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Pirates’ 2017 draft: What’s left

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MLB: St. Louis Cardinals at Pittsburgh Pirates Charles LeClaire-USA TODAY Sports

The Pirates selected 42 players in the 2017 draft. Of those, they’ve signed 31 so far. According to Pirates Prospects, they’ve spent all but $948,600 of their draft bonus pool, keeping in mind that any amount up to $150,000 paid to a draftee after round ten doesn’t count against the pool. They could also spend another $572,895 in over-slot bonuses without incurring any penalties other than financial ones.

The Pirates have only two unsigned picks remaining from the first 11 rounds: third rounder Dylan Busby, a third baseman from Florida State, and sixth-rounder Cody Bolton, a prep right-hander from California who has a commitment to Michigan. Busby was playing in the College World Series until a few days ago, so it’s possible he’ll sign soon. Bolton reportedly had a deal worked out with the Pirates right after the draft and on his twitter page refers to himself as a “Pittsburgh Pirates Baseball player,” but there’s been no confirmation of a deal as yet. The odds are that Bolton would require an above-slot bonus, while Busby, a college junior, would not, or at least not one that should exceed the slot amount by very much.

Of the nine remaining players, some appear to project mainly as organizational players if they sign. A few are more interesting, although there may not be much chance of many, or even any, of them signing:

Hunter Wolfe, SS, 12th round, junior college. Wolfe was the highest-drafted middle infielder for the Pirates. He put up good offensive numbers this year, although it’s always hard to translate that from the JuCo ranks. He also has a good defensive rep. He has college eligibility remaining, so it might take more than $150,000 to sign him.

Chris Sharpe, CF, 14th round, 4-year college. Sharpe was a draft eligible sophomore, so his situation is pretty similar to Wolfe’s. He had a big sophomore year after a bad freshman year, showing good power. That’s a commodity the Pirates focused on more in this draft that possibly any other under the current front office. It’s possible the Pirates selected Sharpe as a backup plan to Cal Mitchell and Conner Uselton, so I’m not that optimistic that they’ll be able to sign him. Wolfe probably should be a higher priority.

Mason Martin, OF, 17th round, prep. Another player with power potential, BA rated Martin 321st in their top 500 for the draft, so he clearly isn’t a 17th-round talent. He has a Gonzaga commitment. It’d be great to see the Pirates sign him, but I doubt they can do it under the current system. He was almost certainly a backup plan to Mitchell and Uselton.

Ryan Hoerter, RHP, 36th round, prep. Hoerter obviously was a guy teams thought would honor his commitment to Auburn, hence the late draft round. He fits the Pirates’ mold of a 6’4” prep pitcher with a fastball that reaches 91 and a lot of projectibility. Again, I expect he was a backup plan, in this case to Shane Baz and Steve Jennings. It’s also possible the Pirates could try to sign Hoerter if they fail to sign Bolton.