The Pittsburgh Pirates made some draft picks on Tuesday that look like they will be players that sign for under their slot amount. In the last few drafts, that has allowed the team to go over slot for picks after the tenth round.

For those unfamiliar with the draft rules, every pick after the tenth round is worth up to $100,000 without any of that money going towards the team’s draft bonus pool, which is based strictly on the top ten rounds. That means you can sign a player for $1 or $100,000 and it doesn’t affect the amount you can spend on the picks in the first ten rounds. If you sign a player in the first ten rounds for less than their slot value, you can put that money towards picks outside of the top ten rounds who require more than $100,000 to sign. You have to sign a player in the top ten rounds in order to save money though. If you don’t sign him, his slot value is subtracted from your bonus pool.

An example of the last point is when the Pirates took Mark Appel during the first year of the new draft rules in 2012. Not only did they not sign him, they were unable to sign fourth round pick Brandon Thomas, so they lost both of those slot amounts. Because they signed some of their top picks under slot though, they were able to pay over $100,000 for Max Moroff, John Kuchno and Hayden Hurst. While Hurst didn’t work out, the other two players still have a chance to add value to the Major League club.

Teams can also spend up to 5% more than their bonus pool, and while that money gets taxed, it doesn’t hurt your team until you spend more than 5%, which then starts to cost the team future draft picks. That isn’t going to happen though, as the Pirates will likely spend as much of that 5% they can to get some deals done in the later rounds. That is something we have seen each of the last three years under the new draft rules. The focus today should be on their first pick.

In 2013, the Pirates spent extra to get 11th round draft pick Erich Weiss(pictured above) signed, inking him to a deal for $305,000 right near the deadline. They also signed two prep players in later rounds for more than $100,000, getting outfielder Nick Buckner and pitcher Billy Roth. Buckner is a toolsy outfielder, who was young for the draft class, while Roth has displayed an improved fastball during Extended Spring Training this year. Weiss was the pick they spent the most to get though, and he looks like he could be a future Major League player. His upside might just be a utility player, but that is something you hope for with most picks outside the top ten rounds.

Last year, the Pirates took Gage Hinsz in the 11th round. He’s a high upside right-handed pitcher, who didn’t even have a high school team, but he still showed a lot of potential playing for a local team. The Pirates were looking at him in the second round and couldn’t work out a deal, so they ended up getting him in the 11th round and signing him for $580,000. They were able to save some money in the first ten rounds, getting a little extra here and there, then used it to sign a pitcher in the 11th round, who they considered strongly in the second round.

I would expect the Pirates to do the same thing this year and there are still some very good players left on the board who fell due to bonus demands. When teams make picks in the first ten rounds, they usually have a good sense of what that player will sign for, so with that in mind, the Pirates will make the 22nd pick today knowing that they can spend X amount over their slot. They won’t know an exact number, but they will have a good idea what that X amount is and they will also figure in the 5% extra they can spend. The first pick on day three of the draft could end up being one of the best picks they make this draft and based on the last two years, it could be someone they really liked much higher.

This article from MLB.com lists the top names still available today. While a few of them won’t get picked at all due to bonus demands, don’t be surprised if the 11th round pick of the Pirates is on this list.

Pirates Game Graph


Source: FanGraphs

Today’s Schedule

Today’s Starter and Notes: The Pirates lost 4-1 on Tuesday, dropping their second straight game at home to the last place Milwaukee Brewers. Charlie Morton will make the start for the Pirates today, his fourth of the season. In his last outing, he gave up four runs(three earned) over five innings against the Braves. Kyle Lohse will be on the mound for the Brewers. He has a 6.59 ERA in 68.1 innings this year.

In the minors, Casey Sadler is coming off an outing in which he gave up two earned runs over seven innings. Before that, he had two straight sub-par starts. Steven Brault and Stephen Tarpley start on the same night for the third straight time. The two lefties were acquired in the Travis Snider deal and both are pitching well. Tarpley has allowed two earned runs over his three starts this season. He missed the start of the year due to shoulder soreness. Jason Creasy has a perfect 7-0 record and the tenth best ERA in the Eastern League. You can view last night’s prospect watch here.

MLB: Pittsburgh (31-27) vs Brewers (22-37) 7:05 PM
Probable starter: Charlie Morton (2.84 ERA, 4:6 BB/SO, 19.0 IP)

AAA: Indianapolis (37-23) @ Rochester (31-26) 1:35 PM  (season preview)
Probable starter: Casey Sadler (3.15 ERA, 15:39 BB/SO, 65.2 IP)

AA: Altoona (35-21) @ Reading (31-26) 7:05 PM  (season preview)
Probable starter: Jason Creasy (2.69 ERA, 22:31 BB/SO, 63.2 IP)

High-A: Bradenton (27-31) vs Clearwater (28-30) 6:30 PM (season preview)
Probable starter: Steven Brault (3.27 ERA, 15:37 BB/SO, 55.0 IP)

Low-A: West Virginia (34-24) vs Savannah (31-27) 7:05 PM (season preview)
Probable starter: Stephen Tarpley (1.20 ERA, 4:15 BB/SO, 15.0 IP)

DSL: Pirates (3-6) vs Braves (3-6) 10:30 AM  (season preview)

Highlights

Here’s a video of Jose Osuna’s first homer since being promoted to Altoona. He had a little hiccup, striking out four times on Tuesday, but prior to that, he has been one of the best hitters in the system since being promoted.

Recent Transactions

6/9: John Holzkom activated from Indianapolis disabled list

6/9: Brett McKinney promoted to Altoona. Ryan Hafner added to Bradenton roster.

6/7: Pirates release Tyler Sample.

6/5: Justin Sellers assigned to Bradenton on rehab.

6/5: Charlie Leesman placed on Indianapolis disabled list.

6/5: Francisco Diaz activated from WV Power disabled list.

6/5: Kawika Emsley-Pai promoted to Bradenton roster. Jin-De Jhang assigned to Extended Spring Training.

6/3: Pirates outright Radhames Liz to Indianapolis.

5/29: Andy Vasquez added to Altoona roster.

5/29: Keon Broxton promoted to Indianapolis. Adam Miller placed on disabled list.

5/29: Jeff Roy activated from West Virginia disabled list. Andy Otamendi assigned to Extended Spring Training.

5/28: Jose Osuna promoted to Altoona. Jordan Steranka added to Bradenton.

5/28: Andy Otamendi added to WV Power roster. Trace Tam Sing assigned to WV Black Bears.

5/27: Kelson Brown added to Indianapolis roster.

 

This Date in Pirates History

Six former Pittsburgh Pirates players born on this date, plus a trade of note. On this date in 1969, the Pirates traded pitcher Ron Kline to the San Francisco Giants to reacquire pitcher Joe Gibbon. The Pirates got the best of this exchange of bullpen arms, getting 1 1/2 years from Gibbon, including a solid 1969 season. Kline pitched just seven games for the Giants.

Here’s a rundown of the former players born on this date:

Carlos Rivera, first baseman for the 2003-04 Pirates.

Pokey Reese, second baseman during the 2002-03 season.

Hank Foiles, catcher from 1956 until 1959. Came to the Pirates from the Cubs in the Ralph Kiner deal.

Johnny Podgajny pitcher during the 1943 season. He was traded to the Cardinals for pitcher Preacher Roe.

Danny MacFayden, 1940 pitcher.

Jap Barbeau, 1909 third baseman, who was dealt during the season, missing out on the first World Series title in franchise history.

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40 COMMENTS

  1. It honestly seems as if the Pirates are going quantity over quality at this point. Almost every pick seems singable.

  2. Overslot, underslot and the overall draft pool all thought up by some evil little pencil pusher with the intention of raising folks blood pressure. The moral of the story is this, never give pencil pushers power, you’ll always be broke while scratching your head wondering how.

    • Agreed. It’s one thing to have a sudden breakout. It’s another when it’s explainable by a major physical change. A good chance to take that the hitter he was this year is the hitter he can be as a pro.

  3. Brusa and Mitchell both are still available…Traver sounds very interesting, although a long previous injury history.

    • There’s a risk with any young pitcher though. Yes, HS pitchers are more unpredictable. But they’re generally the high upside guys that the Pirates love too.

  4. OKay- two more college players in 11th and 12th round- not sure what the pirates are doing now…..i’ll join the club on confused fans

    • I, likewise, am a little confused. I, actually, am normally a college proponent, but this whole draft has been college players when coming into the draft the depth and best upside appeared to be in the prep ranks, especially in the prep pitching ranks. This is extremely confusing…and, honestly, I do not see a lot of upside at all in this draft.

      • this was a week draft to begin with,and no the depth was not prep pitching,it was top heavy in prep pitching and if u wanted them they went high and a ton of top prep pitchers didn’t get drafted till the end because of signability

  5. Many of the other clubs are in the same position, so it will be interesting to see which teams pull the trigger first on some of the available high-upside HS players still available…Everett and Hooper in particular.

    I do have a question – and its from having ignorance of how the system all works. If a team doesn’t think it can sign say Justin Hooper in Round 3, because of signability issues, why would it think it can sign him in Round 11?? Isn’t the amount that a team can offer based on the round that the player is taken in? If true, a team would not be able to offer Hooper as much in Round 11 as they could have in Round 3? Or, am I totally wrong about my understanding of how this works?

    • Disregard my question – after re-reading the above article more closely, I think I understand now….basically, starting with Round 11, teams can draft a player and offer pretty much any amount, as long as they are willing to accept any penalties that may go with that – including losing a future pick?

    • I, too, would like Hooper, but I wonder what he’s demanding. If his demands are really high, it might be tough to free up the money.

      Of course, they could also just draft him so other teams can’t, I guess, then do their best to get a miracle signing to happen, but I wouldn’t expect the Bucs to pull a move like that, taking a guy they know they probably can’t sign just so other teams can’t.

      If they take him, I’m going to get pretty excited, because they will probably have a decent shot at signing him if they take him.

      • I agree with that last part, but only if he is taken in the 11th round. If they take him in a later round, it’s with a hope he changes his mind. Whoever they take in the 11th round, you can bet they have a good chance of signing them. Teams have been calling players since last night asking about price and that includes Hooper, just in case.

        • Does where they go (what team) have any impact or is it all about the money at this point in deciding whether or not to forgo college?

          • Some pitchers will skip over teams based on their training, so it could have an affect if they did their homework. Some teams won’t allow pitchers to throw from more than 120 feet, but some pitchers train that way and feel comfortable. That could weigh in their decision.

            • There’s a lot that goes on behind the scenes that the average fan isn’t privy to. Maybe they’ll make a movie about the MLB Draft one day and Kevin Costner can be in that one too. He seems to love baseball.

        • Which means, realistically, that if the Pirates feel comfortable with Hooper in the 11th then other teams likely will too.

          • Assuming they allocated enough money with their previous picks, yeah. The Pirates draft pretty late, though, so that’s a lot of teams who have a chance to maybe have found enough money yesterday to sign him, and teams with bigger bonus pools to use to make that money, at that.

            There’s a really good chance we don’t even get to try to take Hooper.

            But as for tall, projectable lefties who rank fairly high on the pre-draft rankings, how about Hellinger? He’s 6’4″ and lean, throws hard, left handed. Not as big or as good as Hooper, but not entirely dissimilar, either, from what I can find.

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