The Pittsburgh Pirates have been more active than fireworks on the 4th of July with the transaction pages more congested than five months of PennDot road work, and for all the right reasons.
After trading second baseman Adam Frazier to San Diego for a package of three prospects on Sunday and completing both the trade of Clay Holmes to the Yankees for two players and signing of Competitive Balance B pick Lonnie White Jr. on Monday, the Bucs are back at it again with another signing of a potential hidden gem in the draft.
Prep outfielder and 14th-round pick Braylon Bishop is reportedly in Pittsburgh for a physical with the intent to sign with the team and forgo his commitment to the University of Arkansas.
UPDATE: OF Prospect, Braylon Bishop is currently in Pittsburgh as of last night. #Pirates— Pirates Prospect Talk (@TalkPirates) July 27, 2021
“Expectation is signing is imminent and the number will be around 300k
Bishop gets $268,700 per source.— Jason Mackey (@JMackeyPG) July 27, 2021
Bishop first committed to the Razorbacks at 15-years-old on December 16, 2017, and it was first believed he would honor the commitment in a since-deleted Twitter post stating that he would see the team soon. Bishop’s last post was a retweet stating he would not sign with the Pirates organization, meaning something drastically changed in his approach to the future of his baseball career days after the draft and signing with Pittsburgh.
The agreement is also a surprise due to General Manager Ben Cherington finding enough money to make the deal possible, taking advantage of the 5% the team is allowed to overspend before losing a draft pick, paying a 75% tax on the amount of overage spent.
The draft’s 88th-best prospect according to Baseball America, 94th by MLB Pipeline, The 18-year-old Bishop is a shifty athlete with plus speed and range, able to cover a lot of ground in centerfield and on the bases. His 60-grade speed is his best tool, with projectable power from the left side of the plate, also displaying a 55-grade left arm that adds more value to his likely long-term home in center. Bishop was ranked the draft’s 88th-best prospect according to Baseball America and 94th by MLB Pipeline, previously considered with high first-round pick potential before the 2021 season.
Braylon Bishop has long been one of the names to know in the 2021 class.— Baseball America (@BaseballAmerica) June 18, 2020
He appears in the top 10 of our 'Way Too Early' mock: https://t.co/v53OF0nCMz pic.twitter.com/vDNZrTmIvC
Bishop has struggled with a high number of strikeouts and needs to work MLB Pipeline viewing his hit tool (45) as the weakest in his repertoire. The 6’2” 193-pounder does hit the ball hard with strong bat speed, but will need further advancement at the plate to become a more well-rounded bat capable of sticking in the middle of the order with runners on base.
More on Braylon Bishop:— Pirates Prospect Talk (@TalkPirates) July 13, 2021
“Has perhaps the best set of tools in the draft class” pic.twitter.com/sediqKMXhU
Bishop becomes the fifth top 100 draft prospect from BA and MLB Pipeline (ratings shown) selected and signed by Cherington in 2021, locking up first-overall pick catcher Henry Davis (5) under slot to secure deals with left-handed pitcher Anthony Solometo (17), White Jr. (72), and right-handed pitcher/shortstop Bubba Chandler (21). Baseball America views Cherington’s draft as an even greater success, accumulating four first-round talents to develop into potential impact players.
Pirates picks according to Baseball America:— Austin Bechtold (@AustinRBechtold) July 12, 2021
1st. Henry Davis- 4th
2nd. Anthony Solometo- 28th
Comp B. Lonnie White Jr.- 32nd
3rd. Bubba Chandler- 20th
Fourth-round pick Owen Kellington remains the only Pirates section yet to sign with the organization. The slot value for the 102nd pick is $571,400, but with Bishop signing for $268,700 and $143,000 counting towards the bonus pool, Kellington could sign for anything below around $597,000 remaining without the Pirates going over.
The Pirates farm system continues to improve by the day, with the trade deadline July 30. MLB teams have until August 1 to come to terms with all draft picks.