The 2021 MLB Draft begins July 11, and after quite a few mock drafts have been released, it’s becoming more likely that the Pirates pass on Jack Leiter and Kumar Rocker of Vanderbilt. That’s a bizarre move if you ask me, but it likely has more to do with money than anything else.
California high school shortstop Marcelo Mayer is now projected to be the No. 1 overall pick. According to The Athletic’s Keith Law, the team is “focused on position players.” That makes little sense since Pittsburgh is short on talent everywhere. Instead, they’re probably just re-enacting the draft success the Astros had with heavy position players like George Springer, Carlos Correa, and Alex Bregman.
Here’s how the money changes things
The Pirates have $14,394,000 in draft bonus pool money, the highest of any team in the league. That said, a player demanding the max bonus as the No. 1 pick would rack in $8,415,300 alone, heavily diminishing the remaining assets in the rest of the team’s draft.
So the fact that the Pirates want to steer clear of a money-hungry, can’t-miss star makes sense in theory — it’s just that the team probably shouldn’t play games this way. If there’s a star to be had, the Pirates should take him, regardless of the price tag.
Jack Leiter, K’ing the Side (again).— Rob Friedman (@PitchingNinja) June 22, 2021
9Ks thru 4. pic.twitter.com/aX59JjIm8L
There haven’t been any reports yet about what Kumar Rocker and Jack Leiter will ask for in next month’s draft, but we’ll know come draft day. I just can’t imagine this drafting style will land well with Pirates fans. That is, if they’re still watching…