PITTSBURGH -- The 2016 Draft will take place from Thursday through Saturday, beginning with the Draft preview show on MLB Network and MLB.com today at 6 p.m. ET. Live Draft coverage from MLB Network's Studio 42 begins at 7 p.m., with the top 77 picks being streamed on MLB.com and
PITTSBURGH -- The 2016 Draft will take place from Thursday through Saturday, beginning with the Draft preview show on MLB Network and MLB.com today at 6 p.m. ET. Live Draft coverage from MLB Network's Studio 42 begins at 7 p.m., with the top 77 picks being streamed on MLB.com and broadcast on MLB Network. MLB.com's exclusive coverage of Day 2 begins with a live Draft show at 12:30 p.m. on Friday, with exclusive coverage of Day 3 beginning at 1 p.m. on Saturday.
MLB.com's coverage includes Draft Central, the Top 200 Draft Prospects list and Draft Tracker, a live interactive application that includes a searchable database of over 1,500 Draft-eligible players. Every selection will be tweeted live from @MLBDraftTracker, and you can also keep up to date by following @MLBDraft. And get into the Draft conversation by tagging your tweets with #mlbdraft.
Here's how the Draft is shaping up for the Pirates, whose first selection is the 22nd overall pick.
Complete 2016 Draft coverage
In about 50 words
The Pirates have a deep Minor League system with several top prospects at Double-A and Triple-A. They'll look to replenish their depth with a strong Draft. As always, they'll aim for the best player available, regardless of position. Picking later in each round makes their choice more dependent upon what other clubs do in front of them.
The Pirates have gone heavy on hitters with their top picks each of the past three years, selecting Kevin Newman and Ke'Bryan Hayes (2015), Cole Tucker and Connor Joe (2014) and Austin Meadows and Reese McGuire (2013). With the 22nd, 41st and 68th overall picks, will the Pirates return to the pitching well that brought them Gerrit Cole, Tyler Glasnow and Jameson Taillon?
Pittsburgh's Triple-A rotation is loaded with prospects, but the Bucs could use a few more high-ceiling arms at the lower levels. But don't expect them to pass on a hitter they like early on; the last few years, they've picked up plenty of arms within the first 10 rounds -- including right-hander Chad Kuhl (ninth round, 2013), who now looks like a future Major League starter.
MLBPipeline Draft experts Jonathan Mayo and Jim Callis have linked the Pirates to a variety of players, including high school third baseman Nolan Jones (out of Bensalem, Pa.) and University of Pittsburgh right-hander T.J. Zeuch. If outfielder Alex Kirilloff from nearby Plum High School is still available by the 22nd pick, the Pirates could jump at another potential homegrown star, like Neil Walker.
General manager Neal Huntington acknowledged that a local product, like Kirilloff or Zeuch, is of greater interest to fans, and that knowledge does affect their decision-making process.
"I constantly get accused of being tone-deaf about local players. It is a factor," Huntington said. "I've probably learned over the years we need to be a little bit aware. I used to vocalize that it didn't matter at all. It matters. We need to make the move for the right reasons."
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 $100,000 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 $7,007,900, the 13th-lowest value in the Majors. The 22nd overall pick is assigned a slot value of $2,253,700, while the 41st selection is listed at $1,576,000. Last year, the Pirates signed Newman, the 19th pick, for a $2,175,000 bonus and Hayes, 32nd overall, for $1,855,000.
Teams rarely, if ever, make their Draft picks out of need, especially when picking further down the board. The Pirates have prospects at nearly every position and at essentially every level of their system. But as some of their top arms (Glasnow, Taillon, Kuhl and eventually Steven Brault and Trevor Williams) graduate to the Majors, it can't hurt to push new pitchers into the pipeline.
On the position player front, the Pirates have many of their big leaguers locked up to multiyear deals with plenty of options waiting in Triple-A and below, especially in the middle infield. Only four of their Top 30 prospects are true outfielders, so they could look to deepen that part of their organization.
Recent Draft history
The Bucs have been all about bats lately at the top of the Draft. Their first four picks last year, and five of their first seven in 2013 and '14, were hitters. Huntington maintains the Pirates are simply selecting the best player available at all times, but with teams always looking for offense, perhaps Pittsburgh is stockpiling hitters for a reason.
Left-hander Brandon Waddell, picked out of the University of Virginia in the fifth round last year, seemed like someone who might leap through the Pirates' system given his pedigree as an advanced college pitcher. After a brief stint in the New York-Penn League last season, however, he pushed right past Class A Advanced Bradenton (with a 0.93 ERA in five starts) and into the Double-A Altoona rotation.
In the 16th round of the 2012 Draft, the Pirates picked Max Moroff, a high school shortstop. They've seen him turn into a future big leaguer, believing enough in his potential to place him on their 40-man roster over the offseason. Moroff is a call away in Indianapolis.
In The Show
Gerrit Cole is the most recent Pirates Draft pick to make an impact in Pittsburgh. The top overall pick in 2011 has turned into the staff ace, fulfilling all the expectations placed on him coming out of UCLA. The 2011 Draft class could soon yield more Pirates, as Josh Bell (second round) and Glasnow (fifth) may not be far behind Taillon, the second overall pick in 2010.
The Pirates' recent top picks
2015: Kevin Newman, SS, Class A Advanced Bradenton (disabled list)
2014: Cole Tucker, SS, Class A Advanced Bradenton
2013: Austin Meadows, CF, Double-A Altoona
2012: Mark Appel, RHP (did not sign), now with Phillies' Triple-A Lehigh Valley (disabled list)
2011: Cole, RHP, Pirates
Adam Berry has covered the Pirates for MLB.com since 2015. Follow him on Twitter at @adamdberry.