If there’s one thing the new CBA got right, it’s the process of signing draft picks. There are no more games, and no more delays. Teams can sign any player at any time for any amount of money, with no delays from MLB holding back over-slot deals, and no games by players and advisers waiting until the deadline.
The result is that the Pirates have 30 picks signed about two weeks after the MLB draft, including everyone in the top ten rounds, and all but one player in the top 22 rounds. The important thing here is that they have signed the guys in the top ten rounds, which puts their bonus pool in better focus.
The downside to the new CBA is that teams can’t just spend whatever they want. They’re limited to spending up to their bonus pool. They can exceed that by 5%, although they would pay a tax on the overage. Anything above 5% leads to the loss of a draft pick.
After signing everyone from their top ten rounds, the Pirates have $131,300 remaining in their bonus pool. If they went over the pool by 5%, they’d have $484,485 remaining.
Any player outside of the top ten rounds can sign for up to $100,000 without it counting toward the bonus pool. Anything over that $100,000 counts toward the pool. This means the Pirates could sign one individual player for $584,485. Or they could sign two players for about $342,242 each. Or you could keep dividing that $484,485 figure up, and adding an extra $100,000 for each player.
The Pirates have three key over-slot candidates remaining outside of the tenth round. Gage Hinsz, taken in the 11th round, is the top guy. He’s a projectable right-hander who wanted second round money, and was almost picked by the Pirates in the second round. According to this article, Hinsz turned down their bonus offer at pick number 64. They selected Mitch Keller, who signed for an above-slot bonus of $1 M.
Hinsz probably isn’t getting second round money at this point. The Pirates would have to give up a lot of future draft picks for that to happen. The most he could get would be third round money, receiving the full amount the Pirates have remaining without giving up a pick.
The other two players who could be signable are 23rd round pick Zach Warren and 24th round pick Denis Karas. Warren is a projectable left-hander. He’s currently dealing with issues involving his commitment to Tulane, which might end up helping the Pirates in their attempts to sign him. I haven’t heard much news on Karas, but he’s a promising third base prospect who has some power potential.
If the Pirates could get one of these guys, you’d want it to be Hinsz. If they could sign two, that would be a huge boost for this draft class, even if the two players are Warren and Karas. I wouldn’t be surprised if the final signings take a few weeks, as the Pirates wait for the remaining prep players to make their decisions.
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