The Pittsburgh Pirates have received some help with their 2016 first round draft pick recently by other teams signing players who received qualifying offers this off-season. The Pirates themselves are highly unlikely to sign one of the 11 players remaining who received a qualifying offer, so that means their first round pick will continue to climb.
The Pirates started the off-season with the 29th and 36th overall picks. The second one was the pick they received in the Competitive Balance lottery back in July. With the signings of John Lackey by the Cubs, Jeff Samardzija by the Giants, Zack Greinke by the Diamondbacks and the pending deal with the Dodgers and Hisashi Iwakuma, the Pirates have moved up four spots with their first round pick. Teams get compensation after the first round for losing players, so the second pick will continue to slide down as players sign with different teams.
Going by 2015 numbers, since the 2016 slot values haven’t been set yet, the difference between the 29th pick and the 25th pick is an extra $119,700 for the Pirates to spend. They won’t know their total draft pool until all of the players with qualifying offers have signed.
The remaining players with qualifying offers are: Yovani Gallardo, Wei-Yin Chen, Ian Kennedy, Jason Heyward, Dexter Fowler, Alex Gordon, Howie Kendrick, Chris Davis, Justin Upton, Ian Desmond and Daniel Murphy.
The Pirates could move up further in the draft if any of those players sign with the following team: Mariners, Red Sox, Rays, Orioles, Indians, Twins, Nationals, Angels, Astros, Yankees, Rangers, Mets, Blue Jays and Royals
There are certain things however that could keep the Pirates from moving up if one of those players signs with one of those teams. If the player is being re-signed by his 2015 team, that team doesn’t give up their draft pick. If one of those teams signs two or more players from the list, the Pirates would only gain one spot total. So the potential is there for them to move up 11 spots, but that is highly unlikely.
For now, the draft got a lot more interesting in the last three days and will continue to get better in the coming months. We will start our draft coverage in February, but until then you might want to save this link from Baseball America(at the time of posting this, they haven’t included the Iwakuma deal). I’ll update this post at the bottom if any of these players sign in the next three days during the Winter Meetings, so you can check back here for any updates as well.
UPDATE: This article has been updated to change the information about the Pirates’ second pick. Baseball America was putting the compensation picks after the Pirates’ competitive balance pick, when if fact the compensation picks go between the first round and the competitive balance picks. The earlier version of this article had the second Pirates’ pick moving up with each signing. Sorry for the mistake. From covering the draft the last four years, I should have caught their error.