It’s going to be a little while before we know how much of their bonus pool the Pittsburgh Pirates will give to the players selected in the first ten rounds. We do know a couple things, besides the fact that first round pick Shane Baz and sixth round pick Cody Bolton have both apparently agreed to deals. The first thing we know is that the Pirates took five high school players with upside, who will all get bonus that should equal or exceed their slot value. We also know that the Pirates took some other picks that should save them money to spend elsewhere in the draft. We will need to know the actual bonuses before either of those things matter.
The reason you want to know what is left in the bonus pool is it could affect the picks today, specifically, the 11th round pick. The Pirates have spent money on this pick in the past, signing Erich Weiss, Gage Hinsz and Max Kranick for over-slot deals. Since the bonus pool came into effect in 2012, only twice have the Pirates not gone over slot with the 11th round pick. The first year they signed Chris Diaz for $100,000 and in 2015 they signed Christian Kelley for the same amount. Diaz never looked the part of a special player, but Kelley showed a lot of improvements last year and he continues to hit well this year, while playing solid defense behind the plate. They didn’t spend a lot to get him, but they did get a prospect whose stock continues to rise.
So you might be able to get a good idea of whether or not the Pirates will have money to play with for over-slot deals after the tenth round, when they make their first pick today just after noon. There are two things to consider with the 11th round pick. The first is that the slot amount for every pick after the tenth round is now up to $125,000. Not a huge increase, but it’s $25,000 more that they have to work with before they start spending bonus pool money.
The second part is much more significant. With a bonus pool just over $10,000,000, there is that 5% mark that you’re allowed to go over you pool by without significant penalties (aka loss of draft picks). The Pirates have shown a willingness in the past to pay the overage tax on that 5% to get more players signed. That added leeway gives them an extra $500,000+ to work with this year. That doesn’t mean they will use it, but it’s there.
So watch for the 11th round pick today. There is a chance that they are negotiating right now with players who have an over-slot number in mind for their bonus. If the Pirates think (or know) that the money is there for them to go over slot, then you could see a player taken with that first pick today who was considered more of a 2nd-4th round pick coming into the draft. There are some high school players still on the board who have significant upside.
If you go to this link for MLB.com’s draft tracker, it gives you the best undrafted players according to MLB Pipeline’s rankings. There are still 12 players in their top 100 available to be selected, with 11 of them being high school players. I’m sticking to my guns and saying that Brady McConnell fits the Pirates and the type of player they look for in the draft. He’s an athletic shortstop, whose skills would translate to other positions if needed. He’s a Florida commit and that’s a great baseball school, so that likely scared teams off. McConnell also struggled a lot early in the season, so depending on when teams saw him, the bonus may not fit the player.
Of course, I could just go with the obvious and assume they want a 6’4″ right-handed pitcher, which the Pirates would clone in a factory if they could. Kyle Hurt, ranked 78th, sure would look nice in the GCL this year keeping Tim Williams busy (busier) this summer. Hurt touches 94 MPH, with plenty of projection and a nice curve/changeup combo. He’s a USC commit, and started slow this year, so it’s another case like McConnell, where it could be performance and/or bonus related based on when scouts saw him.
Just a reminder, we will have all 30 picks today covered here. Going with a running post today and adding them as we finish their player pages, which can be found in our draft tracker.
Bradenton trails in their division by one game with six games remaining in the first half. They do not play first place Palm Beach again during the first half.
West Virginia has been eliminated from the first half playoffs.
PIRATES GAME GRAPH
Today’s Starter and Notes: The Pittsburgh Pirates defeated the Colorado Rockies by a 5-2 score on Tuesday night. The Pirates will send Chad Kuhl to the mound today for his 13th start of the season. He went five innings in his last start, allowing just one run on the road against Baltimore. In his previous outing, he gave up two runs over five innings. Kuhl has a 7.71 ERA at home and 3.42 on the road. The Rockies will counter with 22-year-old right-hander German Marquez, who has a 4.44 ERA in 48.2 innings, with 49 strikeouts and a 1.44 WHIP.
In the minors, Tyler Glasnow makes his first start since being demoted from the Pirates last week (note: Nick Kingham is listed in one spot, Glasnow in another and he has been scheduled for today since the weekend. So we might see Kingham today and Glasnow tomorrow or vice versa). In 12 starts with Pittsburgh this season, Glasnow had a 7.45 ERA and a 1.91 WHIP, with 50 strikeouts in 54.1 innings. His last start with Indianapolis was last year on September 1st, when he gave up one run over 5.1 innings, striking out eight batters. Bradenton was rained out yesterday, so they will play a doubleheader today. Gage Hinsz pitched five shutout innings in his last start and finished his previous start with shutout ball over the last four frames.
MLB: Pittsburgh (30-35) vs Rockies (41-26) 7:05 PM
Probable starter: Chad Kuhl (5.63 ERA, 24:44 BB/SO, 54.1 IP)
AAA: Indianapolis (34-29) @ Norfolk (27-37) 7:05 PM (season preview)
Probable starter: Tyler Glasnow (NR) -OR- Nick Kingham (4.73 ERA, 11:24 BB/SO, 26.2 IP)
AA: Altoona (34-28) vs Portland (28-31) 7:00 PM (season preview)
Probable starter: Yeudy Garcia (5.80 ERA, 28:41 BB/SO, 45.0 IP)
High-A: Bradenton (36-25) vs Tampa (33-31) 4:00 PM DH (season preview)
Probable starter: Gage Hinsz (6.80 ERA, 16:26 BB/SO, 47.2 IP) and TBD
Low-A: West Virginia (28-33) @ Charleston (31-34) 7:05 PM (season preview)
Probable starter: Cam Vieaux (2.67 ERA, 10:33 BB/SO, 57.1 IP)
DSL: Pirates (4-5) vs Brewers/Indians (4-5) 10:30 AM (season preview)
Here are a couple videos of Shane Baz, the first round pick of the Pirates.
Video #2 shows he’s already pitched at Wrigley Field.
6/13: Adrian Valerio and Victor Fernandez activated from disabled list. Sandy Santos and Andrew Walker assigned to Morgantown
6/13: Barrett Barnes placed on disabled list. Justin Maffei and Eury Perez assigned to Indianapolis.
6/13: Anderson Feliz assigned to Altoona.
6/12: Jameson Taillon activated from disabled list. Phil Gosselin optioned to Indianapolis.
6/11: Kevin Kramer placed on disabled list.
6/10: Chris Diaz traded to Miami Marlins.
6/10: Dovydas Neverauskas and Tyler Glasnow optioned to Indianapolis. A.J. Schugel and Edgar Santana promoted to Pittsburgh.
6/10: Pat Light designated for assignment.
6/10: Jason Stoffel assigned to Indianapolis. Placed on disabled list.
6/8: Brandon Waddell placed on disabled list.
6/8: Brandon Cumpton assigned to Bradenton.
6/8: Pirates recall Dovydas Neverauskas. Johnny Barbato optioned to Indianapolis.
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.
THIS DATE IN PIRATES HISTORY
Two former Pittsburgh Pirates players born on this date, plus seven trades of note. Mark Lee pitched for the 1980-81 Pirates after they acquired him in a trade from the San Diego Padres. He pitched 16 games out of the bullpen with the Pirates and was traded away during Spring Training in 1982. Also born on this date, Randy Tomlin, who was a member of three playoff teams. He pitched from the Pirates from 1990 until 1994, making 94 starts and 12 relief appearances. He started one game during the 1991 playoffs and pitched twice in relief in the 1992 playoffs.
Seven trades of note on this date, all listed below. Details of each trade can be found in the link above.
1892: Pirates trade Hall of Fame pitcher Pud Galvin to the St Louis Browns for second baseman Cub Stricker. Three days later, without ever playing for the Pirates, Stricker was traded to the Baltimore Orioles for pitcher Adonis Terry.
1917: Third baseman Doug Baird sent to the Cardinals for pitcher Bob Steele.
1940: Catcher Ray Berres sent to the Boston Bees for catcher Al Lopez, who is a HOF manager.
1953: Infielder Pete Castiglione sent to the Cardinals for outfielder Hal Rice.
1954: Hal Rice (yes him again), traded to Cubs for outfielder Luis Marquez.
1982: Pitcher Eddie Solomon sent to White Sox for infielder Jim Morrison.
1983: Outfielder Marvell Wynne dealt to Mets for catcher Junior Ortiz.