The MLB draft signing deadline is tomorrow at 5 PM EST. To see who the Pirates have already signed, check out the Draft Pick Signing Tracker. In previous years the draft pick signing deadline always had some sort of drama surrounding it. The question marks throughout the years:
2008: Will Pedro Alvarez sign?
2009: Will the Pirates sign any more prep pitchers?
2010: Will Jameson Taillon and Stetson Allie sign?
2011: Will Gerrit Cole and Josh Bell sign? (The double Boras drama!)
2012: Will Mark Appel sign?
Thanks to the new collective bargaining agreement, all of the drama has been taken out of the signing deadline this year. The Pirates have already signed their two first round picks, and both players have made their pro debuts. Out of the 28 players who have signed already, only six haven’t made their debut. Five of those are pitchers, and then there’s Erich Weiss, who recently signed. We’ve even seen someone retire already.
There’s no drama with the over-slot players either. In previous years Major League Baseball held back over-slot deals, which ended up costing the Pirates several prospects. One public case of this was 2010 8th round pick Dace Kime, who agreed to a $400,000 deal, then decided to go to Louisville after getting nervous about the waiting process. Kime was a third round pick this year by the Cleveland Indians.
This year the Pirates have already signed some of the more difficult over-slot players. 14th round pick Nick Buckner signed for $135,000, and 16th round pick Billy Roth signed for $190,000. The first $100,000 is exempt from the bonus pool, so only $125,000 counted as over-slot money. The Pirates also went over-slot on 8th round pick Neil Kozikowski ($425,000 vs $155,400 slot) and 5th round pick Trae Arbet ($425,000 vs $321,400).
So what is left? Are we waiting until 5 PM EST tomorrow to officially close the book on this draft? If that ends up being the case, the draft would be an exceptional haul of talent. Adding Austin Meadows and Reese McGuire in the first round was big, although Meadows makes up for losing a first round pick last year with Mark Appel. The middle rounds were filled with high upside guys, and the Pirates signed Buckner and Roth, who were both unexpected. If that’s what the Pirates end up with from this draft, that’s enough.
Currently the Pirates have $107,800 to spend on over-slot deals. We haven’t heard the official word on Erich Weiss’ bonus. The 11th round pick recently signed, and there was a report that he received $305,000. If that’s true, it would take the Pirates over their bonus pool, subjecting them to a 75% tax on the overage.
The Pirates currently have $543,145 to spend without losing a future draft pick. If they actually did go over-slot on Weiss, only $205,000 would count against the pool. That would put them $97,200 over the total bonus pool, and would force them to pay about another $75,000. If they are already over the pool, then it would make sense to try and spend the remaining $338,145. That would give them up to $448,145 to spend on one player.
So who could be options for the money? Here are the remaining prep and JuCo players in the later rounds.
Grant Tyndall, CF – Tyndall is an athletic prep outfielder who played football in high school. He hit for average in high school and had a ton of stolen bases, but didn’t show much power. Considering the Pirates have already signed Austin Meadows, JaCoby Jones, and Nick Buckner from this class, adding another prep outfielder wouldn’t be a priority.
Reagan Bazar, RHP – Bazar is a huge pitcher at 6′ 7″, 230 pounds and currently throws 90 MPH. He also throws a curve and a change. He’s your typical projectable prep pitcher.
Connor Goedert, 3B – He’s the brother of Pirates minor leaguer Jared Goedert, and the only JuCo player from the group. He’s athletic and had some good power numbers last year with Neosho County CC, hitting for a .326/.393/.591 line with 11 homers in 215 at-bats.
Bryan Baker, RHP – He’s probably the best of the group. He’s a 6′ 5″, 205 pound prep pitcher who touches 93 with his fastball and sits 90 at times. He needs work on his secondary stuff and his delivery, but the fact that he’s already hitting 93 is encouraging.
Since we don’t know whether the Pirates went over slot on Weiss, we don’t know if they would have that extra money available for an additional player. Last year they finished with around $90,000 remaining in their bonus pool. If Weiss signed for a normal amount, then I wouldn’t be surprised to see the Pirates stay under the pool total.
At this point, the Pirates have signed all of the top guys from the draft, plus the two top over-slot guys after round ten. Any of the above players would just be a bonus. If there’s one welcome change to the new draft rules, it’s that we can look at the signings the evening before the draft (or two weeks ago, even) and conclude that the draft looks like a big success based on everyone that has signed. That is something we couldn’t do in previous years, where we were waiting until the last minute each year to judge that year’s draft signings.
UPDATE FRIDAY 4:35 PM: Weiss was signed to a $305,000 deal, per Jim Callis.
— Jim Callis (@jimcallisMLB) July 12, 2013