This morning, even the most jaded Pirate fan has to be pleased with the news that the club has signed a full bounty of their draft picks, including the highly regarded pitching duo of Jameson Taillon and Stetson Allie, and proved once again that when it comes to acquiring young talent that money is really no object. It wasn’t simply the $6.5 million spent on Taillon and the $2.25 million spent on Allie either (although the bonus paid to Allie was among the largest ever in the second round) as third rounder Mel Rojas Jr, fourth rounder Nick Kingham, fifteenth rounder Drew Maggi, seventeenth rounder Ryan Hafner and twenty-third rounder Jared Lakind all were signed for far north of $400k, which in each case was well above slot value. In all, the combined total for the draft was estimated to be just over $12 million by Dejan Kovacevic and that figure was confirmed to be largely accurate by Opie N. Huntington, esq; and that $12 million has the distinction of breaking the record for total draft spending set just last season by the Washington Nationals who spent $11.19 million on their Strasburg-led haul.
But that is enough about finances, let’s talk some baseball. Firstly, the Taillon and Allie contracts are both excellent since they were signed to minor league deals. This way, if something does go wrong, the club isn’t obligated to rush them to the majors and start burning their minor league options. You really don’t have to look any further than our own Sean Gallagher to see what happens to highly regarded pitching prospects who run out of options too soon as nearly universally those players end up in middle and long relief clinging to jobs based on their former “prospect” status. Secondly, even though my stance on drafting high school pitchers has been made pretty clear before, I cannot deny that Taillon and Allie immediately slot in as the number 1 and number 2 or 3 prospects in the entire minor league system depending on how you feel about Allie vs Tony Sanchez. That sort of influx of top end talent all at once is a pretty rare thing. This doesn’t mean that you should expect to see them anytime before 2014, but it does add to the organization’s deepening pool of young pitching, perhaps the single most interesting collection of young arms in baseball right now.