FanPost

Tanking in the MLB makes zero sense


I cannot for the life of me understand why people think the Pirates should lose as many games as possible this year, with an eye toward securing another 1/1 pick. Selecting first overall almost always doesn't matter in MLB.

Unlike the NFL or NHL, generational talents are rarely picked at 1/1 (or even recognized as such in many cases). Since the draft was started in 1965, there are nearly as many players (2) who never played a single MLB game as there are Hall of Famers (3). And you could reasonably argue the number is the same, if you're like me and scratch your head at how Harold Baines is in the HOF.

In 2022, the Pirates also have to pay a luxury tax for exceeding their draft pool for this season. In short, getting to 1/1 will not make the pool large enough to pull off what they did this year. Essentially, the Pirates could pick at 1/1, have to go way under slot (and not take the best player) in order to get a bigger haul OR they take the best player and have a pool large enough to sign one other impact player and a handful of organizational depth guys.

They are MUCH better off landing in the top 5, where a better player might drop to them and have a lower slot value. This past year, the slot value between #1 overall and #5 overall was almost $2.3 million. That's two more Lonny Whites you can add by NOT tanking and finishing near the bottom but not at it. Jordan Lawlar and Kumar Rocker were still on the board at #5 this year. Lawlar, who signed for $6.71 million with Arizona, almost certainly could have commanded nearly all of the $8.4 allotted to 1/1 for the Pirates and we all know what Rocker did.

Point being, given what the Pirates did this year and how little of a chance they have of pulling the same thing off next year, it makes a TON more sense to hold the course, root for the successes of your developing talent and land a pick in the top 5 or 6.

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