Morning Report: A Look at What the Pirates Ended Up with from the 2018 Draft

The 2018 MLB amateur draft signing period wrapped up on Friday with the Pittsburgh Pirates signing 33 players and spending over $10.7 M total when you include the penalty for going over their draft pool. They also signed another seven players who were non-drafted free agents (NDFA), one of them being Patrick Dorrian (pictured), who wasn’t eligible for the draft. This morning I will take a look at what they ended up with from this draft class.

The Pirates didn’t end up with their second overall pick, but it sounds like there were problems with the medicals and they now have the 37th overall pick in next year’s draft as compensation. After Gunnar Hoglund, the next highest pick not to sign was Jason Brandow in the 22nd round. The Pirates went heavy on prep players in the back half of the draft and only ended up signing one of those players. They maxed out their bonus pool and 5% overage allowed before losing a draft pick, so it’s not surprising that they didn’t get any of those players. The Pirates couldn’t offer more than $125,000 to any of them unless they passed on signing 13th round pick Zack Kone, and even then, the prep player would have only been offered $166,725 at the most.

This article is about what they did end up with though, as in 40 players total when you include the seven NDFA players.

Our mid-season top 50 update will include the rankings of these new players, so that part I won’t get into here. We haven’t started the rankings yet and I’m not the only person who does it, so any guesses would be just that, guesses.

Morgantown ended up with more draft picks than any other affiliate and that’s not a surprise, since you’re going to sign more college players and they usually head to Morgantown. Of course, they can’t all go there, otherwise you’d be trying to squeeze playing time from a large group of players all trying to get regular playing time, while at the same time, you’d be leaving back more advanced players from Extended Spring Training (EST) in Bristol.

The Pirates sent a total of 17 draft picks to Morgantown. That group includes eight pitchers, two catchers, four infielders and three outfielders. It also includes first round pick Travis Swaggerty, as well as Connor Kaiser, Aaron Shortridge, Grant Koch, Michael Flynn, Brett Kinneman, Zach Spears, Logan Stoelke and Mike Gretler, who were the 3-10 round picks.

Bristol didn’t get a lot of draft picks, and 15th round pick Jonah Davis was the highest one in the group. He’s been tearing the cover off of the ball, but as mentioned above, Morgantown got three outfielders just from this draft, plus they already outfielders from EST. If the Pirates set Davis to Morgantown, we probably wouldn’t be talking about him at all. Bristol ended up with eight draft picks total and they have two of the NDFA players.

The GCL Pirates were supposed to get a boost from this large class of players sent over from the Dominican last year, but four of those players have been released already and four others went higher than the GCL to start the season. So they ended up with more draft picks than usual, especially when you consider that just three prep players were signed this year. They got 13 players total, with five of those being NDFA players.

Last year’s draft class was a large group as well, with 37 players signed. That usually creates a logjam for players going towards full-season ball the following year, but it also created a stronger competition during Spring Training this year. The fallout was that three pitchers from that group have already retired after spending the spring down at Pirate City, plus those four young players from the DSL were cut recently due to roster space. None of those players look like big losses, but all seven had limited time to develop in the system.

The breakdown of the players signed in this draft class by position is as follows:

RHP: 16

LHP: 3

Catchers: 3

Middle infield: 8

Corner infield: 2

Outfield: 8

The Pirates also handed out a lot of six-figure bonuses in this draft class, even without Hoglund signing. A total of 18 players received at least $100,000 to sign. That’s the same amount as last year when they signed all of their top ten round picks, plus had a compensation pick for not signing Nick Lodolo in 2016. That high number this year should give you an indication that they ended up with some quality picks after the tenth round.

It will take a couple of years to really sort through the draft to see what the Pirates ended up with this year. It’s a college-heavy group so that helps a little with the analysis process when we do our top 50 prospect list this month. It doesn’t have the huge upside potential like last year’s class did with seven prep players and some solid picks in the first 13 rounds, but this group has the higher floor with so many college picks early, plus 16 total college picks receiving six-figure bonuses.

TODAY’S SCHEDULE

Today’s Starter and Notes: The Pittsburgh Pirates won 6-3 over the Washington Nationals on Monday night. Joe Musgrove will be on the mound today for his eighth start, coming off of seven shutout innings against the San Diego Padres in his last start. The scheduled Nationals starter is right-hander Jeremy Hellickson, who has a 3.81 ERA in 52 innings, with 40 strikeouts and a 1.13 WHIP. His last outing was eight runs over four innings against the Miami Marlins.

The minor league schedule includes just four games today and two of those games will be played in the Dominican. Bradenton and Bristol are the only stateside affiliates in action tonight. One day after Clay Holmes pitched for the Marauders, Mitch Keller will start for the team, staying on schedule to pitch in the Futures Game on Sunday. Colin Selby makes his fourth start for Bristol. In his first two games, he threw 6.2 shutout innings total, with one hit and no walks. In his last game, he gave up three runs on five hits and four walks in 3.2 innings. Indianapolis and Altoona are both off until Thursday for the IL/EL All-Star break.

MLB: Pittsburgh (42-48) vs Nationals (45-45) 7:05 PM
Probable starter: Joe Musgrove (3.79 ERA, 36:11 SO/BB, 40.1 IP)

AAA: Indianapolis (48-39) vs Toledo (49-38) 7:05 PM 7/12 (season preview)
Probable starter: TBD (0.00 ERA, 0:0 SO/BB, 0.0 IP)

AA: Altoona (45-39) @ Erie (41-35) 7:05 PM 7/12 (season preview)
Probable starter: TBD (0.00 ERA, 0:0 SO/BB, 0.0 IP)

High-A: Bradenton (42-41) vs Lakeland (47-39) 6:30 PM (season preview)
Probable starter: Mitch Keller (0.00 ERA, 0:0 SO/BB, 0.0 IP)

Low-A: West Virginia (47-37) @ Hickory (39-47) 7:05 PM 7/11 (season preview)
Probable starter: Max Kranick (3.47 ERA, 30:13 SO/BB, 36.1 IP)

Short-Season A: Morgantown (10-14) @ Hudson Valley (15-9) 7:05 PM 7/11 (season preview)
Probable starter: Mike LoPresti (3.00 ERA, 4:5 SO/BB, 12.0 IP)

Rookie: Bristol (10-9) @ Pulaski (8-12) 7:00 PM (season preview)
Probable starter: Colin Selby (2.61 ERA, 11:4 SO/BB, 10.1 IP)

GCL: Pirates (7-10) vs Phillies East 12:00 PM 7/11 (season preview)

DSL: Pirates1 (15-17) vs Rays2 10:30 AM (season preview)

DSL: Pirates2 (13-19) vs Tigers2 10:30 AM (season preview)

HIGHLIGHTS

From Saturday in Bradenton, Albert Baur hits his ninth homer of the season

RECENT TRANSACTIONS

7/9: Sean Rodriguez assigned to Bradenton on rehab.

7/8: Francisco Cervelli activated from disabled list. Jacob Stallings optioned to Indianapolis.

7/7: Pirates activate Michael Feliz, recall Alex McRae from Indianapolis. Dovydas Neverauskas and Josh Smoker optioned to Indianapolis.

7/7: Pirates released Felix Vinicio, Pablo Santana and Carlos Garcia.

7/6: Jake Brentz placed on Bradenton disabled list.

7/6: John O’Reilly assigned to Bristol. Sent back to GCL on 7/7 (really happened)

7/6: Rafelin Lorenzo assigned to GCL Pirates on rehab. Raul Hernandez assigned to West Virginia.

7/6: Jin-De Jhang activated from Altoona disabled list. John Bormann placed on disabled list.

7/6: Clay Holmes optioned to Bradenton. Pirates recall Jordan Luplow.

7/6: Raul Siri assigned to Morgantown.

7/6: Pirates sign Zack Kone

7/5: Royals claim Enny Romero

7/5: Francisco Cervelli assigned to Altoona on rehab.

7/5: Dylan Busby assigned to GCL on rehab.

7/4: Pirates recall Josh Smoker.

7/4: Scooter Hightower promoted to Altoona. Ryan Haug assigned to GCL Pirates.

7/4: Jason Delay activated from Bradenton disabled list.

7/3: Pirates released Larry Alcime.

7/3: Pirates sign Michael Burrows.

7/3: Pirates recall Dovydas Neverauskas. Tanner Anderson optioned to Indianapolis.

7/3: Montana DuRapau promoted to Indianapolis. Erich Weiss placed on disabled list.

7/3: Travis MacGregor activated from West Virginia disabled list. Gavin Wallace promoted to Bradenton.

7/2: Pirates signed a lot of international players.

7/2: Pirates signed even more international players.

7/2: Pirates sign Grant Koch and Mike Gretler.

7/2: Nick Kingham recalled. Jose Osuna optioned to Indianapolis.

7/2: Enny Romero designated for assignment.

7/2: Sean Rodriguez assigned to Indianapolis on rehab

7/1: Calvin Mitchell activated from West Virginia disabled list.

6/30: Ryan Haug assigned to Bradenton.

6/30: Pirates sign Alec Rennard.

THIS DATE IN PIRATES HISTORY

Two former Pittsburgh Pirates players born on this date, and both were pretty good infielders. Starting with the oldest one first, because his career with the Pirates was very brief. Bobby Lowe pinch-hit for the Pirates on April 17, 1904 and struck out in his only at-bat. He never actually signed a deal with the Pirates, and after making the team as a utility player out of Spring Training, he was quickly let go so he could sign with the Tigers. Lowe played 18 seasons in the majors and put together a solid career, but he is known for just one game. On May 30, 1894, he became the first player in Major League history to hit four home runs in one game. Over 1,821 career games, he hit .273, scoring 1,135 times, while driving in 988 runs and stealing 303 bases.

The second player actually made his name with the Pirates, shortstop Gene Alley. He signed with the Pirates out of high school in 1959 and played for the team from 1963 until 1973, which was also his entire big league career. Alley was the double play combo partner of Bill Mazeroski, and while Maz was getting all the defensive attention, Alley won the NL Gold Glove in both 1966 and 1967. He made two All-Star teams and twice received NL MVP votes. He ended his career with 999 base hits, though if you count his playoff stats, he had exactly 1,000. Unfortunately for Alley, he was 1-for-27 during the postseason. He turns 78 today.

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