Pittsburgh Pirates 2023 Draft: Rumored Draft Strategy for #1 Pick

Washington Nationals v Pittsburgh Pirates
Washington Nationals v Pittsburgh Pirates / Justin K. Aller/GettyImages

The countdown to the 2023 MLB Draft is underway, and all eyes are on the Pittsburgh Pirates as they hold the coveted first overall pick. This year's draft presents a golden opportunity for the Pirates to secure a game-changing talent who can shape the future of their organization. Adding to the pre-draft excitement is a recent report suggesting a potential under-slot deal.

Joe Doyle a Draft Insider from the Future Star Series, says the Pittsburgh Pirates plans are involving Paul Skenes, a college pitcher, allowing the Washington Nationals to make a splash with an over-slot signing of Dylan Crews. Let's dive into the draft strategy.

Apparently, recent discussions among scouting executives have been regarding the Pirates' draft plans. It is believed that they are considering selecting Paul Skenes with the first overall pick on an under-slot deal, which would provide the Nationals an opportunity to go above and beyond the recommended slot value to secure Dylan Crews at the second spot. The proposed framework for this potential deal involves the Pirates acquiring Skenes for around $9.0 million, resulting in a savings of approximately $700,000, while the Nationals would need to shell out $9.4 million, surpassing the slot value by $500,000.

Scouting executives have dubbed these rumors as "sketchpad pencil fodder," emphasizing that these numbers and discussions are not reflective of any official negotiations. Nonetheless, the mere existence of these talks has ignited conversation among fans of the Pittsburgh Pirates. The potential for such a strategic move highlights the complexities and different approaches teams employ to optimize their draft resources.

The Pittsburgh Pirates used this same approach to the 2021 Draft Class, which has worked out so far.

We saw Ben Cherington take this approach during the 2021 Draft. That Draft class has since produced Henry Davis, and Anthony Solometo who is now ranked as a Top 100 prospect on MLB Pipeline. They also picked up a few other highly regarded picks with the savings on Davis. Now the savings on Skenes would not be the near $2 million that Davis took.

Still, doing this would allow the team to get another first round potential prospect with a later pick. At the same time, they would be getting one of the best pitching prospects in recent draft history. On the other hand, taking Crews, the best-hitting prospect in recent years is the popular take among fans. We are just a few weeks away from getting some answers.