Draft Day Two Preview: Any Reason to Create Extra Slot Money?
Today is day two of the 2013 MLB draft. Day two consists of rounds three through ten. Last year the Pirates went with the best available players through the fifth round of the draft, then turned to signability picks in the 6-10 rounds to create money for Mark Appel. They ended up using that money on 16th-18th round picks Max Moroff, Hayden Hurst, and John Kuchno.
This year there isn’t any reason to create slot space…yet. Austin Meadows, Reese McGuire, and Blake Taylor should all sign for no more than slot. So at the moment there is no reason to create slot space. The Pirates can just take guys like Moroff/Hurst/Kuchno in the 6-10 rounds, rather than using them as backup plans in the later rounds. But could there be a scenario where the Pirates would need to create slot space? First, let’s look at our updated Top 100 Tiered Rankings.
The Updated Rankings
Otherwise known as the “These Are Options if the Pirates Want To Go Signability” Tier
Otherwise known as the “The Pirates Don’t Pick Again Until 51st” Tier
Connor Jones, Kyle Serrano
Otherwise known as the “Hopefully They Fall to the Second Round” Tier
Ryan Boldt, Jake Brentz, Andrew Mitchell, Chris Okey, Cord Sandberg, Bobby Wahl
Otherwise known as the “Good Options For the Second Round, Great Options For the Third Round” Tier
Cavan Biggio, Kent Emanuel, Jared King, Trey Masek, Tyler O’Neill, Tyler Skulina, Rowdy Tellez, Garrett Williams
Otherwise known as the “We Just Rounded off the Rest of the List to 100 Prospects” Tier
Aaron Brown, Zack Collins, Wil Crowe, Dustin Driver, Chandler Eden, Scott Frazier, Garrett Hampson, Jacoby Jones, Dace Kime, Dom Nunez, Michael O’Neill, A.J. Puk, Carlos Salazar, Jordan Sheffield, Myles Smith, Stuart Turner, A.J. Vanegas, Stephen Wrenn
The Pirates won’t need to go over-slot with any of their current picks. However, they could go over-slot with one of the remaining picks. Guys like Jon Denney, Kyle Serrano, Connor Jones, and even some of the guys in tier 6 could require over-slot money.
Jones went the Josh Bell route by telling scouting directors not to draft him, and you can no longer throw $5 M at those types of players. Serrano has a commitment to Tennessee, where his dad is the coach, so it would be hard to see him passing up school if he doesn’t get a big bonus.
Denney seems like the most likely to sign if the got the right type of deal. The prep catcher was ranked 25th overall by Baseball America. He has good right-handed power, and could have the offense to play first if he can’t catch. That’s not an issue for now, although the Pirates definitely don’t have a catching need after taking Reese McGuire in the first round. Denney is the best available player, and they could take him solely for the bat, and move him off the position down the line if needed.
Denney would have to go past 13 teams to reach the Pirates, so it seems unlikely that he’d fall to them. That’s especially true when any other team could do what the Pirates could do to get Denney, and would have more money to work with since they pick higher.
Normal Slot Scenarios
There are still some talented players in this range, especially the college pitchers. Bobby Wahl is one of my favorites still on the board. He was rated 36th overall by Baseball America, and throws his fastball 90-94, touching 97. He also shows a plus slider and an average changeup. He’s had some blister problems which lowered his velocity and might have lowered his stock due to poor performances.
Andrew Mitchell throws 90-94 MPH and touches 98 out of the bullpen. Baseball America says he has the best curveball among college prospects this year, with a sharp low-80s pitch. He lacks a changeup, and struggles with command. That almost sounds like Vic Black when he was drafted.
Tyler Skulina is another hard thrower, who sits 91-96 MPH with his fastball and has a low-to-mid 80s slider. He improved his command in the last year and smoothed his delivery out. He’s also 6′ 6″, 225 pounds, which sounds like he’s already a member of the Pirates farm system.
Then there’s the former Pirates picks. Dace Kime (2010 8th round), Kent Emanuel (2010 19th round), and Aaron Brown (2011 17th round) are all Baseball America top 100 prospects, and all projected to go in the next two rounds.
On the hitting side, Rowdy Tellez not only has an awesome name, but is the best left handed power bat in the draft class. He’s a first baseman who hits for power, but also could hit for average and doesn’t swing and miss. That could be a good value pick in the third round, and would go great with the duo of prep hitters taken on day one.
There’s a chance that the Pirates could land two of the players on the above list, regardless of whether they go with potential over-slot guys, or stick with guys who would take no more than the slot price.
How to Follow
I will be live tweeting the draft (@timwilliamsP2), which starts at 1 PM. John Dreker (@JohnDreker) will also be tweeting, so give him a follow. Wilbur Miller will be uploading player pages, and we’ll be posting articles to the site with analysis on each pick. The Draft Pick Signing Tracker will be updated after each pick, and can be used to keep track of the slot price for each round. You can follow the site on Facebook to get updates when we post a new article. At the end of the day we will have a Day Two recap, breaking down all of the picks the Pirates made in rounds 3-10.