According to Baseball America, the Pittsburgh Pirates will have a draft bonus pool of $7,392,200 in 2015, which ranks as the 11th highest in baseball. The Pirates don’t make their first selection until the 19th pick, but they have a compensation pick(32nd overall) for losing Russell Martin to the Toronto Blue Jays, so that pushes them closer to the top of the list. As noted in the article, the draft bonus pool across baseball increased by 8.7% over last year.
The total this year is more than $300,000 higher than they had last year. In 2014, they exceeded their bonus pool by nearly 5% when they signed 11th round draft pick Gage Hinsz and they went over the previous year as well when they signed Erich Weiss(each was the last player to sign). They ended up paying a 75% tax on the overage each year, but kept it under 5% over their cap which kept them from incurring more severe penalties. The penalty for going over by more than 5% is the loss of a first round pick and a 75% tax on every dollar over the pool total. The penalties get more severe the higher you go over the pool total.
You can read more about the penalties in the link above, although no team has exceeded their pool by more than 5% since the new rules were put in place three years ago.
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.
Thank goodness the poor, downtrodden Yankees have a half million more to spend in the first ten rounds than the flush-with-cash Pirates.
I would think that a real Pirates fan should be more upset that their division rival St. Louis Cardinals get a free compensation pick Every Season for being a “small market” team.
John: Thanks for the update. The Pirates are at a point in time where quite a few excellent players/pitchers will not make the roster and could be out of options. Therefore, a strong chance of losing them for nothing in the waiver process. Do you think they will try to make a trade for a Competitive Balance Pick in the Amateur Draft?
Astro’s at #37 or Rockies at #38 look like the best possibilities. They both need help NOW, and they both have 5 picks in the Top 79. The additional money could help the Pirates if they see a sleeper beyond the 10th Round.
I could definitely see them going after a pick and the Astros would be a team likely to deal a compensation pick because they have a draft budget over $17M this year due to not signing Aiken last year and another poor finish in 2014. Whether the two teams can match up in a trade is another thing. I could see the Rockies holding on to their pick, they don’t seem hugely interested in competing this year.
Regardless of who – Astro’s or Rockies – is Brandon Cumpton too much or just enough? He has MLB experience as a SP and as a RP and is 5-5 4.05 ERA or in that neighborhood. I like him a lot, but with the glut of SP’s and RP’s, he is somebody that I would like to see get an opportunity. Did you see that Robbie Grossman and Alex Presley are depth chart guys in the Houston OF?