First Pitch: Update on the 2020 Draft

Yesterday, Kiley McDaniel broke some news about the 2020 MLB amateur draft. It looks like MLB and the MLBPA have reached an agreement on details of the draft, though nothing has been announced yet by either side.

Also kicked around with those points is that anyone not drafted has a $20,000 signing bonus cap according to Jon Heyman. Every team signs college seniors for four-figure bonuses, so that wouldn’t affect those players. It would likely limit the amount of seniors taken in the top ten rounds to save money for over-slot picks. You would still see a lot of signings, though players would be able to choose the system they sign with now.

The Pirates signed ten draft picks for bonuses between $2,000 and $20,000 in 2019 and another three non-drafted free agents who received small bonuses, so teams would still be able to fill out minor league rosters.

A shorter draft would leave the amount of high school players going to college higher than normal, and you’re probably not going to get many college juniors to sign for $20,000, so they would need to be taken in the top ten (or five) rounds.

A lot isn’t explained yet, such as whether teams will be allowed to use over-slot money still, but I believe we will find out soon.

The deferred bonus payment mentioned in the tweet isn’t really anything new. When guys sign now, teams don’t hand them a check for their entire bonus. I’ve heard from players that they have been paid in all different types of payment plans. One got half of his bonus after his first season was completed, followed by two 1/4 payments over the next two years. Another mentioned to me that the first payment was 1/10th of his bonus. It looks like that part is just getting a universal number down headed into the draft.

As for the draft date, Ken Rosenthal added a bit more to the info by saying that it won’t happen any later than July.

We will have more on this later today if the entire agreement is ratified today. It also includes service time issues, possibly moving the international signing deadline, and a temporary freeze on transactions.




By John Dreker

Two Pittsburgh Pirates trades of note and two players born on this date. Two current Pirates are celebrating birthdays today. Clay Holmes turns 27, while Montana DuRapau is 28 years old.

On this date in 2002, the Pirates send reliever Damaso Marte and minor league infielder Edwin Yan to the Chicago White Sox in exchange for minor league starter Matt Guerrier. Yan was 20 years old at the time of the trade. He had just played his first full season in 2001 and hit .283 with 56 steals for Low-A Hickory. Marte was a 27-year-old reliever, who had a 4.71 ERA in 36.1 innings for the Pirates in 2001, which was his first full season in the majors. Guerrier, at age 22 in 2001, went 18-4, 3.30 in 27 starts split between Double-A and Triple-A. He would end up pitching two years at Triple-A before the Pirates put him on waivers in November 2003. He ended up pitching 555 Major League games over 11 seasons, twice leading the AL in games pitched while with the Twins. The Pirates eventually got Marte back but not until after he pitched four seasons out of the White Sox bullpen, where he posted a 2.78 ERA in 279 games. Yan played pro ball for 15 years, but never made the majors.

Exactly 15 years earlier, the same two teams hooked up on a deal that saw reliever Jim Winn go to Chicago, while outfielder John Cangelosi came to Pittsburgh. Cangelosi was 24 years old at the time, coming off his first full season in the majors. He hit .235 in 137 games for the White Sox in 1986, stealing 50 bases and drawing 71 walks. Winn, who was 27 years old, went 3-5, 3.58 in 88 innings for the Pirates in 1986. It was his first full season in the majors and fourth season overall that he played with Pittsburgh. After the trade, Winn posted a 4.79 ERA in 94 relief innings during his only season with the White Sox. His Major League career ended with nine games for the Twins in 1988. Cangelosi spent four seasons in Pittsburgh, mostly playing off the bench. He started just 90 games over those four years and in 349 total games with the Pirates, he hit .243 with 48 stolen bases and 93 runs scored.

Gary Alexander, first baseman/outfielder for the 1981 Pirates. He was a second round draft pick of the Giants in 1972. He spent most of his career as a catcher, a position he didn’t play while with the Pirates. In the minors he was able to hit for power and average, while drawing a good number of walks but in the majors he had trouble making contact. In 1978, Alexander split the season between the Indians and A’s, hitting 27 homers and driving in 84 runs, but he also batted .225 and led the league with 166 strikeouts. In 1980, he played 76 games for the Indians, hitting .225 with five homers and 31 RBIs. He was acquired by the Pirates during the winter of 1980 in a deal that saw both Bert Blyleven and Manny Sanguillen head to Cleveland. For the Pirates, he played 21 games during the strike-shortened 1981 season, hitting .213 with six RBIs in 51 plate appearances. At the end of the 1982 Pirates Spring Training, he was released, ending his playing career. Alexander was a .230 major league hitter with 55 homers and 202 RBI’s in 432 games.

Bill Burwell, pitcher for the Pirates in 1928 and he also managed one game in 1947. He played three seasons in the minors before serving one year in the military during WWI. Burwell returned in 1919 to post a 3.70 ERA in 224 innings while pitching for Joplin of the Western League. That earned him a spot with the 1920 St Louis Browns, where he went 6-4, 3.65 in 113.1 innings, pitching 31 times in relief to go along with two spot starts. The next season he posted a 5.12 ERA in the same role, making three starts and 30 relief appearances. He returned to the minors and won 108 games over the next six seasons, finally making it back to the majors with the 1928 Pirates. Burwell spent one month with Pittsburgh, making one start and three relief appearances, pitching a total of 20.2 innings with a 5.23 ERA. In early July, he returned to the minors where he pitched until 1938.

Burwell won 239 games in the minors over a 20-year playing career. He began to manage in 1934 and was a coach with the Pirates in 1947 when manager Billy Herman resigned with one game left in the season. Burwell took the reins, leading the Pirates to a 7-0 win on the last day of the season. He continued to coach in the Pirates system, and when the Pirates won the World Series in 1960, he was the team’s pitching coach.

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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