Even before the selections started rolling out on Day Three of the MLB Draft, Rounds 11 through 20, I noticed that I was on the same wavelength as many of the Pirates Fans I was interacting with; as we all knew the slot restrictions of the first 10 rounds were now off the table and that the first $125,000 of a bonus given to a player would not be applied to the overall slot bonus pool, so the opportunity to overpay for another player to keep them from their college commitment was potentially back in play.
A prime example for this in recent Pirates history, that myself and others have used regularly, was when Pittsburgh drafted Max Kranick in the 11th Round in 2016 out of Valley View High School in Archibald, PA, and eventually signed him with a $300,000 bonus in order to have him forgo his original commitment to the University of Virginia.
However, after selecting right-handed pitcher Jack Carey from Duke, two-way player Chazz Martinez from Orange Coast College-also the Pirates-and Owen Sharts from the the University of Nevada, my hopes of this type of pick were truly waning. But not for much longer as we would soon find out, when Cherington and Company came calling on the 94th ranked Draft Prospect on MLB Pipeline, Texarkana Outfielder Braylon Bishop; who I actually had listed as a target for Pittsburgh with the 72nd overall pick in the Third Round.
Of course, anyone who was following along on Twitter knows exactly what happened next.
Prior to being drafted, Bishop first tweeted out, and then subsequently deleted, a message to Arkansas Razorbacks Men’s Baseball.
He then tweeted out a message thanking the Pirates.
This was soon followed by a response from a member of the National Collegiate Baseball Writers Association, who suggested it was possible that Bishop could make his way to the Pirates.
And now we have a direct interview with Bishop himself, stating that he plans on going to Arkansas in the fall to start his collegiate career.
So, I guess it’s Woo, Pig for Braylon Bishop until we hear otherwise between now and August 1st at 2 PM-the deadline for team’s to sign their recent draft picks. However, just for argument’s sake, let’s take a look at the signing bonus Bishop could have earned if he fell at or around the 94th pick to see if it would even be reasonable for the Pirates to still have a shot of signing this dynamic player.
This exercise is actually fairly easy to accommodate because the Pirates had the 102nd Pick at the beginning of the 4th Round, which comes with an assigned slot bonus of $571,400. Now, it’s always possible that he could have been selected earlier than this, but it also doesn’t mean he would have received full slot. Either, way this looks a pretty step price to pay; especially with the Pirates most likely set to pay over slot for 37, 64 and 72.
Meanwhile, as all this was unfolding the Pirates selected shortstop Daniel Corona from The Baylor Schools In Tennessee; who has doubled down on his commitment to Wake Forest the previous evening, so I wouldn’t exactly hold my breath about this slick fielding two-prospect walking into Pirate City anytime soon either.
In the end there was some good news in that Pittsburgh did get one Arkansas commit to bypass his time in Fayetteville, as their 20th Round Pick, shortstop from Weatherford College Brendan Dixon, announced that he would be joining the Pirates Organization.
And, with that, the 2021 MLB Draft came to an unofficial close for the Pittsburgh Pirates, as the easy part is finally out of the way. Now the hard part of balancing bonuses, signing players, choosing assignments within the Farm System and making some tough decisions as to how they will make room lay ahead.