eligible for the Draft out of high school because he graduated from Calvary Christian Academy (Fla.) a semester early and immediately enrolled at Florida.

He is an athletic catcher, and compensates for an arm rated as only average with an extremely quick release.

Early collegiate enrollment apparently did not intimidate Gushue: He homered on the very first pitch he saw as a collegian, from Dylan Floro in an early February 2012 game against Cal State Fullerton. That was something Gator fans had not seen since 2008, when Chris Freshcorn did it against Campbell.

That launched a career that has seen him hit .273 with 16 homers and 103 RBIs in 173 games. While those totals may appear modest, Gushue rose fast this season, batting .320 with 49 RBIs in 62 games.

Gushue has learned well the futility of hindsight in the everyday world of baseball.

"As a baseball player," he once noted, "you don't really want to dwell on the past too much; you want to learn from it."

The only rap against Gushue's offense is his tendency to fall into trying to pull everything, at which times he becomes easier to pitch to. However, those lapses tend to be brief; he is regarded as a solid contact hitter, having fanned about once per every six collegiate plate appearances.

Tom Singer is a reporter for MLB.com and writes an MLBlog Change for a Nickel. He can also be found on Twitter @Tom_Singer. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.

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