The Pittsburgh Pirates have reportedly signed their 44th pick in the 2022 MLB Draft, LHP Hunter Barco, the first signing of the current draft class
The Pittsburgh Pirates went heavy on college pitchers in the 2022 MLB Draft, selecting 14 college pitchers out of their 21 picks. Last year the Pirates had the largest bonus pool in the draft at $14,394,000. This year the Pirates have the third largest bonus pool, coming in at $13,741,300.
Last year the Pirates signed 19 of their 21 picks, most notably signing 5 of the MLB Pipeline’s top 100 draft prospects, which was no small feat and gave the Pirates potentially one of the best draft classes that year. The Pirates were able to utilize their pool effectively, using under slot deals to get the most out of the draft signings.
They will attempt to the same thing this year, with the first of the 2022 draft class to sign being left-handed pitcher Hunter Barco out of the University of Florida, who was taken in the second round of the draft, which carries a $1,776,100 slot value.
Barco had a 2.50 ERA with 69 strike outs in 50.1 innings this season. In his career he carried a 3.18 ERA to go with 11.1 K/9 and 2.5 BB/9 in 152.2 innings with the Gators. Barco’s 2022 season was cut short when it was announced he would be undergoing Tommy John Surgery in May. He is ranked no. 75 in the draft by MLB Pipeline and no. 71 by Fangraphs.
Before his season-ending surgery, Barco had been trending towards a first round selection, but the timing of the surgery inevitably dropped his draft stock. Barco has an advanced feel for command and throws a sweeping slider that is considered the best pitch in his repertoire while sitting around 80-mph. He can touch 95-mph on his fastball and also throws a solid change-up.
Barco signing for $1,525,000 gives the Pirates $251,100 in under slot savings to put towards the rest of the draft class, which includes prep players who will be harder to sign. Last year the Pirates used the draft pool to their advantage by taking first overall pick Henry Davis and saving almost $2M by signing him under slot, which helped them sign Anthony Solometo, Lonnie White jr., and Bubba Chandler.
With the first signing of the 2022 MLB Draft out of the way, the Pirates will look towards signing the remaining picks, including the 4th overall pick Termarr Johnson. It has been reported that compensatory pick Thomas Harrington is in Pittsburgh to finalize his deal, so more signing announcements should be on the horizon. The deadline for draftees to sign this year is August 1st at 5:00PM.