Pirates Notebook: Long wait until August 17th

The Pirates locked up their first round pick today, signing Tony Sanchez to what is being reported as a $2.475 M bonus by the PPG (which is the same amount that Daniel Moskos received two years ago). I updated the 2009 Draft Pick Signing Tracker (well, created it, actually) and put a few thoughts down earlier today on the signing.

We’re so used to seeing prospects creep through our minor league systems. Either they’re touted as fast movers and they struggle off the bat (Moskos, Pedro Alvarez), or they have injury problems (pick any first round pitcher), or any other variety of reasons. I do feel that Tony Sanchez could move through the system quickly, that is if he shows he can hit in the minors. His defense is said to be major league ready, which means he’s just got one aspect to work on in the minors.

He will be starting in West Virginia on June 25th, and I fully expect him to be in Lynchburg by the end of the year (I’ll be going to see him if he is), and maybe in AA starting next year. Of course this is all somewhat optimistic.

I think we can all agree that Sanchez wasn’t the top guy available to us, but it’s nice having him signed so quickly and in the system, especially after the drama we saw last year (which led to Alvarez not only missing the rest of the minor league season, but also missing Winter ball, and coming in to Spring Training out of shape). Now the question is: who will be the next guy to sign?

My thoughts? It’s going to be a long summer before we get the answer to that question.

Sure, we’ll see some guys sign, mostly the easy signings. According to this article, Zack Dodson is considering breaking his commitment to Baylor and signing. Zach Fuesser also looks like he wants to sign, but the issue there is mostly “will the Pirates want him?” (and I think that will depend on his performance in summer ball…the Braves drafted him last year in the 19th round but didn’t sign him after watching him in summer ball). (Thanks to srsquirrel for finding those links on the PMB)

When we’re focusing on the big signings, like “Baron” Von Rosenberg, Matt Den Dekker, and the other guys we’ll have to go over slot to get, I think we could be waiting a long time, possibly up to the August 17th deadline, like we did last year with guys like Robbie Grossman, Quinton Miller, and Wes Freeman.

Our day one picks (Brooks Pounders, Victor Black, and Evan Chambers) might be easy signings, as they were taken higher than expected, which means that the slot money for those picks will most likely be more than they were anticipating. So the next big signing we could see could be Miguel Angel Sano (assuming we sign him) on July 2nd. Speaking of Sano…

The Hanley Pujols Sweepstakes

We’re now starting to see a few teams with increased interest in Miguel Angel Sano. Baltimore worked him out, but they are reportedly not that interested (which is good, as they also went the “signability” route in the draft, and have money to spend).

The Yankees are working Sano out in their Dominican Facility, and the Twins are reportedly one of the top suitors, along with the Pirates.

Jorge Arangure Jr. of ESPN reports that the Pirates may not offer $4 M, and their offer may not even reach $3 M. I’m just going to say this now: I’m taking any contract talk with a grain of salt. The Pirates have the inside track in this race. They are considered by many (not just Pittsburgh media) to be one of few top suitors. Therefore, it makes no sense for them to drive the price up on Sano by saying things like “we’re fine offering him $4 M”.

Any quote or rumor about money in the media is either one of two things: mis-guided, or something that leaked from the front office, and I think they’re going to be very careful about what leaks on this topic, to the point that anything which does come out will only come out to benefit them.

After going the signability route in the draft, and with the small amount of money saved on the Nate McLouth trade, I think the Sano signing is a must. He’s better than any guy we drafted (including Sanchez). I’m just not going to worry about what we read over the next few weeks. I’ll see what happens on signing day (which will save me the hundreds of “oh no, another team is looking at him” panic attacks).

The MVP Tracker

The MVP Tracker is updated through the 6/11 win. Here are the big impacts from tonight’s game.

1. Andy LaRoche: -.326 WPA
2. Brandon Moss: -.146
3. Nyjer Morgan: -.129
4. Andrew McCutchen: -.096
5. John Grabow: -.088

Prospect Tracker

The Prospect Tracker is updated.

-Pedro Alvarez went 1 for 4 with a walk and two runs scored.
-Gorkys Hernandez went 0 for 3 with a walk, lowering his average to .100 since the trade.
-Brad Lincoln went five innings, allowing three runs on nine hits, with three strikeouts, one walk, and a homer.

Other Stuff

-The Pirates signed minor league pitcher Tyler Herron, who was recently released by the St. Louis Cardinals. Herron was taken by the Cardinals in the first round of the 2005 draft, 45th overall. He is only 22 years old, so there’s a chance he could still do something with his career.

Herron had a 4.37 ERA in nine starts at AA this year, with a 37:22 K/BB ratio and two homers in 45.2 innings pitched. Herron was rated the Cardinals 23rd best prospect this year by Baseball America. That’s a fall from last year when he was rated their ninth best prospect. He went to the same high school as Sean Burnett and Bobby Bradley.

Baseball America says that Herron shows control of three average to plus pitches. He throws a sinking fastball at 89-91 MPH, and has a good changeup for his second pitch. His curve is a good strikeout pitch, but he lets both off-speed pitches get too high in the zone. He seems like the type of pitcher the Pirates like, with a 49.7% ground ball ratio this year, and a 48.2% ground ball ratio in his minor league career so far.

-Quick note on the Pens. There’s certain things I just love about sports. Some things you couldn’t write better if you tried. Last year the Penguins give up the farm to trade for Marian Hossa, only to fall short by losing to the Red Wings in the Stanley Cup Finals. Hossa spurns the Penguins’ multi-year offer for a one year deal with Detroit, citing his reason as “Detroit giving him the best chance to win a cup”.

Of course the Penguins and Red Wings meet up again in the finals, and this time the Penguins win. I guess it’s hard for Marian Hossa to win a Stanley Cup when he’s always playing on a team that has Marian Hossa on the roster, choking in key situations.

Anyways, great job to the Pens tonight. Amazing season, especially with the massive turnaround, the great trades to acquire Guerin and
Kunitz, coming back in the Washington series, and then finally beating Detroit.

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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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