Most of the excitement from the draft comes from the first day. That’s where teams almost always get the best players from their draft class. Day two is also interesting because you’re adding eight more players who were taken in the top ten rounds. Day three is the one that often gets overlooked despite the fact that teams are selecting 30 players. The obvious reason is that very few players taken after the tenth round make it to the majors. The third day could start off with one of the better picks though, and the Pirates have shown that they can get some value out of the later picks.
With the new bonus slot system in place, teams only have so much they can spend on the draft each year. With the Pirates finishing better in the standings, that number has gone down. Teams can still spend some money after the tenth round, it just takes some creativity and a willingness to pay tax on the 5% they are allowed to go over the bonus pool.
The Pirates recently went over the pool twice, signing Erich Weiss (2013) and Gage Hinsz (2014) in the 11th round for well over the $100,000 slot value that each pick after the tenth round has attached. Weiss has played very well this season for Altoona and looks like a possible bench piece down the line for the Pirates, while Hinsz has shown tremendous improvements recently, which got him promoted to West Virginia last week.
It’s tough to get a good feel just yet how successful teams can be with selections after the tenth round because the new system only started in 2012. For high school players taken since then, it’s not really enough time to judge if the picks worked out well. In 2012, Max Moroff was paid over slot to sign and he’s now in Triple-A, ranking as our 17th best prospect in the 2016 Prospect Guide. He’s struggling a bit, but he also turned 23 a few weeks ago, so he’s young for the level. He’s still showing the tools that got him placed on the 40-man roster during the off-season.
So while there are some strong examples of why to follow the third day, you can’t really say if the Pirates will be able to get a player worth getting excited about. It probably won’t be a college player unless it’s someone who was injured and slipped in the draft like James Marvel, who they signed last year, or Cole Irvin, who they couldn’t sign. You might be able to find a few high upside high school players with raw tools and then you wait to see if the Pirates can develop them. The Pirates have Billy Roth in the West Virginia bullpen and he has added velocity since signing, but hasn’t had strong results. He was a 16th round in 2013 and he received $190,000 to sign.
That first pick today is one to watch for a potentially big player. The Pirates likely know what it will take to sign all of their top ten round picks. That’s something the scouts discuss with the players ahead of time, though we heard different from 41st overall pick Nick Lodolo last night. They also know what they can spend on the draft obviously, so they know approximately how much money they have to work with for the third day. If there is a target for a large portion of that leftover money, you will probably see that player being selected in the 11th round today. If there isn’t one specific target, then that money can get spread around. Last year they spent a total of $160,000 over slot after the tenth round, splitting it up between three players.
Bradenton is 7-3 in their last ten games. They are in first place in their division, 3.5 games ahead. The first half of the FSL season ends on June 22nd. Their magic number is seven.
West Virginia is 4-6 in their last ten games. They are in fifth place in their division, trailing first place by 8.5 games. The first half of the SAL season ends on June 19th. Their elimination number is down to one.
PIRATES GAME GRAPH
Today’s Starter and Notes: The Pirates lost 9-3 in 12 innings to the Cardinals. They now send Francisco Liriano to the mound for his 12th start. He gave up six earned runs on ten hits and four walks over 3.1 innings against the Angels in his last start. Liriano has faced the Cardinals twice this season and allowed just two earned runs over 13 total innings. His mound opponent will be Carlos Martinez, who has a 3.67 ERA over 67 innings, with 57 strikeouts and a 1.13 WHIP. He faced the Pirates on May 6th and gave up one run over 3.1 innings, leaving the game early due to fatigue.
In the minors, Tyler Glasnow gets the start today, coming off a game in which he showed excellent command and break on his curve, to go along with a few nice changeups. He still had fastball command issues, which has led to the fourth most walks in the International League, but his velocity was strong throughout the contest. Glasnow is second in the league with 77 strikeouts and he’s tied for fourth with Jameson Taillon in ERA.
Clay Holmes gets the start for Altoona after being skipped in the rotation to help limit his innings. One thing to watch in this game is the last two players who had starts skipped to help limit their innings, both had down starts. Jameson Taillon went through this a few weeks ago, and while the results were solid, he started to wear down around 65 pitches and did not finish strong. Mitch Keller made his start on extended rest last night and had his worst outing of the season. Holmes will need to be added to the Altoona roster prior to the game (see transactions below).
Yeudy Garcia has allowed three earned runs or less in every start this season. He has done that despite a 1.62 WHIP. He has 55 strikeouts in 46.1 innings.
MLB: Pittsburgh (32-29) vs Cardinals (33-28) 7:15 PM
Probable starter: Francisco Liriano (5.25 ERA, 38:60 BB/SO, 61.2 IP)
AAA: Indianapolis (31-30) vs Syracuse (30-29) 7:15 PM (season preview)
Probable starter: Tyler Glasnow (2.04 ERA, 31:77 BB/SO, 66.1 IP)
AA: Altoona (33-27) @ Reading (42-19) 6:35 PM (season preview)
Probable starter: Clay Holmes (4.99 ERA, 22:34 BB/SO, 57.2 IP)
High-A: Bradenton (33-25) vs Tampa (38-21) 6:30 PM (season preview)
Probable starter: Yeudy Garcia (2.91 ERA, 23:55 BB/SO, 46.1 IP)
Low-A: West Virginia (30-30) @ Columbia (31-30) 7:05 PM (season preview)
Probable starter: Dario Agrazal (4.00 ERA, 8:33 BB/SO, 54.0 IP)
DSL: Pirates (1-5) vs Mets1 (4-2) 10:30 AM (season preview)
Here is a first inning home run from Austin Meadows to extend his hit streak to 18 games. If that sounds somewhat familiar, yesterday’s highlight was him hitting a first inning homer to extend his hit streak to 17 games.
6/10: Mitch Keller added to West Virginia roster. Logan Sendelbach assigned to GCL Pirates.
6/10: Alex McRae promoted to Altoona.
6/9: Pirates option Jameson Taillon to Indianapolis. Kyle Lobstein recalled from Indianapolis.
6/9: Frank Duncan promoted to Indianapolis.
6/8: Pirates recall Jameson Taillon. Curtis Partch optioned to Indianapolis.
6/8: JT Brubaker promoted to Bradenton. Julio Vivas added to West Virginia roster.
6/6: Clay Holmes assigned to Extended Spring Training. David Whitehead added to Altoona roster.
6/4: Pirates released Nate Irving, Edgar Figueroa, Eric Thomas and Eliezer Ramirez.
6/4: Pirates option Rob Scahill and Wilfredo Boscan to Indianapolis. Recall Curtis Partch and Cory Luebke.
6/4: Ryan Vogelsong transferred from 15-day disabled list to 60-day DL.
6/4: Guido Knudson added to Indianapolis roster.
6/2: Gage Hinsz assigned to West Virginia. Mitch Keller assigned to Extended Spring Training.
6/2: Justin Masterson assigned to Indianapolis. Frank Duncan assigned to Altoona.
6/2: Arquimedes Caminero assigned to Indianapolis on rehab.
6/2: David Whitehead assigned to GCL Pirates.
6/1: Pirates release Michael Fransoso.
5/29: Justin Masterson assigned to Bradenton.
5/29: Jhondaniel Medina assigned to Altoona.
5/28: Tony Watson reinstated from paternity list. Kyle Lobstein optioned to Indianapolis.
5/28: Cole Tucker promoted to Bradenton. Jess Amedee added to West Virginia roster.
THIS DATE IN PIRATES HISTORY
Two former Pittsburgh Pirates players born on this date, both played significant roles with the team. Starting with second baseman Dave Cash, who played for the Pirates from 1969 until 1973. The Pirates signed him as a fifth round draft pick out of high school in 1966 and it didn’t take long for him to make it to the big leagues. During the championship season of 1971, he played 123 games, which was his high while with Pittsburgh. Cash hit .289 during the regular season, then had a .421 average during the NLCS. He struggled during the World Series, going 4-for-30, but the Pirates won it in seven games over the Orioles. After the 1973 season, he was traded to the Phillies for pitcher Ken Brett. Cash ended up making the All-Star team three straight years in Philadelphia.
Also born on this date was outfielder Frank Thomas, who played for the Pirates from 1951 until 1958. He hit .275 with the Pirates, belting 163 homers and driving in 562 runs in 925 games. His home run total ranks seventh in team history. Thomas was part of a big trade that helped the Pirates win the 1960 World Series. In 1959, he was dealt to the Reds in a trade that brought back Smoky Burgess, Don Hoak and Harvey Haddix. During the 1958 season, he finished fourth in the MVP voting and made his third All-Star team.
A late addition to the former players born on this date, infielder Brock Holt, who played for the 2012 Pirates before being sent to the Red Sox in the Joel Hanrahan/Mark Melancon deal. He isn’t included in the link above, which was written before he made the majors, but I’m pretty sure you know who he is anyway. He made the All-Star team as a utility player last year, but has struggled this season and is currently on the disabled list due to a concussion.