If there’s one thing I love about the current draft system, it’s the speed in which we see picks signing deals after the draft. One week after taking him in the first round, the Pirates announced that they had signed right-handed prep pitcher Quinn Priester.

In the old days, you’d draft a guy in mid-June, and wait until mid-August at a midnight deadline to sign him. That prevented him from playing during that season. By comparison, Priester will go to the GCL this year, and based on history will probably get about 25 innings of work.

I don’t know if the extra work will make a huge impact in his development timeline. It does give the Pirates their first look almost a year earlier than the old draft system, which means they can evaluate Priester this summer and during instructs, and make any adjustments necessary heading into next season. The old system gave them a first look in instructs, making it more difficult to get a read on a player.

I’d expect a lot more players to be signing soon, especially with the short-season leagues starting so quickly. And that brings me to the other part that I like: We’re going to get a good idea very soon of how much the Pirates have to spend on their over-slot candidates.

Priester signed for $81,300 under slot. That doesn’t sound like much, but consider that any pick after the 11th round can receive $125,000 before counting toward the bonus pool. This means the Pirates can give any player a $206,300 bonus right now — almost in line with the seventh round pick — and they wouldn’t be over their bonus pool.

They can go over their bonus pool by 5% without losing a future draft pick. They’d pay a 75% fine on the overage, but that’s something they’ve done often to get extra talent in the later rounds. When factoring that money in, they have $578,500 to spend right now on over-slot picks.

This means you can give any one player $703,500 without losing an extra pick.

Or you could split that up between two players, and they each could receive $414,250, which would be about 4th-5th round money, and closer to the top end of bonuses that are usually handed out beyond the 10th round.

Distributing that money to three different players amounts to $317,833 per player. And it continues, dividing the remaining pool money up, and adding $125,000 of non-pool money to each pick.

The amounts are low right now, but the Pirates will almost certainly save money on some of their day two picks. If they can save just $500,000 on their remaining picks, which shouldn’t be difficult to do, then they’d have enough to give $484,500 to three different players, or about $400,000 to four different players beyond the 10th round.

The Pirates took six prep players on day three of the draft. I don’t think they’ll get all of them signed, just because some players might be set on college. They should end up with enough money left over to sign several of those players, plus some harder-to-sign college guys for over-slot deals as well. And as the top ten round picks continue to sign, we’ll get a better idea of how much they have to spend on those over-slot deals.


Altoona is in fourth place in their division, seven games back with nine games remaining in the first half.

Bradenton is in second place in their division, two games back with six games remaining in the first half.

Greensboro is in second place in their division, six games back with six games remaining in the schedule.


Today’s Starter and Notes: The Pittsburgh Pirates lost 13-7 to the Atlanta Braves on Monday night. The Pirates will send out Chris Archer today for his 11th start of the season. He gave up one run over six innings against the Braves on Thursday. He gave up four or more runs in each of his previous five starts. The Braves will counter with right-hander Mike Foltynewicz, who has a 5.89 ERA in 44.1 innings, with 37 strikeouts and a 1.26 WHIP. He opposed Archer five days ago and gave up three runs over six innings. His previous outing was five runs over five innings against the Detroit Tigers on May 31st.

The minor league schedule includes the fifth start of the season for Luis Escobar in Indianapolis. He has been stretched out to five innings now and should be able to go full strength for the first time with the normal starter limits. Escobar has not allowed more than one run in any of his four starts. Austin Coley will make his fourth start for Altoona. He has pitched just six innings total due to limited pitch counts in each game. Nicholas Economos starts for the fifth time for Bradenton. He has a total of 74 strikeouts in 57.1 innings, which ties him with Mitch Keller for the most strikeouts among all Pirates. Colin Selby starts for Greensboro. His worst start came against today’s opponent (Hickory) back on May 26th when he allowed four runs on seven hits and four walks in 4.2 innings.

MLB: Pittsburgh (30-35) @ Braves (37-29) 7:20 PM
Probable starter: Chris Archer (5.20 ERA, 53:28 SO/BB, 53.2 IP)

AAA: Indianapolis (35-26) vs Buffalo (27-34) 7:05 PM (season preview)
Probable starter: Luis Escobar (2.33 ERA, 19:9 SO/BB, 19.1 IP)

AA: Altoona (30-30) vs Portland (21-38) 6:30 PM (season preview)
Probable starter: Austin Coley (3.00 ERA 6:1 SO/BB, 6.0 IP)

High-A: Bradenton (35-28) @ Charlotte (33-30) 6:30 PM (season preview)
Probable starter: Nicholas Economos (2.55 ERA, 24:9 SO/BB, 24.2 IP)

Low-A: Greensboro (41-23) vs Hickory (38-23) 7:00 PM (season preview)
Probable starter: Colin Selby (3.70 ERA, 27:10 SO/BB, 24.1 IP)

DSL: Pirates1 (5-3) vs Cubs1 (2-6) 10:30 AM (season preview)

DSL: Pirates2 (6-2) vs Mariners (4-4) 10:30 AM  (season preview)


From Indianapolis on Sunday. A nice play from Ke’Bryan Hayes and a home run from Pablo Reyes.



6/10: Pirates sign Quinn Priester

6/10: Jordan Lyles placed on injured list. Montana DuRapau recalled from Indianapolis.

6/10: Robbie Glendinning and Jesse Medrano activated from suspended list. Allen Montgomery assigned to Greensboro.

6/9: Shea Murray assigned to Bradenton. Hunter Stratton assigned to Extended Spring Training

6/8: Pirates recall Corey Dickerson, Jung Ho Kang and Michael Feliz. Nick Kingham designated for assignment. Cole Tucker optioned to Indianapolis. Rookie Davis placed on injured list.

6/8: Brad Case assigned to Bradenton. Luis Nova assigned to Greensboro.

6/7: Matt Morrow and Dean Lockery added to Bradenton roster. Robbie Glendinning and Jesse Medrano suspended (by league).

6/5: Jesus Liranzo sent outright to Indianapolis. Trayvon Robinson placed on injured list.

6/4: Deon Stafford and Hunter Stratton suspended (by league). Shea Murray assigned to Extended Spring Training. John Bormann and Luis Nova added to Bradenton roster.

6/3: Cody Bolton placed on injured list

6/2: Pirates release Randolph Gassaway

5/31: Pedro Vasquez and Alfredo Reyes assigned to Altoona. Adrian Valerio and Ryan Valdes assigned to Bradenton.

5/31: Jack Herman assigned to Greensboro. Brett Kinneman assigned to Extended Spring Training

5/31: Allen Montgomery added to Bradenton roster


Three former Pittsburgh Pirates players born on this date, two played significant roles with the team and one played a significant role for the team. Starting with second baseman Dave Cash, who played for the Pirates from 1969 until 1973. The Pirates signed him as a fifth round draft pick out of high school in 1966 and it didn’t take long for him to make it to the big leagues. During the championship season of 1971, he played 123 games, which was his high while with Pittsburgh. Cash hit .289 during the regular season, then had a .421 average during the NLCS. He struggled during the World Series, going 4-for-30, but the Pirates won it in seven games over the Orioles. After the 1973 season, he was traded to the Phillies for pitcher Ken Brett. Cash ended up making the All-Star team three straight years in Philadelphia.

Also born on this date was outfielder Frank Thomas, who played for the Pirates from 1951 until 1958. He hit .275 with the Pirates, belting 163 homers and driving in 562 runs in 925 games. His home run total ranks eighth in team history. Thomas was part of a big trade that helped the Pirates win the 1960 World Series. In 1959, he was dealt to the Reds in a trade that brought back Smoky Burgess, Don Hoak and Harvey Haddix. During the 1958 season, he finished fourth in the MVP voting and made his third All-Star team.

A late addition to the former players born on this date, infielder Brock Holt, who played for the 2012 Pirates before being sent to the Red Sox in the Joel Hanrahan/Mark Melancon deal. He isn’t included in the link above, which was written before he made the majors, but if you’re following this site, then I’m pretty sure you know who he is anyway. He made the All-Star team as a utility player in 2015, but multiple injuries since then have sidetracked his career.

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