Morning Report: A Closer Look at Some Late Round Draft Picks

Our draft tracker has been updated with some bonuses from after the 11th round that might sound a little surprising, since later round pick usually don’t cost much. That is unless they are high school players, JUCO or draft-eligible sophomores, where you’re buying away multiple years of college and a chance to improve their draft stock. College juniors can improve their stock, but that doesn’t necessarily mean they will get more money, and that’s because they have no signing leverage as seniors.

The only two players we announced bonuses for after the tenth round were Max Kranick and Austin Shields, because they were the only two over-slot deals. Picks after the tenth round have a $100,000 slot amount, so anything up to that amount doesn’t count against the bonus pool. Basically, a $1 bonus and a $100,000 bonus have the same effect on your draft bonus pool, which is no effect.

Some of the college juniors still got a significant amount, as shown below with their draft round and bonus amount:

12. Arden Pabst, $75,000

13. John Pomeroy, $100,000

16. Matt Diorio, $100,000

17. Matt Frawley, $60,000

18. Kevin Mahala, $80,000

20. Adam Oller, $70,000

The bonuses seem to make these players more interesting, because they didn’t sign cheap. Some juniors will sign for $20,000-$50,000, but I noticed while looking through the draft tracker on Baseball America that late round signings in the 11th-20th round range now have a lot of players who get between $75,000 and $100,000, so these prices aren’t out of line. The thing with them is, you’re paying for one year of college, while the seniors are getting $10,000 or less to sign. The extra cost is paying for the possible upside of getting them into your system a year earlier over a college senior who might be closer to being a finished product.

So with that in mind, let’s take a closer look at them and how they are doing so far. Their player pages can be found in the draft tracker linked above.

Pabst is a strong defensive catcher who didn’t hit much in three years at Georgia Tech. The Pirates clearly paid the 21-year-old for his glove with the hope that he will be able to hit enough someday to make the majors. In 14 games with Morgantown, he has a .541 OPS. On defense, he is 9-for-22 in throwing out runners.

Pomeroy was advertised as a hard-throwing, 6’5″ righty with control issues. He had very limited mound time in college, so he is a project. The 21-year-old (22 in early October) had pitched 5.1 innings for Bristol, with two hits, seven walks and nine strikeouts. Looks like the scouting reports were right on with him as well.

Matt Diorio’s scouting report had him as a lefty line drive hitter, who takes his share of walks, but also strikes out too much, especially for someone with no power. The 20-year-old (turns 21 next Sunday) right fielder has a decent .724 OPS in 17 games, with ten walks and 18 strikeouts. I could see the potential here, with him being young for the draft class and he missed a good chunk of the season with a hand injury. If that affected his junior stats, then there could be more to him that we didn’t see in college this year. Right now though, we are 3-for-3 on scouting reports compared to early stats.

Matt Frawley seems like the safest player of this group, with strong stats as the top pitcher for Purdue this year. He can hit 94 MPH and has a curve that ranks at least average. I thought he would be a starter somewhere, but they are using him in the Morgantown bullpen, where he has strong results. I wouldn’t be surprised to see him start next year and the reliever usage this season could just be due to the innings increase he saw in college this year.

Kevin Mahala is hitting well early with Morgantown, albeit with too many strikeouts. He’s playing three different infield positions, so the versatility is a plus. He hit well in college this year and improved each season, but there are some issues. He was never one to take walks in college and he doesn’t have any speed. He also turns 22 on Tuesday, so that puts him on the old side for the draft class. I’ll say that his bonus surprised me, but there has to be something there. He has a very strong arm, and has pitched in the past, so it’s possible that’s a fallback if he doesn’t make it as a hitter.

Adam Oller was starting at Bristol, then moved to the bullpen recently. He has been hit around a little in his 11.1 innings, though the 2:14 BB/SO ratio looks really nice. There could actually be something there with him because he’s a big kid at 6’4″, 225 pounds and he has been a workhorse in college. He also commands three pitches, with a curve that was called a plus pitch and an average fastball/changeup combo to go along with it. He’s like Frawley, where it wouldn’t be surprising to see him as a starter next year.


Source: FanGraphs


Today’s Starter and Notes: The Pirates lost 6-0 to the Nationals on Saturday night. Chad Kuhl now gets the start this afternoon, trying to salvage one game from the series. He last started eight days ago, allowing four runs on seven hits in 2.1 innings against the Cubs. In his previous appearance, Kuhl allowed two runs over six innings against Oakland. The Nationals will counter with Max Scherzer, who has a 3.03 ERA in 127.2 innings, with 164 strikeouts and an 0.96 WHIP. In his last start, he shutout the Mets for seven innings. In his last three starts combined, Scherzer has allowed one earned run over 20.1 innings.

In the minors, West Virginia has a doubleheader today after a rain out last night. Gage Hinsz will start one of the games, coming off an outing in while he threw seven shutout innings. His control has improved a ton over last year, going from 23 walks in 38 innings, to seven walks in 44.1 innings this season.

Stephen Tarpley looks to bounce back from an outing in which he allowed six runs over six innings. Frank Duncan has allowed nine earned runs over his last seven starts. Brandon Waddell threw six shutout innings in his last game.

The DSL Pirates are on their All-Star break until Monday. The GCL Pirates are off today. Ike Schlabach gets the start for Bristol. Morgantown doesn’t have a starter listed, but it should be Matt Anderson starting with Luis Escobar following him.

Afternoon Updates: Yunior Montero is starting game two for West Virginia with Hinsz going tomorrow, while Luis Escobar will start for Morgantown.

MLB: Pittsburgh (46-44) @ Nationals (56-36) 1:35 PM
Probable starter: Chad Kuhl (6.08 ERA, 5:8 BB/SO, 13.1 IP)

AAA: Indianapolis (49-46) @ Louisville (46-48) 6:05 PM (season preview)
Probable starter: Frank Duncan (2.49 ERA, 9:52 BB/SO, 61.1 IP)

AA: Altoona (52-40) vs Harrisburg (49-43) 1:00 PM (season preview)
Probable starter: Brandon Waddell (4.48 ERA, 33:47 BB/SO, 62.1 IP)

High-A: Bradenton (49-41) vs Clearwater (54-37) 5:00 PM (season preview)
Probable starter: Stephen Tarpley (3.96 ERA, 24:58 BB/SO, 61.1 IP)

Low-A: West Virginia (47-44) @ Hickory (48-44) 3:00 PM DH (season preview)
Probable starter: Bret Helton (3.63 ERA, 33:63 BB/SO, 89.1 IP) and Gage Hinsz (3.45 ERA, 7:30 BB/SO, 44.1 IP)

Short-Season A: Morgantown (14-15) @ Williamsport (16-13) 5:05 PM (season preview)
Probable Starter: TBD

Rookie: Bristol (10-12) vs Danville (10-12) 6:00 PM (season preview)

GCL: Pirates (9-11) vs Blue Jays (17-3) 12:00 PM 7/18 (season preview)

DSL: Pirates (14-22) vs Mets1 (18-17) 10:30 AM 7/18 (season preview)


Here are two homers from Eric Wood, who connected on his 12th and 13th homers on Friday night.

Homer #2


7/16: Elias Diaz assigned to Altoona on rehab.

7/16: Gerrit Cole activated from the disabled list. Josh Bell optioned to Indianapolis.

7/15: Pirates sign Austin Shields. Assigned to GCL Pirates.

7/15: Pirates sign Boomer Synek. Assigned to GCL Pirates.

7/14: Francisco Cervelli assigned to Indianapolis on rehab.

7/14: John Kuchno assigned to Altoona.

7/14: Jordan George promoted to West Virginia

7/13: Daniel Zamora placed on West Virginia disabled list.

7/13: Colten Brewer activated from temporary inactive list. Nick Neumann placed on Bradenton disabled list.

7/12: Rob Scahill claimed off waivers by Brewers.

7/10: Ryan Vogelsong assigned to Altoona on rehab.

7/9: Jonathan Schwind promoted to Indianapolis.

7/8: Pirates sign Josh Outman.

7/8: Josh Bell promoted to Pittsburgh. Tyler Glasnow optioned to Indianapolis.

7/8: Nick Kingham assigned to GCL Pirates on rehab.

7/7: Juan Paula promoted to Morgantown.

7/7: Tyler Glasnow recalled. Kyle Lobstein optioned to Indianapolis.

7/6: Steven Brault optioned to Indianapolis. Kyle Lobstein promoted to Pirates.

7/6: Jacob Stallings sent outright to Indianapolis.

7/6: Pirates released Clario Perez.

7/5: Gerrit Cole assigned to Indianapolis on rehab.

7/5: Steven Brault promoted to Pirates. Jacob Stallings designated for assignment.

7/5: Austin Meadows placed on Indianapolis disabled list.

7/5: Tomas Morales promoted to Indianapolis (sent back to Altoona on 7/6)

7/4: Jameson Taillon placed on 15-day disabled list.

7/4: Jin-De Jhang promoted to Indianapolis. Tomas Morales assigned to Altoona.

7/4: Erik Lunde activated from disabled list. Assigned to Bradenton. Raul Hernandez assigned to GCL.

7/4: Elias Diaz assigned to Bradenton on rehab.

7/4: Chris Stewart placed on disabled list.

7/4: Pirates claim Eric Fryer off waivers. Rob Scahill placed on waivers.


Four former Pittsburgh Pirates players born on this date, plus a trade of note and a recap of a very long game. We start with the players, beginning with the most recent first. They are: Brian Rogers, who pitched for the 2006-07 Pirates, outfielder Jerry Lynch, who had two stints with the team. He was around from 1954 until 1956, then again from 1963 until 1966. He hit .263 with 45 homers in 544 games for the Pirates. Also two pitchers from the 19th century, Chummy Gray (1899) and Jim Handiboe, who pitched for the franchise in 1886, the year before they moved from the American Association to the National League.

On this date in 1998, the Pirates traded pitcher Esteban Loaiza to the Texas Rangers for pitcher Todd Van Poppel and second baseman Warren Morris. This deal looked great short-term, as Morris finished third in the Rookie of the Year voting in 1999, but he quickly dropped off and was released just three years later. Van Poppel pitched poorly for the Pirates, while Loaiza eventually became an All-Star pitcher, though that was after his time with Texas ended.

On this date in 1914, the Pirates and Giants played 21 innings at Forbes Field. The Pirates ended up losing 3-1 with starter Babe Adams getting the loss and Giants’ starter Rube Marquard picking up the win. That’s right, a 21 inning game and only two pitchers were used. You can read a full recap from this game in the link above. Here is the boxscore from that game. Perhaps even more interesting is that the Pirates played doubleheaders the day before and the day after this game.




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joe s

Why do the Pirates think they can teach hitting one of the most difficult things in sports? The pirates seem to do this every year with international prospects. Why not just take proven hitters and teach them how to field?


Is there a series the Pirates have played this year where they have missed the other team’s aces? It seems like every time they get Arrieta, Strasburg, Scherzer, Wainwright, or whoever else. They really could nor have had a tougher draw it seems. They haven’t fared well either…although when you pitch a staff that is basically a flaming pile of garbage against those guys you are in trouble.


I know this was about late round picks, but the head scratching pick of Will Craig continues to be a head scratcher.
From the Prospect Report:

First round pick Will Craig hit his fourth double, walked twice and scored a run. He also committed his sixth error in his 12th game at third base. He has a .169/.355/.225 slash line in 22 games.

It looks like HIS scouting report is ringing true. He had trouble hitting in wood bat leagues and he can’t field.

Hey…..I know it’s early, but………………..

Edward C

I saw Newman at the same stage and he looked awful. Hopefully the kid turns it around. I haven’t watched Craig in person yet.


I hope he does, too, but even if he DOES hit, he seems to be a Billy Butler clone. Billy is an AL player all the way. Strange pick.

Edward C

So Pabst = Kratz?


Not really….I’ve never heard of Kratz beer.

Edward C

I was waiting on that one. Since Craig is in Morgantown with Pabst maybe he is partaking of too much of the Pabst namesake product. Although IC light was the choice for poor college students when i was there.


I loved hitting softballs. 🙂

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