No. 1 draft prospect Bryce Harper who has been tabbed by some as the Lebron James of baseball, continues to dazzle leading up to the draft.
Friday night, the 17 year phenom went 6-for-7, hitting for the cycle and blasted his 25th home run of the season.
Harper is the consensus No. 1 prospect on just about everybody’s draft board except the Pittsburgh Pirates.
GM Neal Huntington stated at Piratesfest in the off-season that Harper is not even in the top 10 on their draft board and as recently as a few weeks ago, Huntington again downplayed the buzz surrounding Harper, saying he’s not even a Pedro Alvarez, Dustin Ackley or Buster Posey.
Huntington’s words alone are a clear sign that the Pirates will not select Harper if he falls to them at No. 2. The Pirates gave Pedro Alvarez a $6.35 million signing bonus in 2008 and if the Pirates view Alvarez as a better prospect than Harper, then there’s no way the Pirates will meet Harpers demands, which are believed to be upwards of a $10 million signing bonus.
The bar is set at $10 million + after Dustin Ackley received a $9.35 million signing bonus as the No. 2 overall pick in 2009.
It has been well noted inside the industry that the Pirates will not select Harper and the Pirates have provided scouts and evaluators around the league some laughs when it comes to their low grade of Harper.
ESPN’s Jason Churchill interviewed an AL scout who provided his impression of the Pirates scouting staff.
“Harper at No. 1? Are they crazy? Anyone who has Harper at the top is nuts. The kid is a third-round player at best.” — AL area scout doing his impression of the Pittsburgh Pirates’ scouting department