The Pittsburgh Pirates drafted a total of 41 players last year and they ended up signing 28 of those players. Out of the 13 who didn’t sign, 11 of them are draft eligible again this year. The only two exceptions are 41st overall pick Nick Lodolo, who went to TCU and 24th round pick Austin Bodrato, who attends Florida. Lodolo isn’t eligible to be drafted again until 2019, while Bodrato will be a draft-eligible sophomore next year due to his age.

We posted an article last week which mentioned that Baseball America expanded the draft prospects list to 500 spots. They do that every year and it’s a list we often reference during the draft, even if the Pirates don’t make many picks from the list. When they make their first pick who is a player not in the top 500, it will be noted, and you hope that doesn’t happen until day three of the draft when they select the 11-40 round picks.

I mentioned this list because it’s also a good test to see how the Pirates did with players they drafted and were unable to sign. If they couldn’t sign the players but they ended up making this list, it’s a good sign for the scouting. That’s especially true if you consider that the Pirates signed all of their first 13 round picks (except Lodolo), so all of the players left are starting from further down the list. It wouldn’t be that impressive if they didn’t sign a fourth round pick and that player ended up in the top 500 the next year.

So here’s a look at the 11 players who went unsigned last year and who are in this upcoming draft, which starts on Monday night. I’ve included the round in which they were drafted, along with the corresponding overall spot. If they aren’t in the BA 500 right now, then there is an “NR” next to their name for not ranked.

14/435. Hagen Owenby – NR

19/585. Pearson McMahan – NR

28/855. Michael Danielak – NR

30/915. Chris Cook – NR

32/975. Ben Miller – NR

34/1035. Craig Dedelow – NR

36/1095. Dustin Williams – NR

37/1125. Colin Brockhouse – NR

38/1155. Aaron Maher – NR

39/1185. Harrison Wenson – NR

40/1215. Bret Boswell – NR

I probably should have looked over the list first before I wrote the top part out, but I was going to list the players anyway just as a refresher. It’s possible the Pirates could redraft 1-2 of these players. The player actually has to sign a waiver that allows a team to redraft them, which almost always happens.

I’m actually surprised that two of the players didn’t make the top 500. Hagen Owenby made a lot of noise after the draft last year by putting on a crazy home run display during a home run derby. Colin Brockhouse was getting strong scouting reports at one point early this season, so he must have dropped off at some point. Owenby and Chris Cook, his teammate at East Tennessee St., both put up strong numbers this season, though their team plays in a high offense environment, so the stats need to be looked at in context.

I’ll note that none of these players were in Baseball America’s top 500 last year either. It seems odd that not one of them improved their draft stock enough to get on the list, though you could see many of them move up rounds. That’s because they could be senior signs in the top ten rounds, which allows teams to sign them cheap and put that slot money towards someone else. Owenby, Brockhouse and Maher are juniors this year, while McMahan is a Juco player, so he could transfer to a four-year college and still have two more seasons to be drafted.

So if you go by the Baseball America top 500 list, you could look at it two ways. They didn’t miss out by not signing any of these players, or they didn’t do a great job finding potential late round talent. With three sophomores, one Juco player and 11 players total, the odds should have been in their favor to get at least one player who increased their draft profile.

Most teams will tell you that the later picks are a crap shoot anyway and there isn’t a big difference between a 20th round pick or a 40th round pick, unless it’s a HS player who slipped due to bonus demands. Who the teams are taking that late depends more on who is left on their draft board. If no one is taking your players, then your 40th round pick will rank high on your draft board, while the opposite could also happen and you’re scraping the bottom of barrel for your later picks.

The draft begins in just four days with the Pirates making the 12th, 42nd, 50th and 72nd overall picks that first day.

PLAYOFF PUSH

Bradenton trails in their division by 1.5 games with 11 games remaining in the first half. They do not play first place Palm Beach again during the first half.

West Virginia trails their division leader by six games, with 11 games left in the first half. They are in fifth place.

PIRATES GAME GRAPH


Source: FanGraphs

TODAY’S SCHEDULE

Today’s Starter and Notes: The Pittsburgh Pirates lost 9-6 to the Baltimore Orioles on Wednesday night. The Pirates now travel home to play the Miami Marlins for four games as part of a ten-game homestand. Gerrit Cole will be on the mound tonight. He has made 12 starts this season, five of them coming at home where he has a 2.53 ERA. Cole did not pitch against Miami when the two teams met earlier this year. The Marlins will counter with former Pirate Edinson Volquez, who threw a no-hitter in his last outing.

In the minors, Gage Hinsz is scheduled to start for Bradenton. He was supposed to go on Sunday, but rain outs for three days in a row, then an off-day on Wednesday, pushed him back to today. His last start was back on May 30th, when he allowed four runs in the second inning, then finished his outing with four shutout innings. Yeudy Garcia has reached the sixth inning just once this season in nine starts. His longest outing was 5.2 innings back on May 23rd.

MLB: Pittsburgh (26-33) vs Marlins (25-33) 7:05 PM
Probable starter: Gerrit Cole (4.27 ERA, 20:40 BB/SO, 71.2 IP)

AAA: Indianapolis (32-26) @ Toledo (26-31) 7:05 PM (season preview)
Probable starter: Drew Hutchison (4.04 ERA, 23:44 BB/SO, 55.2 IP)

AA: Altoona (32-24) @ Harrisburg (23-34) 7:00 PM (season preview)
Probable starter: Yeudy Garcia (5.13 ERA, 22:40 BB/SO, 40.1 IP)

High-A: Bradenton (33-23) @ Dunedin (29-29) 6:30 PM (season preview)
Probable starter: Gage Hinsz (7.59 ERA, 14:21 BB/SO, 42.2 IP)

Low-A: West Virginia (27-28) vs Delmarva (24-33) 7:05 PM (season preview)
Probable starter: Matt Anderson (3.50 ERA, 18:47 BB/SO, 46.1 IP)

DSL: Pirates (2-2) vs Indians (1-3) 10:30 AM (season preview)

HIGHLIGHTS

Here are two homers from Altoona’s game on Tuesday. First up is Jordan Luplow with his 14th.

Followed by Wyatt Mathisen with his third of the season.

RECENT TRANSACTIONS

6/7: Francisco Cervelli placed on disabled list. Jacob Stallings added to Pirates.

6/7: Tomas Morales assigned to Indianapolis. Zane Chavez activated from Altoona disabled list.

6/5: Casey Sadler promoted to Indianapolis. Dan Runzler placed on disabled list.

6/4: Cole  Tucker placed on disabled list. Daniel Arribas added to Bradenton roster.

6/2: Pirates designate Alen Hanson for assignment. Recall Max Moroff and Phil Gosselin.

6/2: Adrian Valerio placed on disabled list. Andrew Walker added to West Virginia.

6/2: Jameson Taillon assigned to Indianapolis on rehab.

6/1: Gift Ngoepe optioned to Indianapolis

6/1: Brett McKinney assigned to Indianapolis

5/31: Anderson Feliz added to Indianapolis roster. Brett McKinney assigned to Morgantown.

5/30: Chris Stewart placed on disabled list. Pirates recall Elias Diaz.

5/30: Jackson Williams promoted to Indianapolis. Tomas Morales added to Altoona roster.

5/30: Trae Arbet added to West Virginia roster. Andrew Walker assigned to Morgantown.

THIS DATE IN PIRATES HISTORY

Three former Pittsburgh Pirates players born on this date, plus a trade of note and a game from 1989 that went bad for the Pirates and one of their announcers. First the players, and there is one that spent ten seasons in Pittsburgh. Pitcher George Brunet (1970 Pirates) and pitcher Scott Ruskin (1990), share a birthday with pitcher Don Robinson, who played for the Pirates from 1978 until 1987. Robinson wasn’t just a good pitcher, he was also one of the better hitting pitchers. He won three Silver Slugger awards during his career. Robinson won 65 games for the Pirates, and in 1979 when the Pirates won the World Series, the team went 18-7 in his starts. He was traded to the Giants in 1987 for Mackey Sasser and cash.

On this date in 1928, the Pirates traded catcher Johnny Gooch and first baseman Joe Harris to Brooklyn for catcher Charlie Hargreaves. Gooch played eight years in Pittsburgh and was the catcher for two World Series teams in 1925 and 1927. Harris was a .317 career hitter at the time and hitting .391 in limited action in 1928, but the Pirates must have seen the writing on the wall, as he hit .236 the rest of the season and never played in the big leagues again. The Pirates ended up getting the better part of the deal, but not by much. Hargreaves was a starter in 1928 and 1929, then became a seldom-used bench player in 1930, his last season in the majors.

On this date in 1989, the Pirates took a ten run lead in the top of the first inning and announcer Jim Rooker promised to walk home from Philadelphia if the Pirates blew the lead. He may have wanted to wait a little bit because the Phillies had their offense going and they were only down by four before the fourth inning ended. They went on to defeat the Pirates by a 15-11 score and Rooker did the walk from Philly to Pittsburgh for charity in the off-season, which was the only good thing that came from the game for the Pirates. The boxscore can be found here.

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5 COMMENTS

  1. Glad that you indicated that the Pirate will not chose many of BA’s top 500 prospects but they dam well better take them with their first 10 picks. If they do not pick these players you can only point to their ability to know more then all of the entirety of all of baseball’s knowledge. If that were remotely true then the Pirates would be the greatest team in baseball history. This is a shame really I mean sham.

  2. It would be interesting to go back a few years and look at a few of the noteworthy picks that got away. Some were noteworthy at the time for failing to sign. Some became noteworthy by being successful later on. Some examples, Trea Turner, Walker Buehler, Taylor Hearn, Mark Appel. What happened to that guy the Pirates had an agreement with but MLB took too long to approve the contract and he changed his mind? I think it was Dace Kime but I’m not sure.

    • It was Dace Kime and he ended up okay, getting slightly more from the Indians three years later. He made it to AA last year, but he’s been out with an injury this year.

      I like looking at the guys who didn’t get big offers, but were taken late. Turner was offered $500,000 and turned it down. Appel we all know, Buehler wanted $1M to sign, which wasn’t possible with the cap. Hearn I never heard about, but Jake Lamb is the best example. Pirates took him in 2009 and couldn’t sign him. He ended signing for only $161K, then has turned into a regular MLB player

  3. Great info John. I did some research on Jake Burger and he too plays in a high offense atmosphere at Missouri St. Last 2 years he has hit 21, and 22 HR, but has never led the team on his own. Last year a teammate of his hit 24, and this year another teammate, Soph SS Jeremy Eierman, tied him for the team lead by hitting 22 HR. I’d pass on Burger, and if Eierman was draft eligible, I would pick him ahead of Burger.

    • Eierman > Burger is a slam dunk IMO. A guy who can play D1 college SS can project to play almost anywhere in the big leagues. A big, slow college 3B is destined to be tethered to first base if he ever makes the big leagues.
      Eierman sounds like a potential first round pick next year.

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