Each year in the MLB Draft there are what seems like an infinite number of under-slot value signing by players that could have potentially gone undrafted, but are often leveraged into accepting extremely low bonuses due to this assertion as well as their status in the draft class-most frequently college seniors. This practice has become commonplace in order to maneuver a team’s bonus pool space toward players that will require an over-slot signing bonus.
Only a couple of months ago, the Pirates were openly praised for their manipulation of the system by employing this tactic in order to sign four potential first round talents (Henry Davis, Anthony Solometo, Lonnie White, Jr. and Bubba Chandler). Most of the discussion surrounding this topic focused on the $1,915,300 saved by getting Davis to go under-slot. In addition, those who spoke or wrote about the subject, almost made it seem like they had reinvented the wheel in the process. Obviously, this dialogue wasn’t the entire story, and the later talking point couldn’t have be further from the truth.
During the 2020 Draft, Ben Cherington and Company utilized this practice by selecting Jack Hartman and Logan Hofmann in the final two rounds in order to save money-a total of $750,200-to put toward the previous two selections, Jared Jones and Nick Garcia. Back in 2011 the Houston Astros selected Carlos Correa with the #1 Overall Pick and paid him $2.4 under-slot, using some of this savings to sign Lance McCullers for $1.25 million over-slot at the #41 spot. They did the same thing in 2015 with Alex Bregman at $1.52 million below the slot value, along with a couple other deals to get Daz Cameron at #37 for $2.33 million over-slot.
Now, as far as this most recent draft was concerned for Pittsburgh, they not only saved the almost $2 million on Davis, but also banked $717,700 between 5th Rounder Jackson Glenn and 6th Round selection Mike Jarvis; as well as a little more here and there.
For Glenn, his $12,500 was the direct result of being a Fifth Year Senior, after having his original senior year at Dallas Baptist University cut to only 16 games due to the pandemic. Unfortunately, this also timed up with the worst season of his amateur career, and a shorted 5 Round MLB Draft.
Originally, a JUCO Bandit from Grayson College, he posted a .349 average with 19 homers over his freshman and sophomore season before transferring to be a Patriot for his junior and senior years; earning Second Team All-Missouri Conference honors for his MVC best 19 doubles, a .292 AVG and 7 homers. This was followed up by the .233/.370/.367 regrettable 2020 season; although Glenn didn’t let this stop him or even slow him down; playing in the Sun Flower Collegiate League for the Cheney Diamond Dawgs again over the summer, just like it was business as usual. This led to him slashing .366/.438/.732 with 21 home runs, so while his selection was strategic as a cost saving measure, it wasn’t like they chose to throw this pick away either.
And once again, for Glenn, it was time to get to work; getting his assignment to the FCL the day he signed. Ultimately he played in his first professional game a little less than a month later in an FCL Pirates Gold Uniform; going 2 for 5 in his first two games with two doubles, and earning a promotion to the Low-A Bradenton Marauders in the process.
Since that point, he has hit safely in 11 out of 12 games, while putting up a .419/.519/.581 slash line with 7 doubles.
At 23 years old his quick promotion was a wise choice by the Pirates in order to get him some work against potentially tougher competition on a daily basis; still some have questioned his overall ability due to him being over a year and a half older than the average Low-A player, which is a valid concern to a certain degree. However, in previous years he would have more than likely have spent his first season with the Class A Short Season West Virginia Black Bears and not sniffed Low-A until the following season. Plus not all guys that reach that level, at any age, hit the way Glenn has been, so why punish a guy by passing judgement for just dealing with the hand he has been dealt?
Sure, as with any other prospect, this Pirates could end up not working out, yet why not be a little cautiously optimistic and hope that Glenn can continue to produce in a way that forces a promotion to Greensboro to begin next session; with the possibility of mid-season promotion to Altoona, at which point he would be the average age for a Double-A Minor Leaguer.
Players don’t fit into a box, and neither does their development timeline. Player Centric, remember the idea?