Prospect Roundtable: Evaluating the 2022 Pirates Draft Class

The Pittsburgh Pirates wrapped up their 2022 draft class by signing 19 of 21 picks. You can check out each selection and their player page on our new Draft Tracker.

With the 2022 signing class now finalized, we got together for a Roundtable to give our views of how this draft played out for the Pirates.
I'm not a fan of how the Pirates handled this draft class. Their bonus pool was too high to end up with the group of players they signed. They also didn't max out their bonus pool by using the 5% overage. It's there to use, don't leave it on the table. They didn't sign a single player to an over-slot deal after the tenth round and failed to sign two players who had upside. The went fairly straight forward with their picks, basically like they were on an auto-pick mode. This...



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I really can’t tell if this is ana average, straight how there board fell draft, or just looks really poor compared to last year?


Let’s be realistic here. Maybe 90% of it all hangs on Termarr. If he’s a solid regular, the draft is good. If he’s not, it isn’t. But Anthony is dead on. People are letting the 2021 draft cloud their judgment. People thinking they’re gonna get a star catcher and 40% of a starting rotation. That’s unrealistic.


With all those college pitchers with seemingly limited upsides, I wonder if the goal is try and develop them as bullpen arms. Even pitchers who fail as starters sometimes turn into good bullpen pieces. Since teams are relying more and more on bullpen arms, teams are going to need a big supply of them.

I admit I am trying to find something positive here! Beyond Johnson, I did not like this draft very much.

Cape Cod Sean

I agree with most of the articles opinions and most of the comments thus far. I was also disappointed for not spending to the full and for having a pretty boring draft. However, if Harrington or Barco become a 2nd or 3rd starter and Johnson does his thing and becomes the star, it would be an awesome draft. Just hoping to bring in one star or 2 + WAR guys. That’s the bar and hope.

Definitely getting more and more nervous by the day with the development guys within the organization and the scouting. Nick Gonzales losing ground is concerning. I know that year was weird but still unnerving along with other cases like him.


Overall I thought the draft was another typical Pirates draft of good players without “special” carrying tools that indicate upside. I’m not saying some wouldn’t possibly develop that but not many reports indicated such.
I’m also in the minority on Terrmar – not a fan of that pick. I love the comps as fun but I’m pretty sure we have enough second base prospects. This team needed elite level pitching or Outfield prospects and Green is the real upside play IMO since there were no pitchers at 4 with those ratings.
I thought the Barco pick was smart – who knows maybe a few other kids surprise…


Was definitely underwhelming. But what’s it going to matter when my boy Termarr racks up 80 WAR? (Yes, more than stupid Derek Jeter and his smug documentary) It’ll be cute then that 3 other guys from this draft totaled 5 WAR.

Last edited 4 days ago by clemo83

On the one hand, I think we’ve come to fetishize HS kids as “high upside” for little reason other than having a pulse.

Once you get out of the Top 100 or so prospects in a draft, the reality of past draft history across the league is that an insanely low percentage of these types have actually gone on to become impact big leaguers. As in, you can probably count them all without using your toes.

And for those high schoolers that can actually claim a logical mantle of high upside in this draft, the going rate seems to have been starting at about $2m and escalating from there. Just aren’t that many kids in a given draft worth this kind of cheese.

On the other hand, there’s really no reason to leave so much change on the table. Hard to argue against some level of failure in that alone.

Reading the tea leaves, I think we just saw another club blow up Cherington’s draft board.

Not only did many selections point towards intentionally saving money, he clearly winged it with Hunt and Tejada without first discussing deals with them. All it takes is one team to grab the dude you were lining up for an overslot bonus to make your draft strategy look extremely dumb. Kinda surprised none of our roundtable takes considered the possibility.

Just pick the best damn players available!

Last edited 4 days ago by NMR

I’ll also squint a bit and wishcast for an intentional change in their pitching acquisition and development.

Could we be seeing an Indians-like pivot from huge present stuff with little command to command and secondaries with a goal of increasing velo?

I’d put better than even money on Michael Kennedy being a better prospect a year from now than Jared Jones.


Fangraphs had eleven pitchers with 60 or higher FVs for command and Barca, Harrington, and Kennedy were in that group (all 60s; there was only one 70). Massey was a 55. Could be coincidence but I think they are prioritizing command.


I do this as much as anyone, but it’s easy to only attach projectability to slender, taller pitchers. As you point out, there are lots of ways to improve beyond filling out and getting stronger. One example that I thought was interesting was Longenhagen attaching projectability to Harrington’s command:

“His on-mound athleticism enables plus long-term command projection, though for right now Harrington really only locates his fastball to his arm side. “


Of the 616 players drafted, only 112 were high schoolers. Of these, 13 were taken in round 1. Did the Bucs draft well or luckily? I don’t know. Ask me in 4 years. I do know that their approach was typical of the industry.


Accurate analysis guys, nice job. Besides Johnson & Barco, I was disappointed. Was actually upset a couple times when they passed up high performing college players repeatedly for pitchers with 5+ ERA’s


this draft?

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One test of strategy for me will be did they find value in picks 5-10? They could have saved a lot of money on these picks by drafting 5th-year seniors (i.e., seniors who didn’t have a COVID year remaining) and then used those savings to sign more upside in rounds 11-20. If a couple of these guys show promise, then no complaints from me on the draft. If none of them do, then I’ll wonder if they missed an opportunity to sign Tejeda or draft and sign a Bowen or a Bishop in the later rounds.


I give the Pirates credit for going with the best player available at 4 despite needing to sign him for slightly over slot. Nobody would have complained if they had drafted Parada and few would have complained if they had drafted Lee. Would that have saved enough to go after Porter? If so, Parada/Porter might look better than Johnson/Harrington but sometimes you need to go with the best player available and play it out from there.

I also don’t fault them for not going 5% over because I’m assuming they tried to use that money to sign Hunt and Tejeda. You’d like to think they had deals in place before drafting those two but as quickly as rounds 11-20 move, they may not have had a chance to do that or one or both of these players changed their mind. Sometimes you take a risk and it works (Bishop) and sometimes it doesn’t (Tejeda?). Bosnic wasn’t going to sign (like Bishop) and then had a change of heart at about the last minute; the money was there for Hunt and Tejeda to do the same and that’s all I can expect.


Every team passed on Porter three times, and he ultimately signed with Texas in the fourth round for over $3 million. Since Parada was an over-slot sign, I doubt that combo was doable.


Parada signed for $5MM and we had $7MM as slot at 4. Would he have agreed to the same $5MM deal if drafted 4th? Probably not, but we don’t know. As I said, though, I like what we did anyway in signing the best player available without worrying about saving money for later.


BTW, Texas had more than $2 million in savings from Rocker and a day to reach a deal.


lets hope they knew what they were doing taking the players they did. I am not a fan of this draft other than TJ. However, it might turn out to be positive in the long run if they can develop the players they picked.


GMBC has a lot of confidence in his development team with this draft. I don’t.


Not trying to pick a fight, but last year’s draft is the one that will hinge more on development.

A catcher who can’t yet catch, a football player who’s trying to be an outfielder, and another football player who’s trying to both hit and pitch. Oh, and a late round pick who would’ve been a first rounder if not for the rest of baseball scared off of a complete lack of hit tool.

How much 2021 draft actually produces in big league talent will be almost exclusively a function of how well the development team can turn them into ballplayers.

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