Pittsburgh Pirates Draft: Will Gunnar Hoglund Sign?

(Photo by Jared Wickerham/Getty Images)
(Photo by Jared Wickerham/Getty Images) /

The Pittsburgh Pirates have signed most of their top 10 round picks.  The only ones remaining are their fifth round pick, 10th round pick, and Competitive Balance Pick Gunnar Hoglund.

The first night of the MLB draft was highlighted by the Pittsburgh Pirates taking two high upside prep pitchers.  The first was Gunnar Hoglund, who was taken in the Competitive Balance round at number 36 overall.  The second was Braxton Ashcraft, who was selected in the second round and 51st overall.  Ashcraft has since signed to a deal that worth $1,825,000.  The slot for the 51st overall pick was slated at $1,382,400.  This deal was about $400K over slot, which is about how much the Pittsburgh Pirates have saved up until this point.

So with that, will the Pittsburgh Pirates be able to convince Gunnar Hoglund to sign?  Currently, the team does not have any extra bonus money to pay out to Hoglund.  Hoglund is committed to play baseball at the University of Mississippi (Ole Miss).  Ole Miss, of course, is a solid baseball school that plays in the Southeastern Conference (SEC), which is known for producing major league baseball players.  So with the team being limited on how much they can offer him, and the allure of playing in one of the top baseball conferences while gaining even more exposure, it could be tough to sign him.  The number 36 pick comes with a slot of $1,967,000, being he has not signed it is obvious that he is looking for more money than that.

Yesterday it was made apparent that it may be even more likely that the big righty will not be signing with the Pittsburgh Pirates.  This came via Kiley McDaniel of FanGraphs.  He tweeted that he received word that Hoglund was at the University of Mississippi for freshmen orientation.  McDaniel tweeted:

"“Source: Pirates comp round pick (36th overall) Florida prep RHP Gunnar Hoglund attended orientation for summer school at Ole Miss yesterday. One among the many currently unsigned prep picks that may not sign.”"

The fact that he was there could suggest that he plans on attending there in the fall and forgoing his chance at professional baseball for now.  However, Hoglund could also be covering his bases.  The fact that he has not officially signed could mean he is still making up his mind on what to do.  Maybe he wanted to go and visit the college to see if its something he really wants to do.  Or maybe he just is following protocol of going to freshmen orientation because he may not get the bonus he wants and end up at Ole Miss.  It does not necessarily mean that Hoglund is without doubt not signing with the Pirates.

Next: Ashcraft Signing Details

As mentioned earlier, a lot of him signing will have to do with the bonus he wants from the Pittsburgh Pirates.  While the Bucs do not have any current extra bonus money, they still can save some.  The team has yet to sign fifth-round pick Grant Koch, a catcher from the University of Arkansas.  Also, the team has yet to sign 10th round pick Michael Gretler, a third baseman for Oregon State.

Both are currently playing in the College World Series and will not be eligible to sign until it has finished. Gretler is a senior so he likely will get a very small signing bonus.  His slot value is $140K, he will get well under this.  Koch is a junior who has a slot value of $364K.  While the team might not save as much on Koch as they will Gretler, they still should save some.  Hopefully, it will be enough to influence Hoglund to sign.

*All Bonus Figures are courtesy of Spotrac.com