The Pirates selected Stanford RHP Mark Appel with the 8th overall pick in the 2012 First Year Player Draft. Appel was viewed as a potential #1 overall selection but fell due to signability concerns.
With the 45th pick the Pirates took Barrett Barnes, a toolsy OF from Texas Tech.
Appel may have less leverage signing with the Pirates than he would have with any other team. Pittsburgh already has ace-level pitching prospects Gerrit Cole, Jameson Taillon and Luis Heredia in the system plus other solid prospects like Rudy Owens waiting in AAA. If Appel does not sign, the Pirates will receive the #9 pick in next year’s draft.
This is not a case of the organization being cheap. Neal Huntington and Company have proven over the last few seasons that they are not afraid to spend big money on draft picks that deserve it. Major League Baseball has implemented a spending cap for draft bonuses this season. The Pirates’ total amount available to sign their 1st-10th round draft picks is $6.6 million. If they exceed that amount by more than 5% they will lose draft picks in coming years. The penalties are so harsh that I’m pretty sure they won’t be exceeding the cap.
The draft continues today with the second round beginning at noon. We’ll know a lot more about the Bucs’ intentions/strategy after today.