Here’s a phrase we haven’t used lately: the Pittsburgh Pirates finished near the bottom in draft spending this year. Baseball America has released the team by team figures, and the Pirates rank 28th, with $3,829,700 spent.
It’s not like they could have spent more. They were $92,600 shy of going over their draft pool and paying a 5% tax. A big reason the number is so low is because first round pick Mark Appel didn’t sign. However, if Appel would have accepted a deal, the Pirates would have only added about $3 M extra to this total, which would have put them 17th on the list.
This is a big change from the past. The Pirates had the highest average spending from 2007-2011, and that included a 2007 draft where the team didn’t spend that much. They spent a record-setting $17 M last year.
They will get a compensation pick for Appel next year, and could get an extra pick in today’s competitive balance lottery, but it would be hard to see them getting close to their previous figures due to the way that this new system restricts spending.
Only four teams this year spent over $10 M in the draft, after ten teams did the same last year. The total draft spending was down about $21 M from last year.
Tim started Pirates Prospects in 2009 from his home in Virginia, which was 40 minutes from where Pedro Alvarez made his pro debut in Lynchburg. That year, the Lynchburg Hillcats won the Carolina League championship, and Pirates Prospects was born from Tim's reporting along the way. The site has grown over the years to include many more writers, and Tim has gone on to become a credentialed MLB reporter, producing Pirates Prospects each year, and will publish his 11th Prospect Guide this offseason. He has also served as the Pittsburgh Pirates correspondent for Baseball America since 2019. Behind the scenes, Tim is an avid music lover, and most of the money he gets paid to run this site goes to vinyl records.
i still think it’s stupid that there’s a salary cap on the draft but not one for MLB rosters…
How were so many other teams able to spend so much more than us? I though that we would’ve had one of the biggest draft budgets because we picked early and the slot for the 8th pick is pretty high. Did other teams sacrifice draft picks? Or did they have a larger budget, and if yes, why?
The top four teams had some significant bonuses for their first picks. Then some teams had multiple compensation picks, which drove up their overall spending, even though they picked later. Toronto, for example, had the 17th and 22nd picks in the first, plus the 50th, 58th, and 60th in the comp round. The Cardinals also had five picks in the top 60.
Well, they wanted it lower and it is lower. I do believe the draft process is fairer and with the extra Compensation ( I like to call them the Sisters of the Poor Picks) picks the low market teams get extra money and extra 1st round talent to stock the minors with. I guess it is a wash all things being equal.
Brian ….. I agree with you.