Pittsburgh Pirates Will Pick Tenth in 2018 Draft

The Pittsburgh Pirates go into the final day of the season guaranteed to get a top ten draft pick in the 2018 draft. The final spot will be decided during today’s action in Washington and Texas.

The best the Pirates can do is get the ninth overall pick, but the worst they can do is get the tenth pick. If they win today against the Nationals, they will choose tenth in the 2018 draft. If the Pirates lose and the Oakland A’s win, then the Pirates will have the ninth overall pick. Both teams have 74 wins right now, but Oakland holds the tiebreaker due to a worse record in 2016. So if both teams win or both lose, the A’s get the higher pick.

The Pirates haven’t had a top ten pick since they took Austin Meadows with the ninth overall pick in 2013. They haven’t finished the season as one of the ten worst teams since 2011, when they got the eighth overall pick for the following season. That was the Mark Appel pick, which turned into the Austin Meadows pick as compensation during the following year after Appel refused to sign.

Besides the benefit of picking one spot earlier at the top of the draft class, one spot in the draft doesn’t seem like a big difference. If you look at it from the bonus pool numbers though, you see that it could make a difference when going over-slot in later rounds. The 2018 draft slot amounts won’t be finalized until a later date, but we can look at 2017 numbers for an idea of the difference. The ninth overall pick this year came with a $1,064,200 slot amount, which was $68,000 more than the slot amount for the tenth pick. You would also look at the differences through the first ten rounds. Everything after the tenth round, now has a $125,000 slot amount.

The difference in cost between the second round picks for the ninth and tenth place teams this year was $34,300. After that, the slot amounts become much closer. The combined total for the differences for rounds 3-10 came up to $23,600, giving you a combined difference for all ten rounds of $125,900 in their bonus pools. Teams are also allowed to go 5% over their bonus pool before receiving a major penalty, which adds another $6,295 to that spending, giving them an extra $132,195 extra to spend. If you use the 2017 draft as an example, the Pirates signed 14th round draft pick Chris Sharpe for $131,000 over slot.

The Pirates will also receive a competitive balance pick after the first round this year, which is guaranteed in the latest CBA. Teams that had a competitive balance pick after the second round this year (Pirates being one of them), get an extra pick after the first round in 2018.

If you want to get a way too early look at the possibilities for the ninth or tenth overall pick in 2018, Baseball America just released their lists of the top 50 prospects in both college and high school.

top 50 college

top 50 high school

While I won’t say that fans should be rooting for a loss today in the final game, you do get a nice little reward in the 2018 draft if the Pirates lose and A’s win.

I’ll update this article (including the title) later after both games go final.

UPDATE 7:45 PM: The Oakland A’s cooperated by winning their game over the Texas Rangers, but the Pirates won 11-8 over the Nationals, so they end up with the tenth overall pick in the 2018 draft.

  • So how deep do the really great prospects go in this draft?

  • It must be some sort of comment on the general weakness of MLB baseball when, as bad as the Bucs were this season, they still end up at the top of the bottom third of MLB.

    • the pirates won 46 percent of their games. they werent *that* bad. 10th from the bottom sounds about right.

  • The 9th overall pick had a slot value of $4,570,000 and the 10th pick had a slot value of $4,376,800. With a competitive balance pick after the first round, then bonus pool should be in excess of $10M next year. I would expect another draft loaded with high upside prep players.

  • I know it is waaay early, but has there been any word on how this draft is shaping up? Is it a deep draft, strong in high school or college talent, better bats than arms, etc.?

  • the Pirates can’t even lose correctly 🙂

  • More importantly, though, John Jaso said he intends to retire and live on a sailboat, in the most John Jaso retirement announcement possible.

    • It’s always good to see people with such a big spotlight on them still being true to themselves. Pure speculation but I’m guessing Jaso realizes he’s looking at minor league deals with Spring Training invites or very small guarantees on a MLB deal for teams in the cellar just hoping to get some production for half a year and flip him for value at the deadline and isn’t into that idea.

  • John, you misread the slot amounts. For 2017, it actually was almost a 200K difference between the 9th and 10th picks. So it is significant. Today was one of those days when it would have been better to drop one.

  • Hats off to the tigers on their tank job

  • maybe brice turang will drop to 9/10. that would be cool

  • Now that we have a Top 10 pick, we can actually go out and sign a Top FA, without losing our #1!

    Oh wait……..

  • If I’d been rooting for losses all season long, this would have been a very fulfilling 2017 campaign.

  • they can draft ian happ or aaron judge wait no

  • It would be great to get #9 pick but the problem lies with what the team does with the pick. Will they go for another Newman and Craig, wasted picks in my eyes or will they go after the best talent even if it costs a little more then slot? Only time will tell but based on prior years picks they will probably go for less then should be expected in order to save money and get a lesser player 10 picks later.

    • meatygettingsaucy
      October 1, 2017 11:49 pm

      Outside the T. Sanchez draft, this really hasn’t been the case for any of Huntington’s picks near the top 10. All of the players had major current or future projection: Alvarez, Taillon, Cole, Appel, Meadows/McGuire. It was when we started picking in the later end of the 1st did we end up taking players like Tucker, Newman, and Craig (whom shouldn’t be written off)

      • We stretched on high picks for guys like Connor Joe, Casey Hughston, and Will Craig, where major doubts regarding their skills existed before the drafts. Cole Tucker is one of those picks that was projected high and has become even better than originally projected.

        Many of the 2017 Playoff Teams promoted young talent aggressively. Something to be learned from that. If Moroff continues to hit for average and power, he is as good as anyone we have at 2B, and Tucker at SS showed very well at Hi A and after a slow start, did very well in AA. Mercer has one year left.

        • wasn’t Hughston like a late 3rd rounder? i mean i guess your point stands, but i feel like drafting a player with doubts around his skills in the late 3rd round is probably something that every single team has to do. If there was a player that *didnt* have major doubts regarding his skills in the 3rd round, then we wouldve… well… been taken way before the 3rd round.

          i wouldnt write off Joe and Craig yet either. oh well.

          • It’s OK to write off Connor Joe since the Pirates traded him and he got traded again recently, I think to the Dodgers.

          • The SEC is the strongest college baseball league. Hughston played at Alabama and was decent overall, but a close look at how he hit in the SEC would have shown .208 the year he was drafted. Not what you want out of a 3rd Round guy who has already used up 3 years in college. Sometimes I think the Pirates outsmart themselves.

            I picked him as my breakout player for 2017 and he did do much better, but he is still learning how to make consistent contact and how to use his footspeed on the bases.

  • Wilbur Miller
    October 1, 2017 11:43 am

    I’ve really tried to get photos of everybody in real unis so we had something other than those comic book ones, but I couldn’t find Sharpe during instructs. Yuk.

    • I almost didn’t use him in the photo because of that, but he was the only player I mentioned besides Meadows and we use his photos often here. Before I searched, I was hoping you got one of Sharpe from instructs

  • I think the draft last year was better than they have had in awhile. If the Pirates can have another good draft as to filling needs like power, position players and a decent pitching core, at least things look improved. 2018 is according to DK sports the Pirates bringing everyone back and making a run. If that fails, lord knows the rebuild will begin if they are smart.

    • 2017 was an excellent draft, and 2013 and 2014 with guys like Meadows, Tucker, Keller, Frazier, Kuhl, Luplow, Hinsz, and DuRapau, along with some strong International Drafts are things to look forward to in 2018 and beyond.

      The 2015 Draft has the possibility of having 2+ good prospects, and 2016 could get us 3 prospect pitchers, but both of those drafts left a lot to be desired.

      • The importance of the first pick, and the need to find success there can’t be overstated. Kevin Newman was an unnecessary duplication when picked given Tucker was the pick the previous year. That pick should have been a power hitter, 3B as the highest priority. The Bucs seemed to compensate with Craig in 2016, but Craig seems to be neither a 3B man or a power hitter right now. Still to early to write off Craig, He could breakout in Altoona next year. But Newman’s bat seems to be suspect at this point. I hope he rebounds next season. Right now he looks to fall short of a utility role.

        • unnecessary duplication? the job of the draft is to produce talent, period. If Newman and Tucker both work out, then guess what… that’s a GREAT problem to have. Maybe you trade one. maybe you move one to 2b. The important thing is that you made a major leaguer that you use or trade for something that you use.

          what can’t-miss power-hitting 3b (or other position) did you want them to take there instead of taking Newman? the names i recognize in the late 1st, comp rounds, and early 2nd are all either pitchers or hitters known for things other than power. I’ll admit that i wish they had Walker Buehler instead.

          I get it if you want to criticize Newman as he exists now, but i’m not sure the concept of drafting SS in consecutive years is the concept to criticize here.

          so much can change from the time you draft these players to when they make an impact in MLB that going in with a priority on a position just seems like a fool’s errand. Gotta take the player you like the most (with signability considerations, of course)

          • I think the ” best player available” cliche needs to be modified to account for a need to balance the need of the team for different types of players. Pitchers vs fielder’s; high OBP fielder’s vs high SLG fielder’s. Each have their slots. The trouble with “develop
            and trade” is that it depends on finding a willing trade partner that wants what you have and has what you want. Easier said than done. Better to draft and develop what you want, taking a balanced approach to who you pick.

            • I can see that if they’re breaking a tie. like if they like two players equally, then of course take one at a position of need.

              the only players drafted between Newman and when they took Hayes that i wish they had instead of Newman are Walker Buehler and Mike Soroka.

              extend it to pick 62 when they got Kramer, and the only other names i really recognize are Scott Kingery and Daz Cameron. Kingery is a little powerful i think. So maybe they couldve taken Kingery (who was taken at 48) instead of Newman at 19. If that’s the argument you want to make.

              there are a lot of guys in that chunk that i’ve never heard of. Personally, i’m just glad they have a guy that projects to be a Major Leaguer. Ultimately, that’s the important thing.

              • You are right. Could be that there just wasn’t quality power bats available. So take what is best of the rest then.

  • I refuse to hope Pirates lose no matter what the minuscule projected benefit happens to be.

  • Nice article, John. I wonder how many, like me, thought of how much better it would have been to not rally in the 9th last night, and go into the last day a game ahead for the #9 pick?

    • I think the strong game by Moroff could be beneficial to him. I was hoping he would see more time over the final month, specifically to get him out of the 2018 prospect guide, but also to see what he could do with regular MLB playing time. He has almost as many days in the majors as he does at-bats this year. Other than Moroff and a strong finish from Taillon, the win just made today a tougher chance to get a higher pick.

      • In reality, can’t we expect 1 or 2 teams picking ahead of us to sign a free agent and lose their pick?

        • Top ten picks were always protected, but the new CBA changed the rules for picks after the tenth overall pick, so unlike before, teams won’t lose their top pick in the draft anymore

          • piraterican21
            October 1, 2017 3:07 pm

            So this the off season the team signs a top flight free agent, was wondering when it was gonna happen.

            • Sure, why not. That line of thought should help you get through March without being disappointed. All bets are off once April hits though.

              My favorite part of the off-season is when the Pirates sign a minor league free agent just like all 29 other teams do and people feel the need to say something regarding the purchase of World Series tickets, or go the opposite way and complain about Indianapolis wanting more than 11 roster spots filled next season. That should be just a month away! #joy

          • Damnit, I knew that, now I feel like a tool.

      • Max for 3rd base!

    • Not I.

    • Hopefully no one – you play to win the game.

      • I always do, but that ship has sailed, and now it is how can we help the team the most for the future.

        John, I could not agree with you more about getting some PT for Moroff. I hate to see us pick up guys like Rodriguez “for old times sake” for more money than we wanted to pay him, or this past off-season when we wanted a guy like Phil Gosselin. I hope that the play of Frazier, Moroff, Osuna, and Luplow have shown that the Pirates can develop some talent also.

  • Finally, something to cheer for

  • cmon oakland!