Pirates Prospects » 2011 Draft http://www.piratesprospects.com Your best source for news on the Pittsburgh Pirates and their minor league system. Mon, 28 Jul 2014 07:24:03 +0000 en-US hourly 1 http://wordpress.org/?v=3.9.1 Who Wants To Be A $1.2 Millionaire? http://www.piratesprospects.com/2011/08/who-wants-to-be-a-1-2-millionaire.html http://www.piratesprospects.com/2011/08/who-wants-to-be-a-1-2-millionaire.html#comments Wed, 17 Aug 2011 13:00:48 +0000 http://www.piratesprospects.com/?p=18338 Now that all of the confetti has settled from the far reaches of Pirate Nation and the jubilation quiets from the signings of Gerrit Cole and Josh Bell, it’s time to consider the cold, hard fact….”Wow, the Pirates spent a ton of money on this draft!”.  By all estimates around $17.2 million, which would be a new draft record for any team at any time.

Cole and Bell are set for life even if they never make the major leagues (which would be a bitter disappointment for the Pirates, the players, and fans) and collect their major league salaries.  Cole received $8M dollars as a straight signing bonus and Bell received $5M.  But what about someone like Clay Holmes, the Pirates’ 9th round pick that signed for $1.2M and set a record for his round in the process?

Not to cite Holmes in particular, but can you be set for life on JUST the $1.2M bonus that he received?  Let’s take a look:

Let’s say a player’s agent….I mean…advisor…takes 5% of his gross bonus.  That’s $60,000 right out the door.

The player should conservatively set aside 40% for tax purposes in an account that will stay safe.  Taking 40% off of the gross $1.2M is $480,000.  Coupled with the advisor fee that is $540,000 that he will not enjoy.

That still leaves him with $660,000 in his account.  Not that we would ever wish this upon a player, but let’s assume that this player plays ball for 6 years and never makes it.  He doesn’t make a 40-man roster and enjoy the increased pay while in the minors ($32,500 the first year on it, $65,000 the second year, and $97,500 the 3rd year).  He just played for the indentured servitude wages of $1,000 per month for 6 months each year for 6 years.

So now this hypothetical player realizes after 6 years that it’s not going to happen for his baseball dreams.  He’s 25 years old and can’t do his preferred profession.  Now what?  Could he coast on his remaining bonus?

Let’s say that the player took the remaining $660,000 from his bonus and had invested it in a vehicle that gave him 5% interest compounded annually.  At the end of his 6 career that amount would have grown to $884,463.  This number makes the HUGE assumption that the player never touches one Canadian Peso’s worth of his original bonus and is able to live off of others somehow.

If this player, at the age of 25, decides he wants to “retire” from working altogether and withdraw a semi-comfortable $50,000 per year but keep the remainder in this account earning 5% compound interest annually what happens?

January 1st – withdraw $50,000 from the $884,463.  Balance $834,463

December 31st – add interest at 5%.  New balance $876,186

January 1st (2nd year of “retirement”) – withdraw $50,000.  Balance $826,186

December 31st (2nd year of “retirement”) – add interest at 5%.  New balance $867,495

So you can see that is a fairly hold-steady around the starting balance between the withdrawal and the interest accrual.  Again, these are fairly basic assumptions that the player will be content and able to leave a lifestyle on $50,000 per year.  There would be temptations to blow some of the money, give some to family, fend off new-found leaches, etc.

There would also be the chance, more reasonably, to purchase a new house completely in cash and never have a mortgage payment.  As someone who just last week purchased a new home, that is a rather appealing proposition to me at this point.  The same theory holds true for purchasing a car or two with no future payments.  Even if the player were to purchase a $400,000 home and two cars for $80,000 upon his “retirement” there would still be $400,000 left in his account.

The bottom line is that a player in a similar situation to Holmes may not be set for life, but they can definitely live comfortably on the remnants of the original signing bonus.  With some self-restraint and good financial advice, of course.

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2011 Draft Recap: Don’t Draft Me http://www.piratesprospects.com/2011/08/2011-draft-recap-dont-draft-me.html http://www.piratesprospects.com/2011/08/2011-draft-recap-dont-draft-me.html#comments Tue, 16 Aug 2011 07:42:57 +0000 http://www.piratesprospects.com/?p=18308

Dear (Insert MLB Team Here),

With the 2012 draft less than ten months away, I am contacting you in advance to announce my intentions to attend college.  I do not intend to sign if I am drafted by the (Team Nickname).  I am going to honor my commitment to attend school.  I do not wish to be drafted, and it is my request that you honor those wishes and pass on me in the 2012 draft.

Granted, I have already been to college, and through that education I learned five things that are relevant to my life now:

1. How to set up a Limited Liability Company.

2. How to create a P&L sheet.

3. Beer before liquor, never sicker.

4. The dining hall dinner on parents weekend sucks.

5. The location of the sniper rifle in Halo.

I realize that the above knowledge probably isn’t worth the tens of thousands of dollars in debt that college runs.  However, I wouldn’t turn this down even if you offered me $10 M dollars.  I once again ask that you honor my wishes and pass on me in the 2012 draft.

Sincerely,

Tim Williams

After the Pittsburgh Pirates signed Gerrit Cole AND Josh Bell, you can’t fault me for getting that template ready.  It worked so well for Josh Bell that he ended up getting $5 M, and that was seen as a reasonable amount for a second round pick, selected 62nd overall.  The $5 M bonus is the biggest in draft history, outside of the first round.  It’s the fourth biggest bonus in Pirates’ history.  Yet there was surprise that Bell signed, even though he was getting $5 M out of high school.

In short, I think we’re going to see the “letter to 30 teams” approach again in the future.

I’m not going to sit here and say that I knew Josh Bell was going to sign.  However, from day one, I never bought in to the idea that he was an impossible sign, or that he was true with his intentions to go to school no matter the price.  I said it before he was drafted.  I said it after he was drafted.  I said it when he went to summer school.  I said it when sources had him at 60% to sign.  I said it when sources had him at 0-30% to sign.  This wasn’t based off of any inside information.  It was just looking at the situation and thinking logically, rather than taking the “Don’t draft me” at face value.

As we got close to the deadline, I moved from “just looking at the situation logically” to “hearing a lot of positive things about the Bell negotiations”.  In my preview, I mentioned that I was cautiously optimistic.  As I mentioned, that was based on the fact that things were quiet with the middle round picks.  The Pirates hadn’t moved on, which was a good sign, as they were still at the table with Bell.

As the deadline drew closer, I heard from sources that the Pirates hadn’t been in contact with their middle round picks.  11th round pick Joel Bennett was going to school.  15th round pick Kody Watts, who was in Pittsburgh, and who took a physical, wasn’t signing.  16th round pick Eric Skoglund, who wanted 2nd round money and was about $250 K apart from the Pirates, wasn’t signing.  All three wanted to sign at the right price, but all three were obviously backup plans to Bell.  Some of the middle round picks were watching the clock tick by, waiting to see if the talks with Josh Bell broke down.  With 30 minutes to go, the Pirates were still talking to Bell.  Then, shortly after the deadline, it was announced that they reached a deal with him for $5 M.

Photo Courtesy of UCLA Athletics

All this talk about Bell ignores the fact that the Pirates also signed first overall pick Gerrit Cole.  That’s not news worthy.  We knew Cole would sign.  The signing bonus was a surprise.  Cole ended up receiving an $8 M minor league deal.  It was expected that he would receive eight figures and a major league deal.  The $8 M bonus is a new draft record, breaking the previous high set by Stephen Strasburg, who received a $7.5 M bonus as part of a major league deal.  Cole’s amount could increase to more than $9 M if he reaches the majors by 2013, according to Jenifer Langosch.

Cole has the potential to be a star pitcher in the majors.  He has a plus fastball, with the ability to hit 98 MPH in the 9th inning after 100 pitches.  He’s got an upper 80s slider and an upper 80s changeup, both graded as plus pitches.  He also throws a lower 90s two seam fastball.  With three plus pitches, he potentially has one of the best arsenals in the game.  He’s a guy who could move quickly to the majors, and will probably arrive by June 2013.

By signing Cole and Bell, plus 9th rounder Clay Holmes earlier today, the Pirates ended up spending over $17 M in the draft, setting a new MLB record.  The $17 M is $5 M more than the previous record, set in 2010 by the Washington Nationals, and brings the four year spending by the Pirates to over $47 M.

Overall, the Pirates signed 24 players from the 2011 draft.  Here is a quick rundown of the players they signed.  Click the names to go to their player pages.

The 2011 Signings

Gerrit Cole, RHP, 1st Round - Cole has the same upside as Jameson Taillon: a major league ace.  He’s also further along that Taillon, and could move through the system quickly, arriving as early as June 2013.

Josh Bell, RF, 2nd Round - Wondering why there was so much hype on Bell?  He’s a switch hitter who projects to have plus power from each side of the plate.  Defensively, he profiles better as a left fielder, due to the lack of an arm for right field, and a lack of range for center field.  However, PNC Park’s left field, plus all of the speedy outfield prospects the Pirates have, could put him in right field.

Alex Dickerson, 1B, 3rd Round - His value is based on his offense, where he hits for plus power to all fields.  Dickerson is arguably the top first base prospect in the system, and has a shot at making AA by the end of 2012 with a strong year.

Colten Brewer, RHP, 4th Round - Brewer signed for slot, but has been hurt and hasn’t made his debut.  The 6′ 4″, 200 pound right hander throws in the 87-91 range, touching 93 with a sinking fastball.

Tyler Glasnow, RHP, 5th Round - Glasnow is one of the most underrated prep pitchers the Pirates signed.  He’s 6′ 7″, 200 pounds, and has touched 93 MPH.  He shot up in height in high school, growing eight inches after his freshman year.  He could add velocity as he fills out his tall frame.  He signed for $600 K, which was more than $400 K over-slot.

Dan Gamache, 3B, 6th Round - Gamache is more of a defensive minded infielder.  He’s played second base a bit for the Pirates, where he is a better fit due to his lack of a bat and strong defense.

Jake Burnette, RHP, 7th Round - Burnett is another highly projectable right hander, at 6′ 5″, 185 pounds.  He was throwing in the 90-91 MPH range throughout the summer, touching 93.  He ended up signing for $550 K, which was about $400 K over the recommended price for a 7th rounder.

Jason Creasy, RHP, 8th Round - Creasy is another projectable right hander, at 6′ 4″, 185 pounds.  So far in his pro debut he has a 1.69 ERA in 5.1 innings, with one earned run on seven hits and three walks, along with three strikeouts in the GCL.

Clay Holmes, RHP, 9th Round - Holmes is arguably the best pitching prospect in the draft outside of Cole.  He throws 90-93 MPH, and could add some velocity, although he doesn’t have much projectability with his 6′ 5″, 230 pound frame.  He’s far from a completed project, with an erratic slider and a high effort delivery.  Holmes received $1.2 M, which is the same amount the Pirates gave 2009 6th round pick Zack Von Rosenberg.

Taylor Lewis, CF, 10th Round - Lewis is a speedy center fielder who hasn’t had the best results in State College, with a .177 average in 147 at-bats.  I clocked him at 3.9 seconds from home to first base, which is Andrew McCutchen fast.

Candon Myles, CF, 12th Round - Speaking of fast, Myles is a prospect built on speed.  He stole 45 bases in high school last year, and has the motto that if he gets on first base, he already has third base.

Josh Poytress, LHP, 18th Round - Poytress has been hit around a bit after signing out of college, but the left hander has put up strong secondary ratios.  The left hander can touch 92 MPH with his fastball.

Alex Fuselier, CF, 21st Round - Fuselier hasn’t seen the best numbers in his pro debut, with a .196 average in 143 at-bats.  He’s a good athlete with a good arm, and had a strong junior year at the plate for Louisiana-Lafayette.

Michael Jefferson, LHP, 22nd Round - Jefferson has made some starts, but long term the left hander’s best chance to make it will probably be out of the bullpen.  He has a 90-91 MPH fastball and a good curveball, but he will end up falling behind a lot of the other pitching prospects at the lower levels.

Jordan Cooper, RHP, 23rd Round - The Pirates originally drafted Cooper in 2009, only to see him sign with Kentucky.  He signed this time around, and after some struggles, has put up a few strong outings in a row.  He struggled with consistency in Kentucky, so I wouldn’t base anything off of a few outings in the pros.  He’s one of my sleepers in the middle rounds.

Brian Sharp, SS, 24th Round - After a brief stint with State College, Sharp has retired.

Ryan Hornback, C, 27th Round - Hornback has been playing in the GCL, and seems more like an organizational catcher at the lower levels, although he’s received the most playing time on the team at the position.

Kirk Singer, SS, 29th Round - Singer has also struggled at the plate at State College.  On the field he has the range to cover shortstop, but his throwing arm is probably better suited for second base.

Matt Benedict, RHP, 30th Round - Benedict has been pitching out of the State College rotation with some mixed results.  Like Mike Jefferson, Benedict profiles more as a reliever and will fall behind some of the top pitchers next year.  I’d expect to see him in a multi-innings role.

Derek Trent, C, 31st Round - Trent has received the second most playing time behind the plate in State College, although he profiles more as an organizational guy.  He showed good hitting skills in college, but that hasn’t translated to the pros yet.

David Jagoditsh, RHP, 32nd Round - Jagoditsh is currently on the minor league disabled list, but was working in the 93-95 MPH range in short outings early in the season.

Chris Lashmet, 3B, 33rd Round - Lashmet started hitting well in State College, but has slumped recently.  He’s also more of an organizational player.

Rodarrick Jones, LF, 37th Round - Jones is one of the few late round picks that doesn’t profile more as an organizational guy.  He’s very athletic with good speed.  He’s more of a project, with a lot of tools and some holes in his swing, but he’s an athlete with some upside.

Jonathan Schwind, C, 41st Round - The Pirates surprisingly switched Schwind to catcher, after he was a utility infielder in college.  He’s only played 13 games behind the plate so far, but has been hitting well, with a .366 average in 93 GCL at-bats.  Hitting well in the Gulf Coast League is expected for a guy out of college.

Top Pirates Draft Bonuses

A quick update on the top 5 Pittsburgh Pirates’ draft bonuses of all time:

1. Gerrit Cole, RHP, 1st Round, 2011: $8,000,000

2. Jameson Taillon, RHP, 1st Round, 2010: $6,500,000

3. Pedro Alvarez, 3B, 1st Round, 2008: $6,000,000

4. Josh Bell, RF, 2nd Round, 2011: $5,000,000

5. Bryan Bullington, RHP, 1st Round, 2002: $4,000,000

Other Draft Coverage

-The full roundup on the signings and the spending: The Draft Pick Signing Tracker

-Wondering how a minor league contract works? Through the magic of copying last year’s article and replacing Jameson Taillon’s name with Gerrit Cole, I give you the Minor League Contract FAQs.

-Tomorrow we will have our updated top 10 prospects.  Check back for that.

-At Bucs Dugout, Charlie has his top 30 prospects with Cole and Bell included.

-At WHYGAVS, Pat points out that this is what the Pirates are supposed to be doing.

-At Raise the Jolly Roger, Brian calls the signings a huge win.

-At Rumbunter, Tom breaks down the deals, and points out at how the Pirates were aggressive with their picks.

-Other Recaps: Three Rivers Burgh Blog, The “Mc” Effect, North Side Notch

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Minor League Contract FAQs http://www.piratesprospects.com/2011/08/minor-league-contract-faqs.html http://www.piratesprospects.com/2011/08/minor-league-contract-faqs.html#comments Tue, 16 Aug 2011 07:07:01 +0000 http://www.piratesprospects.com/?p=18312

Photo Courtesy UCLA Athletics.

With Gerrit Cole and Josh Bell both receiving minor league contracts from the Pittsburgh Pirates, I figured this would be a perfect time to dust off the old “What’s the difference between a minor league contract and a major league contract” post.

NOTE: All examples use Gerrit Cole, but they all apply to Josh Bell, except when noted.

1. The Pirates paid Gerrit Cole $8 M.  Trevor Bauer got a four year contract.  How many years does Cole’s contract cover?

There are two types of contracts that can be issued during the draft: a standard minor league contract, and a major league contract.  The minor league contract just pays a straight bonus, and this is what Cole received.  His bonus will likely be split up between two seasons, which is also standard (although minor league bonuses can’t be split up in to any more than two payments, unless the player is a two-sport athlete).

Bauer got a four year contract because he signed a major league deal.  The contract pays him a bonus ($3.4 M in Bauer’s case), plus it gives him guaranteed salaries in his first four years, which are much higher than what he normally would receive.  It also speeds up his path to the majors.

So how long is Cole signed for?  Here is a breakdown of the maximum amount of time that Cole, signed in 2011, can be under the Pirates’ control:

2012-2014: Minor League Contract, has to be added to the 40-man roster no later than November 20, 2014, or risk being selected in the 2014 Rule 5 draft.*

2015: First year on the 40-man roster.

2016: Second year on the 40-man roster.

2017: Third year on the 40-man roster.

2018: Out of options, has to be added to the major league roster for good at the start of the 2018 season, or be designated for assignment.

2018-2020: League minimum years.

2021-2023: Arbitration years.

2024: Eligible for free agency.

*Note that this is the timeline for Cole, a college school draftee.  A player drafted out of high school in 2011, such as Josh Bell, would be eligible for the 2015 Rule 5 draft, adding an extra year to the process.

The maximum control that this bonus pays for is 13 years, although it would be an extreme disappointment if Cole isn’t in the majors by 2018.  The main difference between Cole and Bauer is that Bauer received a major league deal, which means he skips the minor league contract portion and jumps to his first year on the 40-man roster right away.  He also has his league minimum contracts with guaranteed salaries, likely to be slightly more than what the normal player would receive.  The main benefit, though, is the quicker path to the majors, as the maximum Bauer would be in the Arizona system is ten years.

2. Is the bonus Cole received his salary throughout his minor league career?

Cole’s signing bonus was just that: the bonus he received to sign with the team.  From there he is under a minor league contract, until the point he gets added to the 40-man roster.  The details of individual minor league deals are unknown, but players usually get a set amount per month, and only get paid during the months of the regular season.  That set amount is usually something like $1,000, which means a minor league player will make $6,000 a year.  This is part of the reason why teams have to pay out such big signing bonuses to prep players.

Cole’s minor league contract could pay more than that, but probably not much more.  From there, Cole’s next step would be the 40-man roster.  Cole might not spend any time in the minors on the 40-man roster, as he might just have his contract purchased one day down the line (2013-2014), and go to the majors.  If he did spend time in the minors, while on the 40-man roster (similar to what players like Bryan Morris and Gorkys Hernandez are doing now), he would receive the following pay scale:

-$32,500 his first year in the minors on the 40-man roster

-$67,300 his second year in the minors on the 40-man roster

-$97,500 his third year in the minors on the 40-man roster

Those numbers are based on this year’s salary structure.  They could change by the time Cole is added to the 40-man.  Once Cole is called up, he’s eligible for standard major league contracts: league minimum pay in his first three years of service time, and arbitration in years 4-6, then eligible for free agency after six years of service time.  Cole also has a clause in his deal that could earn him more money if he’s called up by 2013, so he probably won’t receive the basic league minimum in his first few years.

3. Trevor Bauer signed a four year major league deal.  Pedro Alvarez also received a major league deal in 2008. Does that mean he’s a free agent when that deal is up?

The major league deal just outlines what the salaries will be during the duration of that deal.  In the case of Alvarez, he received $88,750 in 2009, when he normally would have received $32,500.  In 2010 he received $88,750 in the minors, rather than the normal $65,000, and received $500,000 in the majors, rather than the normal $400,000.  This year he has received $550,000 in his time in the majors, which is more than what he probably would have received under a normal scale ($420,000).  He also received $88,750 in the minors.  Here is what he would receive in the remaining years of the deal:

2012: $700,000 (Normal: $440,000)

2013: $700,000 club option (Normal: $460,000)

2014: $700,000 club option (Normal: Arbitration eligible)

Alvarez has a clause in his contract that allows his to void his 2013 option if he’s arbitration eligible, although he won’t be eligible until the 2014 season.  I’m assuming the same clause exists for the 2014 season, so we’ll assume he becomes arbitration eligible that year.  The major league contract, from 2009-2013, gives Alvarez an additional $755,833 over what he normally would have made during that time (and the 2011-2013 “normal” prices are estimates).

So what happens in 2014 when his contract runs out?  Nothing out of the ordinary.  Alvarez would follow the normal cycle.  In 2014, assuming the option would be voided, he would become arbitration eligible for the first time.  From there, he’d have two remaining years of control (2015, 2016) before he could be free agent eligible for the 2017 season.  The main benefit of the major league deal is that it gets the player to the majors quicker.  There is some financial gain, but it’s minimal in the long run.  When the initial deal is up, the player still has to follow the same basic MLB contract rules, which means he can’t become a free agent until after six years of major league service time.

4. Does a player have to be removed from the 40-man roster to make room for Cole?

No.  The only way a player needs to be removed from the 40-man roster is if the Pirates sign a player to a major league deal.  Cole received a minor league deal, which basically means that, outside of the massive price differences, there’s no difference between his deal and the deal given out to 41st round pick Jonathan Schwind, for example.

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Pirates Sign Gerrit Cole and Josh Bell http://www.piratesprospects.com/2011/08/pirates-sign-gerrit-cole-and-josh-bell.html http://www.piratesprospects.com/2011/08/pirates-sign-gerrit-cole-and-josh-bell.html#comments Tue, 16 Aug 2011 04:38:40 +0000 http://www.piratesprospects.com/?p=18306

Photo Courtesy of UCLA Athletics

The Pittsburgh Pirates have signed first overall pick Gerrit Cole, and second round pick Josh Bell, according to Jon Heyman (Cole, Bell).

Cole will get $8 M, and it’s a minor league deal, per Dejan Kovacevic.  The bonus is the highest in draft history, topping the $7.5 M bonus that Stephen Strasburg received.  It’s also a record for the Pirates.

Josh Bell gets $5 M.  That’s the fourth biggest bonus given out by the Pirates, behind Cole, Jameson Taillon, and Pedro Alvarez.

The two bonuses bring the Pirates’ total spending to just under $16.5 M, which is a draft record.  That doesn’t include unannounced bonuses, which will bring the total to over $17 M.

The Pirates have officially announced each move.  The draft pick signing tracker is updated with the moves.

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Going to College: Aaron Brown and Joel Bennett http://www.piratesprospects.com/2011/08/going-to-college-aaron-brown-and-joel-bennett.html http://www.piratesprospects.com/2011/08/going-to-college-aaron-brown-and-joel-bennett.html#comments Tue, 16 Aug 2011 03:54:01 +0000 http://www.piratesprospects.com/?p=18302 Updates on two players going to college:

-Kendall Rogers of Perfect Game reports that 17th round pick Aaron Brown will be going to Pepperdine.

-Drew Champlin, a Troy University reporter, tells us that Joel Bennett, the 11th round pick, will be going to Troy.

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Draft Updates: One Hour To Go http://www.piratesprospects.com/2011/08/draft-updates-one-hour-to-go.html http://www.piratesprospects.com/2011/08/draft-updates-one-hour-to-go.html#comments Tue, 16 Aug 2011 02:59:33 +0000 http://www.piratesprospects.com/?p=18286 With one hour remaining, here is what to watch for:

-Gerrit Cole will sign.  It’s just a question of when and for how much.

-The fact that we have an hour to go, and we haven’t heard anything about the Pirates being out on Josh Bell is encouraging.  Not a guarantee that he gets signed, but I think the Pirates would have moved on by this point if there was little to no chance of signing him.

-We’ve been hearing rumblings about how some late first round deals are done, but MLB won’t let the teams announce them until after 11:00.  The whole process is highly choreographed, and it’s ridiculous.

-Outside of Cole and Bell, the only others we’re keeping an eye on are 15th round pick Kody Watts and 17th round pick Aaron Brown.  As I mentioned earlier, Watts is in Pittsburgh, and took a physical.  Nothing is done yet, but it’s a good sign that they’ve gone this far.  No updates on Brown yet.

-I still think the Pirates can get 11th round pick Joel Bennett, 14th round pick Jordan Dunatov, and 16th round pick Eric Skoglund.  However, signing those guys will probably mean bad news on the Josh Bell front.

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Draft Signing Updates: Four Hours To Go http://www.piratesprospects.com/2011/08/draft-signing-updates-four-hours-to-go.html http://www.piratesprospects.com/2011/08/draft-signing-updates-four-hours-to-go.html#comments Tue, 16 Aug 2011 00:00:48 +0000 http://www.piratesprospects.com/?p=18258 Four hours until the deadline to sign draft picks.  Some updates on the unsigned guys.

-Nothing new on Gerrit Cole and Josh Bell.  I wouldn’t expect talks to heat up until the last hour.

-9th round pick Clay Holmes has signed.

-I mentioned earlier that 15th round pick Kody Watts was in Pittsburgh, and was taking a physical with the team, indicating that he’s close to signing.

-13th round pick Brandon Platts isn’t expected to sign, according to Kendall Rogers of Perfect Game.

-Nothing new on 17th round pick Aaron Brown.  He would be my top priority after Watts and Holmes.

-The Pirates haven’t contacted 19th round pick Taylor Nunez in any form since the draft.  He will be going to Southern Miss.

-The Pirates have had contact with 11th round pick Joel Bennett, 14th round pick Jordan Dunatov, and 16th round pick Eric Skoglund.  All three are open to signing, but they’re currently leaning towards college.  If the Pirates miss out on Bell, I’d expect them to turn their attention to this group.

-The players who have already reported to school include 20th round pick Trea Turner, 26th round pick Nick Flair, 35th round pick Reid Mathews, and 36th round pick Isaac Ballou.

-The only player after round 17 that seems like a possibility to sign is 47th round pick Jorda Deluca.

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Pirates Sign Clay Holmes http://www.piratesprospects.com/2011/08/pirates-sign-clay-holmes.html http://www.piratesprospects.com/2011/08/pirates-sign-clay-holmes.html#comments Mon, 15 Aug 2011 23:45:23 +0000 http://www.piratesprospects.com/?p=18259 According to Jim Callis, the Pirates have signed 9th round pick Clay Holmes.  Callis mentions that the asking price for Holmes was $1.2 M, and he’s believed to have gotten it.  That would be a record for a 9th round pick, and is equal to what Zack Von Rosenberg got in the 6th round in 2009, if the bonus is correct.

We knew that Holmes was close to signing.  I mentioned late last week that the two sides were meeting to discuss signing, and a deal seemed optimistic.  We heard last night that Holmes was in Pittsburgh, which indicated that a deal was close.

The draft pick signing tracker has been updated with the move.

UPDATE 11:29 PM: The Pirates officially announced the signing via press release.

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Pirates Close to Deal With 15th Rounder Kody Watts? http://www.piratesprospects.com/2011/08/pirates-close-to-deal-with-kody-watts.html http://www.piratesprospects.com/2011/08/pirates-close-to-deal-with-kody-watts.html#comments Mon, 15 Aug 2011 20:20:36 +0000 http://www.piratesprospects.com/?p=18244 Pirates Prospects has learned that 15th round pick Kody Watts is in Pittsburgh talking with the Pirates.  The team increased their approach towards Watts last week by making an offer, and according to our sources, it sounds like he’s close to a deal.

Watts is a right handed pitcher and was the 139th best prospect in the draft.  He throws 89-93 MPH, touching 95, and also throws a curve, a splitter, and a slider.  He has a commitment to Portland, and if he does sign, which seems likely, he will probably command second round money.

UPDATE 4:28 PM: I’ve been told that Watts is taking a physical with the team.  That sounds like a deal is close.

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2011 Pittsburgh Pirates Draft Signing Deadline Preview http://www.piratesprospects.com/2011/08/2011-pittsburgh-pirates-draft-signing-deadline-preview.html http://www.piratesprospects.com/2011/08/2011-pittsburgh-pirates-draft-signing-deadline-preview.html#comments Mon, 15 Aug 2011 04:17:27 +0000 http://www.piratesprospects.com/?p=18187 All is quiet with one day remaining to sign players from the 2011 draft.  Some may view that as a bad sign.  I happen to think it’s a good sign.

Last year the Pittsburgh Pirates signed three players the day of the deadline.  They signed shortstop Drew Maggi, who had been close for days on a deal.  They also signed their top two draft picks: Jameson Taillon and Stetson Allie.  However, the significant signings came earlier in the week.  The Pirates signed 17th rounder Ryan Hafner for $450,000, and signed 23rd rounder Jared Lakind for $400,000, with both signings coming around August 10th.

The signings were significant not because of the talents that were added, but because of the talents that weren’t added.  By signing Lakind and Hafner, and getting close to a deal for Maggi, the Pirates were moving on from 6th round pick Jason Hursh, 7th round pick Austin Kubitza, and 10th round pick Zach Weiss.

The only signing that has come in the last week has been 12th rounder Candon Myles.  That’s not a sign that the Pirates are moving on from anyone.  A sign would be the Pirates signing a number of players in the 11-20 rounds, and signing them last week.

The fact that things are quiet right now is a good thing.  It means that the chances of signing Josh Bell aren’t totally ruled out.  At the same time, the Pirates aren’t putting all of their eggs in one basket.  Let’s take a look at what we can expect on the final day of the draft pick signing period.

Gerrit Cole

With Cole, the question isn’t whether or not he will sign, but how much he will sign for.  We heard that he was looking for Stephen Strasburg money.  With Trevor Bauer getting $7 M, and with Scott Boras always pushing for a shocking bonus, I wouldn’t be surprised if Cole ends up with an eight figure major league contract.  The Pirates’ record for a draft signing was set last year by Jameson Taillon at $6.5 M.  Only two players in the history of the draft have received eight figures, and both were college pitchers.  Strasburg received a $15.1 M major league deal as a first overall pick, and Mark Prior received a $10.5 M major league deal as the second overall pick in 2001.

While it’s almost a guarantee Cole will sign, I don’t expect him to sign until close to midnight.  It’s the Scott Boras way.

Josh Bell

I’ve been saying since the draft that I don’t buy Bell’s stance that he didn’t want to be drafted.  In fact, here’s five reasons why his stance makes no sense.

1. His adviser is Scott Boras.  This sounds more like a negotiation ploy from Boras.

2. There are the rumors that MLB asked if he wanted to be removed from the draft list, and his mom said no.  Those rumors make too much sense, as it would be easier to appeal to MLB to remove his name from the list, rather than asking all 30 teams to pass on him 50+ times.

3. Speaking of that letter, why bother with it?  If you don’t intend to sign, what does it matter if someone drafts you?

4. I never buy the “school is important” line. If you’re being offered millions of dollars, and you pass that up to go to school (which you can attend later in life), then maybe you really need the education.

5. If Bell receives $5 M this year, paid over two payments (one in September 2011, one in September 2012), and invests that money at a conservative 5% APY rate, compounded annually, then by the time the 2014 draft rolls around, he would have made an extra million in interest.  To beat that, he’s going to need to get at least $6 M in 2014.  That means he’s going to have to be a top five pick, and that’s no guarantee, even with his talent level.  Just look at Anthony Rendon this year.  He was a lock to be first overall coming in to the year.  He slipped to sixth overall, costing him millions.  In short, guaranteed money now is more valuable than the chance of slightly more money later, especially when we’re talking about $4-5 M.  I know this, and I’m not a finance professor, unlike Bell’s mother.

All throughout the process we’ve been hearing that there’s no chance that Bell signs.  A lot of that is because of the “don’t draft me” letter, combined with the lack of news on negotiations (which isn’t unusual with Boras).  We’ve seen imaginations running wild, to the point where people would suggest that Bell wouldn’t accept $10 M to sign.  I’ve never thought it was a guarantee either way, but the night before the signing deadline I find myself inexplicably optimistic.

I’m optimistic because the Pirates are still at the table.  They haven’t moved on like they did with Hursh, Kubitza, and Weiss last year.  There’s been talk that the Pirates’ top offer is lower than what Bell wants.  That’s not really unusual.  It’s part of the negotiation process.  If the two sides weren’t apart right now, Bell would be signed.  The question is: can they meet in the middle?  The fact that this is a question is what also has me optimistic that Bell will sign.  None of this sounds like “I don’t want to be drafted” or “I won’t sign”.  I don’t expect anything until close to midnight, and I’m not saying it’s a guarantee.  It doesn’t seem like a safe stance, but I’m cautiously optimistic after taking a logical look at the whole situation.

The Backup Plans

Last week I provided an update on the remaining picks in the top 20 rounds.  Nothing has changed from that update on the signing side of the equation, although there is one move that could be close.  Clay Holmes, the 9th round pick, is in Pittsburgh tonight, and is expected to sign.  I mentioned in the article last week that the Pirates and Holmes were expected to meet to discuss signing, and that a deal was close, but not a guarantee yet.  With Holmes in Pittsburgh, it sounds like the deal is all but official.

I don’t think Holmes alone means anything in terms of the Pirates’ chances of signing Bell.  However, I’d be a bit concerned if the Pirates suddenly signed Holmes, 15th round pick Kody Watts, and 17th round pick Aaron Brown.  They’ve made a push for all three in the last week or two.  That’s not saying it’s either Bell or these three.  I think the Pirates could sign all four players.

Guys like 11th round pick Joel Bennett, 14th round pick Jordan Dunatov, and 16th round pick Erik Skoglund are all signable, but I don’t see them signing unless the Pirates miss out on Bell.  The same is true for 13th round pick Brandon Platts and 19th round pick Taylor Nunez.  Outside of the top 20 rounds, the guy I’d keep an eye on is Jordan Deluca.  The prep outfielder met with the Pirates yesterday, which doesn’t necessarily mean he’s signing, but definitely means he’s still in the mix.

Live Chat

I will hold a live chat tomorrow at 1:00 PM EST to discuss the signing deadline, and any other topics on the Pirates.  You can submit your early questions here.

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