Before we take a look at a couple players in this year’s draft, there was some news earlier this week about the draft bonus pools around Major League Baseball. Back in late January, Baseball America released the bonus pool slot amounts that were sent out to agents. We have been going with those numbers since then, though at the time I pointed out that they were just proposed numbers and they could change.
In those original numbers, the Pittsburgh Pirates had a bonus pool total of $9,652,200 to spend on their top ten picks and any over-slot amounts after the tenth round. Baseball America received the official numbers from MLB on Wednesday and the Pirates now have a $10,135,900 bonus pool, which is the seventh highest in baseball.
The Pirates have shown a willingness to go up to 5% over their bonus pool, which is the highest amount you can go without losing a draft pick, but there is a penalty tax attached to that overage. If you take that 5% into consideration, then that means the new higher numbers increased their draft pool by $507,885. A total like that could be significant, especially when you consider that Gage Hinsz signed a deal for $580,000 ($480,000 was over-slot) and he’s now a top ten prospect in the system, who has huge upside as a starting pitcher.
I’ll also remind you that the picks after the tenth round saw an increase to their slot amount from $100,000 to $125,000 this year, so that too will give the Pirates some extra money for players they are trying to sign in the late rounds.
The draft begins on June 12th, when the Pirates will make four picks on that first day. They have the 12th, 42nd, 50th and 72nd overall picks. With just over two months left until it starts, expect the mock drafts to pick up soon, which will mean increased draft coverage.
Two More Prep Players to Follow
In last Saturday’s Draft Prospect Watch, we took a look at two high school pitchers (Hans Crouse and Jacob Heatherly) who faced each other in the National High School Invitational. I was able to watch the game and add some thoughts to go along with their scouting reports. Those pitchers were ranked seventh and eighth on the updated high school prospect rankings from MLB Pipeline. That made them good targets for our coverage, since the Pirates have the 12th overall pick in the first round. So going off those new high school rankings, I wanted to take a brief look at two more players on the list, fourth ranked Jordon Adell and sixth ranked Trevor Rogers.
Adell is an outfielder out of Kentucky, who also pitches. He was ranked 11th overall in the draft class earlier this year by MLB Pipeline. Some team might like him as a pitcher due to a fastball that sits 92-94 and touches 97 MPH, with a curve that looks plus at times (see video below for some nasty curves), but his real talent lies as a toolsy outfielder. The big question coming into this season was his ability to make consistent contact. He would compare well to current Pirate Casey Hughston right now, with the huge difference being that Adell is five years younger. He has the raw power, the bat speed, the plus running, an ability the cover a lot of ground in center field and his arm is above average.
Baseball America has this great compilation video from multiple games over the last year for Adell. He would be a bittersweet pick for me, as I’m a fan of Louisville for college baseball, and that’s where he is committed. If he’s taken 12th overall, he will be headed to the pros.
Trevor Rogers is a tall, lanky left-handed pitcher from New Mexico. He was ranked 16th by MLB Pipeline coming into the season and they called him one of the biggest wild cards. I could see the Pirates being very interested in this kid, due to the huge frame and potential for much more than he is currently showing. He does have one thing working against him, and that’s the fact that he turned 19 back in November and he’s still considered raw. For comparison, he’s 17 months older than Jordon Adell. That’s very old for a high school draft pick, as some of them will still be 17 on draft day. Rogers flashed 95 MPH velocity last year and he will show a plus slider at times. His changeup needs work and he doesn’t have the best control.
From Prospect Pipeline, here’s a video from Rogers, where you can see he has a lot of potential for more velocity. Low effort delivery and plenty of room to fill out. One thing you’ll notice is an inconsistent delivery, but despite his current drawbacks, Rogers is dominating this season. He has an 0.64 ERA, and he’s coming off an 11 strikeout performance in his last outing.
** Baseball America is reporting that Houston left-hander Seth Romero has been suspended indefinitely by the team. They also note that this is his second suspension. We covered him here a few weeks ago when BA updated their top 100 draft prospects and placed him tenth overall. Now some team will have to gamble on him due to off-field issues.
** BA is also reporting that prep right-handed pitcher Hunter Ruth will undergo Tommy John surgery. They ranked him 52nd overall in their latest top 100 rankings. Ruth has a commitment to Florida, so it’s likely he will attend college. Any team that drafted him would need to buy him out of that commitment and take over his rehab for the next year.
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.
John, your thoughts on Romero’s value since he’s suspended. It doesn’t take a lot to potentially effect anyone’s position. Substance abuse, legal problems, insubordination, etc are possibilies, but do teams look at one particular area as worse than another?
I would think that certain problems would be considered worse, but he’s a star pitcher at Houston. For him to be suspended twice, it’s probably something bigger than being late for the team bus a couple times or missing a practice. I think he cost himself some money, but some team like the Rangers, who aren’t afraid to take on problems, will still give him seven figures to sign and take that risk.
And, you are absolutely correct that the U of L will be missing a very talented kid because I hope the Pirates draft Jordan Adell with the 12th pick if he lasts that long. BA had a great article about him, his family, work ethic, etc.
Not knowing the reason for the suspension makes it difficult to evaluate, but their is no doubt about his talent. 6’3″ 220 LHSP who is currently only 3-3 but his W/K is 18/76 in 44 IP. I hope the Pirates do their due diligence on this prospect who will just turn 21 right before the draft.