Pirates Agree With Cole Tucker For $1.8 M

According to Chris Cotillo, the Pittsburgh Pirates have agreed to a deal with first round pick Cole Tucker for $1.8 M.

The slot price for the 24th overall pick was $1,925,500. So the Pirates saved $125,500. That’s not a big amount, and if Mitch Keller is looking for seven figures, they’re going to have to save a bit more from their other picks.

Tucker should go to the GCL after he signs.

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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  • Jared

    Wouldn’t Connor Joe save almost 40% of slot value? He doesn’t seem to be an expensive sign. I’m, honestly, surprised Tucker got more than 1.6M

  • freddylang

    I thought he would be closer to 1.5-1.6 but oh well.

  • freddylang

    The 125K plus Keller’s slot equals just over 1 mil for what it’s worth.

    • Jared

      That sounds about right considering that Forbes and Adams (both higher rated prospects) each received, reportedly, $1.2M.

  • Ecbucs

    If you were conner Joe would you want to save the Bucs money? If Tucker signs for that close to slot if I was Joe I would want to be fairly close to slot too (maybe be nice and give them a discount of $150K. Maybe they did have a pre-draft agreement, we’ll see.

    • honus1

      If I were Conner Joe I would not have that much bargaining power

      • Ecbucs

        his bargaining power is the Bucs lose the money slotted for pick if he doesn’t sign. I can see a discount but don’t know if he would take 300 or 400k less.

        • PirateBall123

          But if he goes back to school and re-enters as a college senior he has about a 0% chance of being drafted and receiving fair value.

        • McCutchenistheTruth

          And the Pirates will just get a pick next year with basically the same slot value. The Pirates have significantly more bargaining power than Joe does. He could easily play poorly and drop several to dozens of rounds. Plus it’s very doubtful he would be drafted higher next year. Thinking back several draft classes, the only seniors drafted higher than Joe was this year (as a junior so people don’t think I’m mistaken) would be Mark Appel and James Ramsey.

    • PirateBall123

      I think Tucker had more negotiating power than Joe will. Per Law and McDaniel, f the Pirates didn’t take Tucker, he was going shortly after and still before Gatewood and Harrison. For him to take what they got is nice for the Bucs.

      Who knows where Joe goes if the Pirates don’t take him.

    • WTM

      I expect the Pirates already have a good idea what Joe will sign for. They should have asked him before the draft.

      • John Dreker

        Let’s hope it’s more of a savings than this. I was thinking 1.5mil tops for Tucker. This number shocks me. They could have had Harrison or Gatewood for that price. I don’t see any savings with the other two picks from day one and I doubt they will get much off on the first couple picks from day two, if at all. Luplow was rated higher than Joe by some people, so I can’t imagine he takes any sort of discount. Once you get past them, there isn’t much chance for savings because the slot prices are so low. Unless Joe takes 1mil or less, getting Hinsz signed, plus Keller/Supak, might be a pipe dream

        • Ecbucs

          I think the Bucs have a good idea too. But I don’t think it should be assumed that it is way under slot. Last year Blake Taylor got just over $1 million as pick 51and Jacoby Jones just over 600k. Slot is 1.457 for Joe. Hoping he signs in the next couple of days.

          • John Dreker

            Taylor got $750k

            • Jared

              And they profile as similar players with Taylor and Jones likely having more upside.

        • Jared

          I agree John. I was hoping/thinking 1.5-1.6 tops with maybe scholarship money added (which doesn’t count against the pool). Was hoping to save between 1M and 1.1M between top two picks. Looks like bucs not only reached for the players but overpaid for them as well. We shall see.

          • freddylang

            I wasn’t wishing for save a mil for the first two picks but was expecting at least half that…doesn’t look like they will even save 5-600K now.

        • SteveW

          Now that it’s been confirmed that Billy Beane was going to take Tucker with the next pick, I wonder if any opinions have changed. For all we know a dozen MLB teams had Tucker as the next pick on their board. What we do know for sure is that the MLB teams didn’t have Gatewood or Harrison ranked very highly – since one ended up as the 41st pick and the other as the 50th (meaning 24 teams passed on him after the Bucs took Tucker).

          • Jared

            Do you have the information about this “confirmation” about Billy Beane taking Tucker next?

            • PirateBall123

              Peter Gammons tweeted it out.

            • SteveW

              Yes. Peter Gammons reported it a couple hours ago.

              • Jared

                Sorry ya’ll never saw that tweet.

          • John Dreker

            A’s took Matt Chapman, which was a horrible pick. I would have been fine with Ti’Quan Forbes, Josh Morgan or Milton Ramos at #39 if they wanted a shortstop that bad. You need to go upside with that top pick and they passed on a lot of players that were highly rated. I know people always say you have to trust the team over the so called experts, but I do that more when there is a split. When Keith Law does a mock draft, it isn’t just his opinion, it’s a lot of opinions with him being the headline name. When Baseball America does it, it’s four people who talked to numerous sources. Jim Callis and Jonathan Mayo don’t just sit there and look at stats, they talk to people and that’s how they come up with sources. Perfect Game has seven “scouts” that put in overtime to get the best opinions. Kiley McDaniel does yoeman’s work putting his info together. Those guys that people call “so called experts” are much deep than what the Pirates have at their disposal. People are quick to put down all the work they do, not realizing how much work is behind it. When the entire group has the same opinion, I trust them more.

            • Jared

              I agree that the A’s pick of Chapman is even worse than the Pirates pick of Tucker. However, I like a lot of what Billy Beane has done for much of his tenure in Oakland. He finds great talent and has been very successful with advanced analytics. It isn’t an excuse for what appears to be a very poor pick with Chapman, but Beane seems to get “luck”ier than most…although that is not always true with the draft, more with free agent signs.

            • piraddict

              Be careful not to equate coalescence of opinions to an increase in the quality of insight. To make an analogy from another area, politics, if that were really true than the person who wins the Presidential election will always be the best candidate? Maybe not! Winning the election only means the candidate was most popular at that point in time, but doesn’t necessarily indicate the candidate is best suited for the position. Likewise when groups of draft gurus sit around and “rationalize” their ratings vis-a-vis each other that doesn’t increase the probability of MLB success of the prospect. It’s probable that the impact of intangibles such as grit, persistence in the face of failure etc. which are difficult for draft “gurus” to assess are as influential in determining MLB success as HS or College statistics or scouts ratings.

              • John Dreker

                Obviously anything can happen with HS players, so it is tough to be too critical, but as far as trusting one opinion over a lot of opinions from people in the same field, I’m going to go with the group. They said the A’s were going to take him too, but their first pick and the Pirates second pick were both highly criticized, so it’s still a large group vs a small group that seemed to make multiple mistakes. That’s all we have to go on with these players since none of us have seen Tucker play. The Pirates don’t have a strong recent draft history of finding hidden talent as far as hitters go, so that is another reason not to just blindly trust them over a large group. It’s more than just saying, he was rated a 2nd/3rd round pick, so they made a mistake. It’s their history, the rankings and who they passed up to take him. If the Pirates 1-4 picks on day one, were their 3-6 picks(2nd-4th rd), then their draft would look terrific, but they passed up a lot of highly rated players to take Tucker and Joe and that’s the worst part. It’s not the fact they don’t have a chance to be good picks, I’m sure they could be, but the further you reach, the lesser chance you have of hitting on picks.

                • piraddict

                  I understand your point. But don’t make the mistake of confusing precision with accuracy. That is a common measurement fallacy. Take an example of firing a rifle at the range. Just because all of the holes in the target sheet are in a tight pattern doesn’t mean that the shooter has been accurate. The sights could be misadjusted and all the bullet holes could be in a tight bunch in the lower RHS of the target instead of in the bulls eye. While it is true that an abundance of counselors will give you a better chance of getting good advice the fact that all the counselors agree doesn’t mean that they all have the right answer. They all might just be responding to the same conventional wisdom, which might be entirely wrong.

                  • John Dreker

                    No mistake made, I’m using my own judgement based on multiple scouting reports to come up with my opinion. I think they reached for him and Joe and they paid too much for his bonus. Three years ago, the second part wouldn’t even matter to me, but this is the bonus pool days and it’s very important now. If I was going off rankings alone, Keller wouldn’t be my favorite player from the entire group of 42, he would be fifth, but I think he has the most upside.

          • PirateBall123

            It’s somewhat surprising to me that 2 guys could plummet like that but still be seen as incredibly valuable.

            Baseball America’s podcast mentioned that Harrison looked awful in individual workouts and had people thinking of Bubba Starling.

            At this point, methinks if you’re an industry guy you’re an industry guy and if you’re a pundit guy you’re a pundit guy and there won’t be a ton to sway thinking either way.

            • John Dreker

              Once those guys fall a little, then they can fall a lot, because teams have an idea what it costs to sign them, so you need a team that will have cap room. Harrison was rated right around 25 by most and that is what he signed for. He has a two-sport scholarship to Nebraska, that is pricey, He probably could have played basketball too

            • Jared

              I tend to agree with John on this. I think people greatly undervalue how much time and effort these “pundits” put in and how deep and accurate their sources are. They are not always right, but noone is. I believe the point here, however, is that it is not like one or two “pundits” disagree with the Pirates pick…they ALL see this as a poor pick. That type of agreement seems to weigh heavily against the Tucker and Joe picks…one poor pick out of the first two might be excusable because one organization has a different view on a player, but the first TWO?

              • PirateBall123

                Much like John, I go with numbers. When there are multiple teams reported to be on Tucker, and none really on Gatewood or Harrison, I’m going to side with the industry over the experts. Even Keith Law, who is very respected, noted that only a few teams were on Gatewood headed into the draft (and he heard the Pirates as one of them).

                He also said he didn’t like the Brewers’ draft at all, while giving the Pirates high marks, so I don’t think it’s necessarily an “expert vs. industry” thing. Baseball America also said they really liked the Pirates’ draft. It just seems like the pre-draft rankings are being held up highly despite post-draft reports (Harrison looked bad, for instance).

                • Jared

                  My biggest problem with the draft, as I have mentioned multiple times on the draft threads and since, is that I don’t 1) understand the approach, 2) think the Pirates got the best upside/best player available with their picks, and 3) really disliked the #3 pick. I think the Pirates could have gotten Tucker (if that is who they really loved) and still got a great prospect (look back at the board) with the 39th which I think they didn’t get with Joe. There were, by my estimation, at least 20 players I would prefer over Connor Joe at #39.

                  • PirateBall123

                    The thing is, would you have traded Gatewood or Harrison for Keller and Supak?

                    I agree they could’ve gotten a better prospect than Joe at 39, but then they aren’t likely to be able to get Keller and Supak in the 2 and 2A round.

  • Jared

    In other news, any particular reason Polanco isn’t in the lineup tonight in Indy?

  • Jim Rush

    Old school Cole Tucker max out comp= Dave Conception?

  • Kevin Anstrom

    FWIW 6 months ago Michael Suchy was the highest rated prospect among the Pirates draftees.

    http://www.baseballamerica.com/college/2014-high-school-top-100-with-commitments/

    At the time Tucker, Keller, and Supak couldn’t even craft the top 100 high school prospects.

    Things change and sometime quickly. At one point the Steelers liked Emmanuel Sanders better than Antonio Brown. Of course no other team picked Brown in the first 5 rounds.

    • McCutchenistheTruth

      Interesting

  • Kevin Anstrom

    Now that he’s signed I guess the question is whether Cole Tucker or Adrian Valerio is the #2 SS prospect in the system.

    http://dplbaseball.com/video-library/daniel-velerio-ss-2013/

    It’s early in the season so small sample size issues (whatever that means) might be a factor. However, Valerio is putting up some ridiculous range factor numbers.

    http://www.baseball-reference.com/minors/team.cgi?id=560f6928

    • John Dreker

      Talking to someone who played infield with him this Spring, he is a level above everyone down there on defense. Valerio will go as far as his bat takes him and today was a good game for that

      • Jared

        Valerio’s range factor is higher than Andrelton Simmons…extremely, extremely impressive defensive work by Valerio. It would be amazing if his bat could even reach major league SS average (not very impressive).