Pirates Announce Signings of Three Draft Picks

The Pittsburgh Pirates have announced the signings of three of their top ten draft picks. Sixth round pick J.T. Brubaker, eight rounder Seth McGarry and ninth round pick Bret Helton have all been official signed. All three are right-handed pitchers. You can find the player pages for each below and the draft tracker will be updated as soon as we hear signing amounts.

J.T. Brubaker

Seth McGarry

Bret Helton

The slot amount for Brubaker is $246,500, while McGarry’s spot is $168.800 and Helton’s slot amount is $157,600. According to Adam Berry, Helton has reportedly signed for $150,000, which is unconfirmed at this time.

Helton and Brubaker have been assigned to the West Virginia(Morgantown) Black Bears, while McGarry has been assigned to the GCL.

John started working at Pirates Prospects in 2009, but his connection to the Pittsburgh Pirates started exactly 100 years earlier when Dots Miller debuted for the 1909 World Series champions. John was born in Kearny, NJ, two blocks from the house where Dots Miller grew up. From that hometown hero connection came a love of Pirates history, as well as the sport of baseball.

When he didn't make it as a lefty pitcher with an 80+ MPH fastball and a slider that needed work, John turned to covering the game, eventually focusing in on the prospects side, where his interest was pushed by the big league team being below .500 for so long. John has covered the minors in some form since the 2002 season, and leads the draft and international coverage on Pirates Prospects. He writes daily on Pittsburgh Baseball History, when he's not covering the entire system daily throughout the entire year on Pirates Prospects.

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michael t

“most” is what I meant. It seems like there is a great deal of pre draft discussion which leads to rankings being less important than other sports.

michael t

Thanks for the quick reply. What is your take on a change in the bargaining agreement that would allow draft picks to be traded? Heard much talk on the radio from pundits who thought it would be great for baseball’s visibility.

michael t

unlike the other professional drafts, is it accurate that almost most players are contacted by the club and specific signing numbers discussed and often agreed upon BEFORE the club drafts the player?


Yes — from every account I’ve read/heard, a lot of how guys get drafted comes down to “will you accept $XXXXXX?”
” yes/no”
proceed based on whether the answer was yes or no.

In baseball, the pre-draft rankings are generally not that predictive. Guys mostly have the same OFP (Overall Future Potential, which is pretty much all of their tools hitting the maximum level) within a certain tier of players, and it’s all luck based of if they hit/surpass that or not.

For instance, Kiley McDaniel had 2 players in the whole draft who were regarded as guys with OFP of above-average regulars (55 or above). Then you had about 40 guys who had OFP of average regulars. One of those guys was ranked 3rd, another was ranked 43rd, but they have the same overall potential.

The only true value that numbered rankings provide, in my opinion, is the scouting reports that accompany the reports. Most of these guys are MUCH closer in their true value than the ranking number suggests. And once you get past the late 1st round, it’s all proven to be a complete crapshoot. You’re drafting guys with little chance of making the majors unless they make huge improvements no matter what.

joe s

I can not find the draft tracker. Has it been posted and if so how do I access it?


Looking forward to seeing McGarry pitching. He intrigues me.


I subscribe to Baseball America and have for the past 20 years. I pulled up the entire Pirate Draft of 40 players to review some scouting reports because BA puts out reports on their Top 500. Of the last 30 picks of the Pirates, I could only find 5 scouting reports. Therefore, we are truly reaching on a lot of these kids.

BTW Blaine, Cole Irvin is one of the kids who was scouted, and the general consensus was that he has never recovered fully from elbow surgery after going 12-3 for Oregon in his Freshman year. So, he was a real prospect before surgery and could get back to that point, but ???? Since my son played at Columbia State JC, I will be a Scooter Hightower supporter. Columbia State has a very strong baseball rep as does Walters State JC between Knoxville and the Tri-Cities which includes Bristol.


I think the Pirates have a nice negotiating chip with Irvin since they’ve had a lot of success bringing guys back from TJ. We’ll see if that factors into the negotiations.

And while BA can be a decent barometer of industry consensus, they typically don’t have the depth of scouting a Major League team achieves. A lot of teams took a lot of guys outside of the BA top 500, but those guys were probably comfortably in those teams’ own top 500s.

Remember that teams aren’t necessarily just looking at tools, stats, and projectability like we are, they see in enormous detail mechanics and makeup, and they also have the knowledge of how they teach and improve their players and what sorts of talents best jive with that approach. The Pirates preach a getting-on-base approach throughout their minor leagues, for example, so maybe they don’t weigh power like BA would, and so those guys BA has high on their board for power slide down the Bucs’ board because they don’t have the contact skill or eye they like.

Until we see these guys getting into the professional game and starting to move through the system, we can’t possibly evaluate this draft. I know it’s fun to try, but as much as I like BA and reading their scouting reports and minor league system evaluations, I’m willing to trust the front office which brought winning baseball and organizational depth (and a good perception around the league to boot) back to Pittsburgh.


emjay….after the first few rounds, almost everything is a reach or projection. By the time you’ve gotten to the 10th round, less than 7% even make it to the majors. 50% of the Top 5 wash out!

Overall, 90-95% of these guys won’t even make it to the majors in all likelihood.

Btw, I subscribe to BA, also. I somewhat remember Glasnow not being on their Top 500 list (if my failing memory serves me correctly) 🙂

Check back with this draft in 5 years.

Remember the rule of thumb: 1 or 2 starters per draft plus 1 or 2 complimentary pieces is good. Anything above that is great!


Thanks john, how’s that sleep depravation experiment coming along? : )

Blaine Huff

Save that slot money for Cole Irvin….no, seriously…

…although he seems to be wavering.

Kyle K

All presumably at or under slot?

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