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Pirates looking to add high-end talent in Draft

Pittsburgh selects No. 12 overall today
MLB.com

PITTSBURGH -- The Pirates' 78-win campaign last year left them out of the postseason for the first time since 2012. It also placed them in the top half of the first round of this year's Draft.

The last time Pittsburgh picked this high was 2013, when the club selected outfielder Austin Meadows -- now the No. 6 prospect in the Majors, per MLBPipeline.com -- with the ninth overall selection.

PITTSBURGH -- The Pirates' 78-win campaign last year left them out of the postseason for the first time since 2012. It also placed them in the top half of the first round of this year's Draft.

The last time Pittsburgh picked this high was 2013, when the club selected outfielder Austin Meadows -- now the No. 6 prospect in the Majors, per MLBPipeline.com -- with the ninth overall selection.

The 2017 Draft will take place through Wednesday, beginning with the Draft preview show on MLB Network and MLB.com today at 6 p.m ET. MLB Network will broadcast the first 36 picks (Round 1 and Competitive Balance Round A), while MLB.com will stream all 75 picks on Day 1. MLB.com will also provide live pick-by-pick coverage of Rounds 3-10 on Day 2, starting at 1 p.m. ET. Then, Rounds 11-40 can be heard live on MLB.com on June 14, beginning at noon ET.

Go to MLB.com/draft to see the Top 200 Prospects list, projected top picks from MLBPipeline.com analysts Jim Callis and Jonathan Mayo, the complete order of selection and more. And follow @MLBDraft on Twitter to see what Draft hopefuls, clubs and experts are saying.

:: 2017 MLB Draft coverage ::

Here's how the Draft is shaping up for the Pirates, whose first selection is the 12th overall pick.

In about 50 words
The Pirates have seen a number of their top prospects graduate to the Majors lately, but they still have a handful of high-ceiling players and depth options. With five of the first 88 picks and a higher bonus pool than in years past, however, the Pirates must capitalize on this opportunity to add high-end talent to their system.

The scoop
General manager Neal Huntington and director of amateur scouting Joe DelliCarri always stress their desire for the best available player. The last two years, they have picked lower in the Draft, and reminded reporters of the current system's restraints. Of their 82 picks the past two years, 71 of them came from the college or junior college ranks.

"It's the new system," Huntington said after last year's Draft. "Get used to it."

But with more than $10 million to spend in the 2017 Draft, could that change?

First-round buzz
Draft experts have linked the Pirates to a number of eligible prospects. Mayo recently projected the Bucs will take left-hander Trevor Rogers out of Carlsbad (N.M.) High School with the 12th overall pick. The Pirates are also considering high schoolers such as outfielder Austin Beck, first baseman Nick Pratto and intriguing right-hander Shane Baz.

Video: Draft Report: Trevor Rogers, High School pitcher

Baz went to Concordia Lutheran High School in Tomball, Texas, as did Ke'Bryan Hayes -- a 2015 first-round pick by the Bucs and now one of their top prospects. In his May 26 mock draft, Callis projected that Pittsburgh would take Baz, who is committed to Texas Christian University -- the same school that held on to prep lefty Nick Lodolo after he was selected 41st overall by the Pirates last year. The Pirates received the 42nd pick in this year's Draft as compensation for not signing Lodolo. Pittsburgh has also scouted a number of the top available college position players, according to Callis.

Video: Draft Report: Shane Baz, High School pitcher

Money matters
Under the Collective Bargaining Agreement, each team has an allotted bonus pool equal to the sum of the values of that club's selections in the first 10 rounds of the Draft. The more picks a team has, and the earlier it picks, the larger the pool. The signing bonuses for a team's selections in the first 10 rounds, plus any bonus greater than $125,000 for a player taken after the 10th round, will apply toward the bonus-pool total.

Any team going up to 5 percent over its allotted pool will be taxed at a 75-percent rate on the overage. A team that overspends by 5-10 percent gets a 75-percent tax, plus the loss of a first-round pick. A team that goes 10-15 percent over its pool amount will be hit with a 100-percent penalty on the overage, and the loss of a first- and second-round pick. Any overage of 15 percent or more gets a 100-percent tax, plus the loss of first-round picks in the next two Drafts.

The Pirates' pool value this year is $10,135,900, the seventh highest total in the Majors. The 12th overall pick has a slot value of $4,032,000, while the 42nd selection is listed at $1,635,500 and the 50th at $1,357,300. The 72nd pick, the Pirates' Competitive Balance Round B selection, is valued at $804,000. Last year, the Pirates signed first-round pick Will Craig for $2,253,700, the full value of the 22nd overall pick.

Shopping list
It's nearly impossible to predict who will be available in the Draft, even when picking as relatively early as the Pirates will do, and rarely does any club make a selection based on "need." Pittsburgh has gone heavy on college players the last few years, leaning toward patient/high-contact hitters and projectable pitchers who pile up strikeouts and ground balls.

Video: Top Prospects: Austin Meadows, OF, Pirates

Trend watch
Each of the past four years, the Pirates have used their top pick on a position player: Craig, Kevin Newman, Cole Tucker and Meadows. Five of their first seven picks in 2013 and '14 were hitters, and their top four selections in '15 were position players. The Bucs broke the trend a bit last season, with Craig and third-round shortstop Stephen Alemais the only hitters among their top seven picks.

Recent Draft history

Rising fast
Shortstop Kevin Newman and second baseman Kevin Kramer, two of the Pirates' first three picks in 2015, began the season in Double-A Altoona. While Newman struggled early after an outstanding 2016, Kramer has thrived at the plate. Combining his strong bat with solid (perhaps unspectacular) defense, Kramer has a chance to be an everyday second baseman.

Cinderella story
Most of the Pirates' top prospects were high-round Draft picks, international signings or trade acquisitions. The exception is infielder Max Moroff, a 16th-round selection out of high school in 2012 who has reached the Majors each of the last two seasons.

Video: PIT@BAL: Moroff lines a two-run double to left field

In the Show
Where to start? Andrew McCutchen (2005), Tony Watson (2007), Jordy Mercer (2008) and Gerrit Cole (2011) are the longest-tenured Pirates who were drafted and developed by the organization. Over the last two years, the Pirates have seen Jameson Taillon (2010), Tyler Glasnow and Josh Bell (2011), Moroff (2012) and Adam Frazier and Chad Kuhl (2013) join the big league club.

The Pirates' recent top picks
2016: Will Craig, 1B, Class A Advanced Bradenton
2015: Kevin Newman, SS, Double-A Altoona
2014: Cole Tucker, SS, Class A Advanced Bradenton (disabled list)
2013: Austin Meadows, OF, Triple-A Indianapolis
2012: Mark Appel, RHP, unsigned, now with Triple-A Lehigh Valley (Phillies)

Adam Berry has covered the Pirates for MLB.com since 2015. Follow him on Twitter and Facebook, read his blog and listen to his podcast.

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