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2015 MLB Draft: Bonus pool creating challenges for Pirates

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Charles LeClaire-USA TODAY Sports

Some notes from Neal Huntington and Joe DelliCarri's press conference following the last pick of the draft this evening:

-P- The Pirates only picked five high schoolers over the three days of the draft, but Huntington emphasized that the Pirates didn't aim to pick so many college players.

"Very college-oriented," said Huntington. "Not by intent, just how the board falls."

Huntington noted, however, that on Day 3, the Pirates had a list of over 100 players, most of them from high school, who were asking for at least $500,000. It's difficult (although not always impossible -- the Pirates signed 11th-rounder Gage Hinsz for $580,000 last year) to sign late-round high school players for such amounts under the new draft bonus pool system.

"The system is working, but it is making it challenging to be able to draft high school players unless you grab them early," Huntington said.

That's especially the case now that the Pirates aren't drafting at the top of the first round anymore. The Bucs have a bonus pool of about $7.4 million this year. The Astros, meanwhile, have over $17 million, and the Rockies have about $14 million.

"If you have a seventeen or a fourteen or a twelve-million-dollar pool, it makes it easier to draft those high school players later in the single-digit rounds, or even into the teens, and pay them," said Huntington.

-P- There didn't appear to be any Hinsz-like picks from Day 3, but Huntington unsurprisingly was cagey about whether there would be any players from late in the draft who would require significant bonuses.

"We've got some guys that may need [$25,000 to $50,000] over. We've got some guys that are asking for 25 to 50 over that we're not going to give it to them. And then we've got a couple bigger-dollar potential guys, depending upon how the whole thing shakes out," Huntington said. "There's some additional conversations to be had. We've given ourselves some options."

-P- When Huntington and DelliCarri last spoke to the press after drafting three infielder on Day 1, they emphasized that their only goal was to select the best players available. The Bucs did draft 25 pitchers this year, but the first four picks were all hitters. Today, Huntington said that the recent rash of pitcher injuries throughout the game has not forced them to reevaluate their rankings of players.

"It's still a pitching-based game," said Huntington. "You still need to draft pitching."