The MLB draft is about a week and a half away. This will be the last weekend preview, as this is the last weekend on the schedule for college teams. Before getting to the schedule, let’s take a look at some of the recent draft updates, with my thoughts on each subject.
**Jim Callis held a draft chat at Baseball America yesterday. Callis answered several questions that involved the Pirates, or players who could fall to the Pirates. The key notes from the chat:
-He says Josh Bell would be a top ten pick in this draft.
-He lists Mike Zunino’s draft floor as eighth overall.
-There are too many uncertainties surrounding Lucas Giolito’s health to give an accurate prediction on where he will go.
It’s nice to see the Zunino blurb, as it gives the feeling that there’s an outside chance he could fall to the Pirates. That would be amazing, but highly unlikely in my opinion.
**Kevin Goldstein has a feature on Scott Boras and the draft’s new rules for Baseball Prospectus subscribers, or ESPN Insider subscribers. Not many people like Boras for obvious reasons. I have to say, I kind of like him. Yeah, there’s the “he drives up prices, pulls every trick in the book, and occasionally does something outlandish like have a player go unsigned in the draft or cost Ryan Madson a big payday”. But this new CBA seems like MLB shooting themselves in the foot with an incredibly short-sighted plan. Not only is Boras against it, but he had some pretty good ideas for solutions in the article above.
A lot of people look to Boras as the problem. I think MLB is the problem. They showed that this past off-season. They were fine with the free agency market being a total disaster, but reducing the much smaller scale spending in the draft was a priority. That hurt small market teams, and Boras acknowledges this. He even mentions in the article that small market teams can’t afford free agent prices. You can’t fault Boras for trying to get the most for his clients, or for being good at his job. That’s just like how I don’t fault the Yankees for spending $200 M. Why blame the people taking advantage of the system? Why not blame the system that allows these things to happen, whether it’s mega-team payrolls, massive free agent salaries, or big draft bonuses?
**I did a consensus ranking of the latest draft rankings. The average top 15 is as follows:
1. Byron Buxton
2. Mike Zunino
3t. Mark Appel
3t. Kevin Gausman
5. Carlos Correa
6. Kyle Zimmer
7. Max Fried
8. Albert Almora
9. Lucas Giolito
10. Michael Wacha
11. Courtney Hawkins
12. Marcus Stroman
13. Deven Marrero
14. Andrew Heaney
15. David Dahl
I also looked at the median rankings, focusing on the middle of the three picks. The changes from above were that Fried and Almora were tied at 7th, Giolito and Wacha were tied at 9th, Stroman moved ahead of Hawkins, Dahl moved up to 14th, and Stephen Piscotty took over at 15th (Heaney dropped to 16th).
I’ve been playing around with some rankings of my own. I might have them ready by next Tuesday, a week before the draft. My rankings are mostly based on these average/median rankings, although I added some personal preferences. I don’t think I’ll go in to detail with a 1-100 list. I don’t know all of the draft prospects well enough to say that one player is better than another, at least not after the guys in the top half of the first round. Therefore, I’ll probably go with tiers, which is a system I like better.
The schedule for the top draft prospects this weekend:
10:30 AM EST – LSU (Kevin Gausman) vs Ole Miss (SEC Tournament)
8:30 PM EST – Texas A&M (Michael Wacha) vs Missouri
9:00 PM EST – Florida (Mike Zunino) vs Vanderbilt (SEC Tournament)
8:30 PM EST – Stanford (Mark Appel) vs Cal
9:00 PM EST – Arizona State (Deven Marrero) at Arizona
2:00 PM EST – Florida (Zunino) at Auburn
9:00 PM EST – Arizona State (Marrero) at Arizona
3:00 PM EST – Arizona State (Marrero) at Arizona
Tim started Pirates Prospects in 2009 from his home in Virginia, which was 40 minutes from where Pedro Alvarez made his pro debut in Lynchburg. That year, the Lynchburg Hillcats won the Carolina League championship, and Pirates Prospects was born from Tim's reporting along the way. The site has grown over the years to include many more writers, and Tim has gone on to become a credentialed MLB reporter, producing Pirates Prospects each year, and will publish his 11th Prospect Guide this offseason. He has also served as the Pittsburgh Pirates correspondent for Baseball America since 2019. Behind the scenes, Tim is an avid music lover, and most of the money he gets paid to run this site goes to vinyl records.
Tim, I do agree with you that Boras is not the problem and the small market teams will be hurt with this new agreement in the draft.
The draft was one of two places the Pirates could obtain top talent, the international market is still available to them, although that is also changing.
The Pirates can’t and never will be able to buy top established talent, major league baseball allowing the 200 million dollar payrolls changes the game, some teams have the revenue to pay that much money, the Pirates don’t and never will have it, basically they have a cap in MLB, teams will take their payroll up to the luxury tax level and stop, but I believe that is around 200mil.