Pirates Notebook: Cardinals and Astros go nuts signing picks

Often there’s a certain group of Pittsburgh Pirates fans who remind me of Randy Quaid’s character in Major League II (I think I’ve seen Pat at WHYGAVS refer to them as the Tin Foil crowd). I realize that there’s a lot to complain about in 16, going on 17 losing seasons, but it gets to the point where the complaining becomes ridiculous. I’m not talking about this type of complaining…

No, the complaining I’m talking about is the minor stuff that hardly matters. The St. Louis Cardinals and Houston Astros recently signed a TON of their draft picks. The Astros signed 22 picks, while the Cardinals have signed 35 picks. Pretty much every forum I checked had similar complaints: the Cardinals and Astros are beating us in the race to sign our draft picks.

It’s as if we’re so bored with losing that we look for new, interesting ways to lose to other teams, just to find something new to complain about. So I decided to look in to the drafts of the Cardinals and Astros, just to see who they actually signed.

St. Louis Cardinals

Number of Picks Signed: 35
Number of Top 5 Round Picks: 3
Number of Top 10 Round Picks: 4
Number of Top 20 Round Picks: 13
Number of College Seniors: 13
Number of College Juniors: 12
Number of JuCo Players: 7
Number of Prep Players: 3
Number of Players in the BA Top 200: 3

Houston Astros

Number of Picks Signed: 22
Number of Top 5 Round Picks: 4
Number of Top 10 Round Picks: 5
Number of Top 20 Round Picks: 12
Number of College Seniors: 8
Number of College Juniors: 7
Number of JuCo Players: 3
Number of Prep Players: 4
Number of Players in the BA Top 200: 1

I’m not going to discount what the Astros and Cardinals have done here, as it’s a good thing to get your picks signed, but it’s clear that they went the route of “signability”. The Astros GM even came out and said that all of the players signed at around slot.

The Pirates do have some signable picks, and from the looks of things it seems like a few of those guys will be signing over the next few weeks. That being said, the bulk of the draft for the Pirates was focused on drafting guys who were considered hard signs. Many of those players were high school players who have committed to colleges, where they can raise their draft stocks over the next three years.

Due to the fact that the Pirates loaded up on high school players, I don’t feel it is necessary to sign our picks that quickly. Most of these high school players are 18 years old. They are years away from the majors, which means that two months isn’t going to have a huge impact on their careers.

There’s a big difference between Zach Von Rosenberg signing early, and Tony Sanchez signing early. Two months in A ball this year for Tony Sanchez could put him in AA next season. Von Rosenberg would likely go to Extended Spring Training, and wouldn’t see AA for a few seasons.

Overall, the signing process will be long and drawn out. I expect many players to go to the August 17th deadline. Due to the fact that the bulk of our top picks were high school players, I’m going to go out on a limb and say that we’re not damaging their careers by waiting on them for two months.

Now if the bulk of our guys were college players, like the Cardinals and Astros, I’d be singing a different tune about getting these guys signed early.

Speaking of Signings

I pointed this out yesterday, but it became official today. The Pirates signed their second round pick, Brooks Pounders, for about $900 K, which is close to the slot price for that selection. The Draft Pick Signing Tracker is updated with the bonus figures.

Also, I recommend checking out Wilbur Miller’s draft pick capsules. Information on every pick. Some of which I’ve posted here, although his format looks a lot cleaner.

The MVP Tracker

The MVP Tracker is updated through the 6/17 victory. Here are the big changes for the 6/18 loss:

1. Jason Jaramillo: -.146 WPA
2. Nyjer Morgan: -.134
3. Eric Hinske: -.061
4. Adam LaRoche: -.056
5. Zach Duke: -.044

Prospect Watch

Updates to The Prospect Tracker:

-Brad Lincoln dropped to 1-5 on the season, although he had a decent outing. Lincoln went 5.1 innings, with 4 hits, 2 runs, 2 walks, and 2 strikeouts.

-Altoona played a double header. Gorkys Hernandez went a combined 3 for 5 with a walk. Jose Tabata went 1 for 5 with a walk and a steal.

-Bryan Morris got his second win for Lynchburg, going 5 innings, allowing two runs on three hits, with four walks and three strikeouts.

-Pedro Alvarez went 2 for 3 with a run, a walk, and a strikeout.

-Robbie Grossman had a monster night, going 5 for 6 with two runs, five RBIs, and his 21st steal of the season. Grossman had three singles, a double and a triple. I have said bring him up to Lynchburg. That’s mostly a selfish request so I can see him. However, I agree with yesterday’s comment about his strikeout rate being too high. I think he’ll be in Lynchburg by the end of the season though.

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Tim Williams

Tim is the owner and editor in chief of Pirates Prospects. He started the site in January 2009, and turned it into his full time job during the 2011 season. Prior to starting Pirates Prospects, Tim worked with AccuScore.com, providing MLB, NHL, and NFL coverage to various national media outlets, including ESPN Insider, USA Today, Yahoo Sports, and the Wall Street Journal. He also writes the annual Prospect Guide, which is sold through the site. Tim lives in Bradenton, where he provides live coverage all year of Spring Training, mini camp, instructs, the Bradenton Marauders, and the GCL Pirates.

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