Draft Signing Deadline Passes Quietly for Pirates

The deadline to sign drafted players was Friday at 5:00 PM and there was nothing new to report for the Pittsburgh Pirates. That’s really not a bad thing because they signed 38 of their 42 picks and spent over $12,000,000 total on bonuses, not including the tax they need to pay for going over their bonus pool.

It appears that the Pirates were trying to still sign 40th round pick Elijah Dunham prior to the deadline. The draft-eligible sophomore announced that he was headed back to Indiana for his junior year yesterday afternoon after negotiating with the Pirates. According to our bonus pool figures, the absolute most that the Pirates could have offered him (or any of the other three unsigned picks) was a $130,800 bonus. If Dunham has an average college season next year, he could still receive the same amount without going in the top ten rounds, so he isn’t risking much by turning down the money. The other three included two high school players and 30th round pick Dawson McCarville, who also has two more years of college eligibility left.

The Pirates signed all of the picks in the top 17 rounds, 19 in all when you include their compensation pick at 37th overall and their competitive balance pick in the 72nd spot.

The group of signings, which can all be found here in our draft tracker, includes six prep players who are all in the GCL now. That group includes first round pick Quinn Priester, 37th overall pick Sammy Siani (pictured above), 11th round pick Jase Bowen, and 17th round pick Ryan Harbin, who received a bonus of $400,000 (includes $2,500 in easily attainable incentives). Between those four players, they received more than half of the entire amount spent on the 38 players signed.

The overall group is loaded with outfielders. The GCL alone got Bowen, Siani, Deion Walker and Isiah Dixon, with the latter two likely to make their debuts soon. Bristol received three outfielders and Morgantown has four of them, all top ten round picks. That’s a huge number of outfielder, but still leaves 27 signed draft picks for other positions.

The breakdown by position is as follows:

OF: 11

RHP: 13

Catcher: 5

LHP: 2

Middle infield: 5

Corner infield: 2

Right-handed pitchers always make up a large portion of your draft class because there are more of them than any other position. The Pirates concentrated on finding catchers after the tenth round and spread those players out among the three lower level affiliates in the U.S. They also signed a sixth catcher (Kaleb Foster) as a non-drafted free agent and added a 14th right-handed pitcher that same way. The only first baseman they selected was 18th round pick Will Simpson and he didn’t sign, but other players signed have already taken turns at first base.

John started working at Pirates Prospects in 2009, but his connection to the Pittsburgh Pirates started exactly 100 years earlier when Dots Miller debuted for the 1909 World Series champions. John was born in Kearny, NJ, two blocks from the house where Dots Miller grew up. From that hometown hero connection came a love of Pirates history, as well as the sport of baseball.

When he didn't make it as a lefty pitcher with an 80+ MPH fastball and a slider that needed work, John turned to covering the game, eventually focusing in on the prospects side, where his interest was pushed by the big league team being below .500 for so long. John has covered the minors in some form since the 2002 season, and leads the draft and international coverage on Pirates Prospects. He writes daily on Pittsburgh Baseball History, when he's not covering the entire system daily throughout the entire year on Pirates Prospects.

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