We've been keeping a watch on Dominican top prospect Miguel Angel Sano recently. The 16 year-old is reportedly coveted by all 30 teams and expected to land a signing bonus over $3MM when the international signing period begins July 2. The Pirates are reported as having the inside track but Dejan Kovacevic of the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette says the signing is "fraught with risk."
According to Kovacevic, dealings between Major League Baseball and Latin American systems are done "mostly through unwritten, unspoken agreements" and the Pirates would be throwing out an established pay scale. Further, the Pirates have never committed anything close to $4MM in a bonus for a Dominican player, and to do so for a 16 year-old carries obvious risk. Lastly, Kovacevic notes the Pirates spent $9.8MM on last year's draft. If they continue to spend more, they'll risk damaging their draft class.
On the other hand, not signing Sano could result in dispirited talent evaluators "effusive in their praise of Sano's potential," as well as a loss of participation in "special tryouts" in the D.R. should the Pirates come off as unserious buyers.