2010 Draft Recap: Changing a Franchise

Taillon

The 2010 draft has concluded with the draft signing deadline passing at midnight last night.  Back when the Pittsburgh Pirates first drafted Allie, I wrote that this could be a draft that could change a franchise.  In that article, I wrote the following:

The Pirates need to step up with the extra money to not only sign these two top pitching prospects, but to also sign a good amount of guys in the middle rounds, and maybe a few guys in the later rounds.  If that happens, the Pirates could very well see this draft change the future of the franchise.

The Pirates didn’t sign as many middle round picks as they could have, but they came away as big winners, signing top prep pitchers Jameson Taillon and Stetson Allie to huge over-slot deals, adding two high-end talents to their farm system, and giving their future a huge boost.

Allie was the first to sign, with the official word coming out around 8:00 PM last night.  Allie received $2,250,000, which was $1,566,000 over slot for the 52nd overall pick.  There were reports that Allie turned down $2 M from teams in the first round of the draft, and wanted $3 M on draft day.  That allowed Baseball America’s number eight prospect in the draft to fall to the Pirates.  Allie can hit triple digits with his fastball, although his control is better when his velocity is lower.  Some view him as a potential closer, although the Pirates have said they are confident in his ability to be developed as a starter.

Taillon was announced as signed later in the evening, and became official close to the deadline.  He received a $6.5 M bonus, which set a few records, including the highest bonus ever paid by the Pittsburgh Pirates.  Taillon immediately takes over the number one spot on the Pirates’ top prospects list, and could very well be their ace of the future.  Taillon has been said to have the stuff to advance through the farm system quickly, like a college pitcher, and the Pirates are believers as well.  Taillon and Allie will start their careers in the Fall Instructional Leagues.  My guess is that Taillon starts the 2011 season in Extended Spring Training, then goes to West Virginia for the remainder of the season.  An optimistic approach has him up in the majors by June 2013.

The Pirates didn’t stop with Taillon and Allie.  They also officially signed 15th round pick Drew Maggi with a $468,000 bonus, and made the Jared Lakind signing official, with the 23rd rounder receiving $400,000.  Maggi and Lakind give the Pirates two promising position players.  Maggi was a draft eligible sophomore out of Arizona State, and is a good all-around shortstop.  Lakind is a two-way prep player who was drafted as a first baseman, although he is also a left handed pitcher.  His raw power, plus the depth of pitching in the lower minors, will likely keep him at first base.

The Pirates did miss out on a few of their top picks.  We learned earlier in the week that seventh round pick Austin Kubitza had decided to go to Rice, rather than sign with the Pirates.  Yesterday we found out that sixth round pick Jason Hursh had made the decision to go to Oklahoma State, while tenth round pick Zach Weiss picked UCLA over the Pirates.  Dale Carey was also considering the Pirates recent push to sign him, but will be going to Miami after not signing with the Pirates.

Overall the Pirates signed 27 players, and spent $11,269,900 on announced bonuses.  The Pirates spent just under $12 M total in the draft, which means the later round players with unannounced bonuses received no more than $630,000 combined.  According to the MLB Draft Pick Signings Tracker, the Pirates ranked first in the majors in spending, based on announced bonuses.  They might end up second behind the Washington Nationals, but it would be close either way.

RECORDS FOR TAILLON AND ALLIE

Not only did Jameson Taillon set the record for the biggest bonus ever given out by the Pirates, but by my records he also set the record for the biggest bonus ever given to a prep player in MLB draft history.  Taillon received a $6.5 M bonus, which topped the $6.25 M bonus that first overall pick Bryce Harper received.  Harper received a major league deal, so his total guaranteed money was higher than Taillon, at $9.9 M.  Donovan Tate received a $6.25 M bonus last year as the third overall pick.

On the pitching side, Taillon’s bonus was a record for prep pitchers, topping Jacob turner’s $4.7 M in 2009.  Rick Porcello holds the record for the biggest contract signed by a prep pitcher, at $7,285,000, although he only received a $3,580,000 bonus.  The same goes for Josh Beckett, who received a $7 M major league contract, with a $3.5 M bonus.

Taillon’s bonus was only the second biggest bonus in MLB history for pitchers of any level, falling behind the $7.5 M that Stephen Strasburg received last year.  Strasburg received a major league deal, which raised the total amount of his contract up to $15.1 M.  Other notables were Mark Prior in 2001, who received a $10.5 M major league deal, but only a $4 M bonus, and David Price, who signed for an $8.5 M major league contract, with a $5.6 M bonus in 2007 as the first overall pick.

Taillon’s $6.5 M bonus is also the second biggest bonus in draft history, behind Strasburg, although many other players have received bigger valued contracts.

Stetson Allie set a Pirates record for the biggest bonus given to any player picked after the eighth overall selection.  Allie’s bonus ties for eighth in the Pirates history.  The top ten list now looks like:

1. Jameson Taillon: $6,500,000
2. Pedro Alvarez: $6,000,000*
3. Bryan Bullington: $4,000,000
4. Brad Lincoln: $2,750,000
5. Tony Sanchez: $2,500,000
6. Daniel Moskos: $2,475,000
7. John Van Benschoten: $2,300,000
8t. Bobby Bradley and Stetson Allie: $2,250,000
10. Paul Maholm: $2,200,000

*Alvarez received a major league deal that was worth $6.355 M.

THE RISK OF SELECTING PREP PITCHERS

The Pirates made the process of selecting prep pitchers and signing them to over-slot deals look easy in 2009.  Pittsburgh drafted Zach Von Rosenberg, Zack Dodson, Trent Stevenson, and Colton Cain in the middle rounds, and signed all of them to over-slot deals, getting them away from their college commitments.  They went with the same approach this year, but ran in to trouble and only signed one of the five prep pitchers taken between rounds four and ten.

If you were wondering why more teams don’t take the approach the Pirates took, this is why.  The Pirates did get their top two guys, and some other guys throughout the draft, but they missed on some top talent.  Hursh, Kubitza, and Weiss were all rated in Baseball America’s top 200 prospects.  From the sound of things, it doesn’t seem like there was much the Pirates could have done, thus the risk.  It does raise a question as to which approach to take: play it safe with fewer tough signs, or go with the approach the Pirates had, with backup plans like Hafner, Lakind, and Maggi later in the draft.

I don’t expect the Pirates to abandon this approach next year, as the 2011 draft could be the last opportunity to use this approach before MLB potentially adds a hard slotting system to the draft in 2012.  If that’s the case, they will hope to have the 2009 results, but at the same time, they run a risk of repeating this year’s results.  Perhaps the best approach would be more of a 2008 approach: some over-slot guys, mixed in with some easier signings.

SUMMARY OF THE DRAFT PICKS SIGNED

Here is a quick analysis of each player the Pirates signed from the 2010 draft class.  To keep it short and simple, I’m going Twitter-style: no more than 140 characters.

1. Jameson Taillon - Top prospect in the Pirates system. Could be the ace of the future rotation, as soon as June 2013. Will likely be a top 20 prospect in 2011.

2. Stetson Allie - Amazing talent. Can touch 100 MPH. Needs to work on control and command. Will be tried as a SP, but could be a closer. Also a great hitter.

3. Mel Rojas, Jr. - Potential five tool CF. Switch hitter with good bat speed and strength. Needs to improve contact. Biggest question is power potential.

4. Nick Kingham - Big framed pitcher with a 90-93 MPH fastball and good life on the pitch. Profiles as a middle of the rotation, potential 200 innings pitcher.

5. Tyler Waldron - A college junior coming off a disappointing year with a plus 89-94 MPH fastball, and a plus slider. Will probably be best as a reliever.

9. Brandon Cumpton - Has a 89-93 MPH fastball, which hits 95-96 in relief. Struggles to throw his fastball and curve for strikes. Might be best as a reliever.

11. Dan Grovatt - A solid hitter with average power and a plus arm from the outfield. Injury history is a concern. He might not be more than a 4th outfielder.

12. Vincent Payne - A Juco pitcher who worked mostly out of relief last year. Has a 6′ 4″, 175 lb frame, which could give him some projection.

14. Bryce Weidman - JuCo pitcher who throws a 90 MPH fastball and tightened his breaking ball this year. 6′ 4″, 230 lbs. Needs to work on a consistent delivery.

15. Drew Maggi - Good all-around player who can handle the shortstop position. Top of the order hitter. Could move to CF as a pro. Similar to Chase d’Arnaud.

16. Matt Curry - Excellent hitter with some power potential. A college senior, so his strong start in State College should be taken with a grain of salt.

17. Ryan Hafner - Has a big 6′ 6″, 205 lb frame, and throws 87-90 MPH with little effort. Needs to work on his breaking ball. Could be a nice project.

20. Justin Bencsko - College senior who will likely be organizational depth in the minors. Has shown the ability to steal bases and hit for average.

22. Adalberto Santos - A college senior who hits for average. Off to a good start in State College, which is a low level for him. Likely organizational depth.

23. Jared Lakind - LHP/1B who will likely remain at 1B. Has raw power as a hitter.  Throws in the low 90s as a pitcher. Could provide Pirates with options.

24. Justin Howard - College senior first baseman. Great hitter, but not a lot of power. Limited on defense. Needs to hit extremely well to be a prospect.

25. Casey Sadler - JuCo pitcher who uses a mixture of four pitches with an 88-93 MPH fastball. 6′ 4″, 200 lb frame. Has problems with the long ball.

27. Kevin Kleis - JuCo pitcher with a huge 6′ 8″, 225 lb frame. Hasn’t pitched a lot of innings in his career. Struggled with control in JuCo as a reliever.

30. Matthew Skirving - Had a down year in 2010, but a strong year in 2009 with 16 HRs in 201 AB. Likely will be catching depth unless he can return to 2009 hitting.

31. Jason Townsend - Touches 94 MPH with his fastball, but needs work on his control. Will likely be organizational bullpen depth.

32. Chase Lyles - Will likely be organizational middle infield depth in the lower minors.

33. Justin Ennis - Will likely be organizational bullpen depth in the lower minors.

34. Kelson Brown - Will likely be organizational middle infield depth in the lower minors.

36. Cliff Archibald - 6′ 1″, 190 pounds, and throws 87 MPH. Not a lot of opportunity to add velocity, but being used as a starter. Could be a lower level project.

39. Kevin Decker - Should pitch out of the rotation in the lower levels, and move to the bullpen in the upper levels. Upside of a middle reliever.

41. Bryton Trepagnier - A prep pitcher with a tall, projectable, 6′ 5″, 180 lb frame. Throws 91 MPH. Could be a very interesting prep pitcher to watch.

49. Logan Pevny - 6′ 3″, 190 lbs, with an upper 80s fastball. Broke his college commitment when his coach was dismissed. Another interesting prep pitcher to watch.

MORE PIRATES PROSPECTS ANALYSIS

More Pirates Prospects analysis of the draft can be found here

LINKS FROM PITTSBURGH MEDIA

-Chuck Finder, PPG

-Jennifer Langosch

-Rocco DeMaro

LINKS FROM AROUND THE BLOGOSPHERE

-Bucs Dugout: Pirates Spend Tons of Money on Draft After Signing Jameson Taillon, Stetson Allie

-WHYGAVS: Jameson Taillon, Stetson Allie, and why they matter

-Raise the Jolly Roger: Pirates sign Jameson Taillon AND Stetson Allie

-Rumbunter: Taillon and Allie Give Pittsburgh Pirates the Dead Man’s Hand

-Pittsburgh Lumber Co: Pirates sign Taillon, Allie

-North Side Notch: Taillon and Allie signings stories

-Hyzdu Headquarters: Big Day

Tim Williams

Author: 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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  • duckwoes

    How is it that the Pirates had the 8th overall pick in the ’79 draft?

    • JohnDreker

      To answer both questions, back before 1986, there was more than one draft. There was a June draft, June secondary, January draft and January secondary, so really teams could have four 1st round picks(or more as compensation) in one year. Bielecki was taken in the June secondary draft, where the Pirates picked 8th overall.

  • http://twitter.com/jlease717 John Lease

    I thought the Pirates didn’t have a first rounder that year (1979) for signing Lee Lacy as a Free Agent.

  • duckwoes

    Ahh yes, forgot about phase mania in those years of the draft. Thanks