The Pirates signed two of their remaining top ten round draft picks yesterday, locking up fifth round pick Grant Koch, and tenth rounder Mike Gretler. They signed Koch for slot, and Gretler for under-slot, which helps to bring the overall bonus pool into better focus.
At this time, there is only one player left to be signed from the top ten rounds, and that is prep pitcher Gunnar Hoglund, who was taken with the 36th overall pick. Hoglund’s slot amount is $1,967,900, and the Pirates can spend up to $2,483,020 to get him signed without forfeiting a draft pick.
The reality is that the Pirates probably aren’t spending their entire remaining budget on Hoglund. They’ve got other players left unsigned after the tenth round, such as 11th round prep pitcher Michael Burrows, 13th round college shortstop Zack Kone, and a few other prep players in the later rounds.
I’d say it’s almost a guarantee that Burrows will sign, just because the Pirates (and many other teams) use that 11th round spot to get an over-slot pick with their remaining money. They’ve used that pick in the past on Max Kranick, Gage Hinsz, Christian Kelley, Alex Manasa, and Erich Weiss, with everyone but Kelley being over-slot. They have a lot of time to call around and plan for that pick, knowing how much they’d have remaining to spend, and knowing exactly what that player wants. The 11th round guys usually are among the last to sign, and the signing deadline is Friday, so I wouldn’t be surprised to see Burrows signing this week.
The rest of the players beyond the 11th round would really depend on Hoglund. The situation surrounding Hoglund is a bit weird. After the draft, he was quoted saying that he already reached an agreement with the Pirates and would be going pro. Then there was a report last week that he attended summer orientation at Mississippi, which is not what you do when you’re about to turn pro.
We’ll find out this week if Hoglund will sign, but until then, we have two scenarios.
If Hoglund Does Sign
If the Pirates sign Hoglund, I’m guessing it would be around his slot price, or maybe a bit over. Any picks beyond the top ten rounds can receive $125,000 before they count toward the bonus pool.
If Hoglund signs for slot, then the Pirates could sign any one pick beyond the top ten rounds for about $640,000 before giving up a draft pick. Or they could sign two guys beyond the tenth round for up to $382,560 each. Or some combination in between where one player receives more and one receives less. The amount they can spend after the 10th round obviously goes down if Hoglund receives over-slot.
My guess is that if Hoglund does sign, we could see two guys beyond the tenth round signing, and will definitely see one other guy signing. It all just depends on how much Hoglund signs for.
If Hoglund Doesn’t Sign
The scenario where Hoglund signs is pretty straight forward. He signs, and the Pirates have X amount of money remaining for guys after the tenth round. The scenario where he doesn’t sign is a bit more tricky.
First, if he doesn’t sign, the Pirates would get compensation next year with the 37th overall pick. That pick would still be protected for another year, meaning they would get compensation the following year if that pick doesn’t sign. This scenario played out when Nick Lodolo didn’t sign in 2016, which led to an extra pick that the Pirates used on Steven Jennings in 2017.
As for the impact this year, the Pirates would lose Hoglund’s slot value from their bonus pool if he didn’t sign. That would drop their available spending to $416,725 after the tenth round, which means they could sign any one player for $541,725, or any two players for $333,363, or anything in between.
If Hoglund doesn’t sign, it might make it more difficult for the Pirates to sign more than one guy beyond the 10th round. They’ve spent anywhere from $300,000 to $580,000 on over-slot 11th round picks in the past. If they do sign Burrows to continue that trend, and if he’s on the high end of that amount, then he would be their lone signing if Hoglund doesn’t sign. There could be the possibility of one of the remaining guys signing for around $125,000, but I think if that was realistic, it would have already happened.
What Will Happen This Week?
It’s not uncommon for over-slot guys in the top ten rounds to sign this late, even if they agreed to a deal early. So I’m not ruling anything out with Hoglund. The Pirates have until Friday at 5:00 PM to get him signed, along with anyone else they can get to sign.
I don’t know if they’ll sign Hoglund. Based on their history, I think it’s a very safe bet that they sign Burrows, regardless of what happens with Hoglund.
The outcome with Hoglund could determine whether they can sign anyone else beyond the top ten rounds. That doesn’t mean they absolutely will sign extra people if Hoglund does sign. But if he doesn’t sign, it would make it more difficult to get extra people beyond the top ten rounds, as it would drop their available spending.
We’ll see how it all plays out by Friday afternoon.