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Signings Since Thread #4

Here’s a quick list with bonus amounts of the players we know have signed since I last listed Kevin James in signing thread #4. Their round number is listed after the team that drafted them:

Mike Leake, RHP, Arizona State, Reds (1st), $2.27 million
Brad Boxberger, RHP, USC, Reds (1st-S), $857,000
Nick Franklin, SS, Lake Brantley HS (FL), Mariners (1st), $1.28 million
Chad James, LHP, Yukon HS (OK), Marlins (1st), $1.7 million
Todd Glaesmann, OF, Midway HS (TX), Rays (3rd), $930,000
Jeff Malm, 1B, Bishop Gorman HS (NV), Rays (5th), $680,000
Jake Locker, OF, Washington, Angels (10th), $150,000
Daniel Webb, RHP, Northwest Florida State JC, Blue Jays (18th), $450,000
Caleb Cotham, RHP, Vanderbilt, Yankees (5th), $675,000
Slade Heathcott, OF, Texas HS (TX), Yankees (1st), $2.2 million
K.C. Hobson, OF, Stockdale HS (CA), Blue Jays (6th), $500,000
J.R. Murphy, C, Pendleton School (FL), Yankees (2nd), $1.25 million
Brooks Hall, RHP, Hanna HS (SC), Brewers (4th), $700,000
Michael Ohlman, C, Lakewood Ranch HS (FL), Orioles (11th), $995,000
Max Stassi, C, Yuba City HS (CA), Athletics (4th), $1.5 million
Kentrail Davis, OF, Tennessee, Brewers (1st-S), $1.2 million
Everett Williams, OF, McCallum HS (TX), Padres (2nd), $775,000
Shelby Miller, RHP, Brownwood HS (TX), Cardinals (1st), $2.875 million
Brody Colvin, RHP, St. Thomas More HS (LA), Phillies (7th), $900,000
Bryan Berglund, RHP, Royal HS (CA), Marlins (2nd), $572,500
Bryan Mitchell, RHP, Rockingham County HS (NC), Yankees (16th), $800,000
Jake Marisnick, OF, Poly HS (CA), Blue Jays (3rd), $1 million

More updates to come.

August 17, 2009 Posted by | Draft Pick Signings | 11 Comments

Signings Thread #4

Since more and more are trickling in. The most recent are at the top, so check in continuously:

Kevin James, LHP, Whitefish Bay HS (WI), Tampa Bay Rays’ 9th Rounder
Jim Callis is reporting that the Rays and James have agreed to a $625,000 bonus, the largest for a ninth rounder this year. I was high on the James pick as the draft neared, as he became one of the most intriguing late-season risers in the entire country. Cold-weather players are notoriously under-scouted, and the Rays got a serious bargain in getting James as low down as they did. He’s a big kid, has good stuff, and his arm is also quite fresh. That’s a great combination, though the Rays did have to pay a fair amount to get him signed. This is second round money, and it’s roughly even to the slot number assigned to Detroit’s Andy Oliver, the ninth pick of the second round. I wouldn’t say that James is necessarily a second-rounder, as he does lack the polish that most prep second rounders have, but he’s got the talent and projectability, and I like this signing quite  a bit. This was expected to happen this weekend, so there’s no surprises here. What’s surprising is that there’s a report that came out last night that LeVon Washington’s signing is now in doubt. Marc Lancaster says that the issue with Washington is that they haven’t allowed enough time to do a full physical on Washington, who is coming off the notorious shoulder injury that moved him to second base. My answer to that is simple: START IT NOW! Teams know that their picks will be going down to the wire, so most bring in those picks for a preemptive physical, getting that formality out of the way before terms are agreed upon. Maybe it’s Boras that’s getting in the way of this, but if this is muffed, along with the possible screwup of not signing second rounder Kenny Diekroeger, the Rays’ draft starts to sink greatly in my eyes. They need to get this done.

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Garrett Gould, RHP, Maize HS (KS), Los Angeles Dodgers’ 2nd Rounder
Jim Callis is finally reporting that Gould’s deal is finalized, and his bonus is $900,000. This now represents the highest second round bonus to date, and it’s also the Dodgers’ highest bonus given out this year. The Dodgers won’t be giving anyone else a $900K bonus, so I think Gould keeps this distinction. The Dodgers now have a few days to possibly take a run at guys like Connor Powers (11th), Daniel Palo (20th), and maybe their run in the 24th to 27th rounds of solid prospects. They’ve spent somewhere around $4 million by my own calculations, and that’s right around where they’ve spent the last couple of years. They spent $4.4 million a year ago, so maybe there’s some leeway to get another prospect or possibly two signed up, though I wouldn’t necessarily count on it. Their draft was solid, though not spectacular, and Gould represents their best player from this class. I’m glad he ended up getting the highest signing bonus, and that bonus is roughly equal to slot for the 35th overall pick, the third in the supplemental first round this year. It’s just barely more than the Dodgers’ first pick, Aaron Miller, who got slot money for his slot at the 36th overall pick, so I’m guessing that this amount was by design, and not just a random amount for Gould and the Dodgers. Gould wanted to get paid like he was the Dodgers’ top draft pick, and the Dodgers didn’t want to spend any more than the slot right above Miller’s, so this all makes sense to me. The Dodgers are quite possibly done, and definitely don’t expect any major signings from them.

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Luke Bailey, C, Troup County HS (GA), Tampa Bay Rays’ 4th Rounder
Jim Callis is reporting that the Rays and Bailey have agreed to a $750,000 deal on the Friday before the signing deadline on Monday. I’m a little surprised the bonus is that small, as Bailey was a surefire first rounder before he went down with an elbow injury that ended up causing him to have Tommy John surgery. It’s not an insignificant amount, but it’s just not the first round money I was expecting Bailey to hold out for. After all, he had a good commitment to Auburn, and he’s expected to at least be able to hit at the beginning of the year, if not catch a few times a week. However, the Rays did pay him what he was apparently looking for, and he’ll be in uniform next spring, as he shouldn’t be able to throw with any sort of velocity for fall instructs. Looking at how this affects the rest of the Rays’ draft, I’m not sure it will have any sort of trickle down effect, other than allowing Rays’ management to concentrate more time on their unsigned picks. First rounder LeVon Washington, third rounder Todd Glaesmann, fifth rounder Jeff Malm, and ninth rounder Kevin James are all expected to sign soon, so the remaining dominos are second round shortstop Kenny Diekroeger from California and possibly Dylan Floro, though I think a deal there is unlikely. Diekroeger’s supposedly a very tough sign, and I’m not sure they’ll have the kind of money he’s asking for if they sign all the guys that are supposedly close to a deal now. Perhaps they take that little surplus they’ll have if they don’t sign Diekroeger and throw it at Derek Dennis, their tenth rounder who supposedly will not sign and will be headed to school. Or perhaps Floro is the recipient of it. Either way, the Rays’ draft has probably been completed successfully in terms of signing their most important players, those supposedly pretty much done. I didn’t like the Diekroeger pick much to begin with, so if it turns into a signing of Dennis or Floro, it might actually be a win, as they would get a pick in a similar spot next year. With Bailey’s signing official, this is step one in the Rays’ slow-moving plan.

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Bobby Borchering, 3B, Bishop Verot HS (FL), Arizona Diamondbacks’ 1st Rounder
Jim Callis reports that Borchering has signed with the Diamondbacks for $1.8 million. That’s close to $300,000 over slot for the 16th overall pick, making it roughly even to the assigned slot for the 11th overall pick. It represents more than last year’s slot, too, so it appears Borchering was holding out for a specific amount, not just last year’s slot. I have to admit I’ve become a pretty big Borchering fan, as I continually heard reports of how much he was improving as the year went along. After first thinking he might have to move positions, I now think Borchering has what it takes to stick at third base full-time, and his fellow Arizona draftee Matt Davidson will be the first baseman of the pair. Borchering’s bat is quite good, but it’s not on the level of recent top prep third base prospects in the draft, such as Mike Moustakas. However, he’s got roughly the same potential, and I’d bet on Borchering being successful in the pros. He’s part of a very successful draft for the Diamondbacks, as they’ve signed all but one of their picks in the first 24 rounds. That one last unsigned pick, third baseman Matt Helm from a high school in Arizona, is actually close to signing this weekend according to some reports, though he has to work out for the Diamondbacks before anything is official. Anyway, I love this draft, as anyone with so many picks should make out like a bandit. Borchering, AJ Pollock, Matt Davidson, Chris Owings, and Marc Krauss all got consideration at one time or another for the first round, and Arizona didn’t even have to break the bank for them. I’m really going to enjoy doing their draft review.

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David Renfroe, SS, South Panola HS (MS), Boston Red Sox 3rd Rounder
Jim Callis is reporting that Renfroe’s deal is finally done, and the bonus is $1.4 million. The catch is that it’s going to be spread over five years, as Renfroe’s a two-sport star including baseball and football. As a result, MLB is calculating the present value to be less than Boston’s first round pick Reymond Fuentes, who received $1.134 million. This ends a very successful run of over slot signings over the last week plus, as I don’t fully expect anyone else to sign in their class. Sixth rounder Branden Kline is supposedly heading back to school, and Kendal Volz hasn’t really shown enough to deserve the bonus he’s likely asking for. Therefore, I think it’s quite possible the Red Sox are done signing picks altogether. Their recent haul of Renfroe, Younginer, Brandon Jacobs, and Jason Thompson help round out their class.

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Chad Bell, LHP, Walters State CC (TN), Texas Rangers’ 14th Rounder
Jim Callis reported earlier this evening that Bell signed for a bonus of $450,000. Bell was a fairly highly-regarded JUCO pitcher at Walters, but he really kicked it up a notch pitching on the Cape this summer. His summer effort was highlighted by the only no-hitter in the entire league for the season. This probably wraps up the signings for the Rangers for today, though they might work for Jabari Blash (9th) and Thomas Lemke (10th) over the weekend, in addition to unsigned first rounder Matt Purke. I’m starting to like this philosophy of the Rangers’ in terms of putting together a huge group of pitchers in tiers, but I still am not a fan of their draft overall. Their first two picks went amazingly well, as they were able to get two consensus first round talents. However, starting with Tommy Mendonca, their draft really went downhill for me, and I don’t think I’m a big fan of a single one of their hitters. Mendonca strikes out way too much and doesn’t walk enough, but the rest of the hitters are either extremely raw or extremely old. They don’t have enough hitting depth in their system to put together drafts like this. However, their pitching group is probably one of the best in any draft, so I’ll give this a pass for now.

August 15, 2009 Posted by | Draft Pick Signings | , , , , , | 4 Comments

The New Signings Thread

It was suggested to me to start a new signings thread, so here it is. Newest additions will be at the top, so check back continuously for updates:

Madison Younginer, RHP, Mauldin HS (SC), Boston Red Sox 7th Rounder
The bonus amount has finally come out for Younginer, who was rumored to have signed earlier today. It’s $975,000 as reported by Jim Callis.
Younginer was one of my favorites earlier in the season, as he qualified in many ways for what I consider sleeper draft prospects, ones that could easily end up contributing in huge ways in the Major Leagues, though from more modest backgrounds than the top of the first round. First, Younginer’s a prep arm with a FRESH arm. That is, his coach hasn’t run his arm into the ground, mainly because Younginer worked as a closer in high school. That might not have been good for raising his draft stock, but it will ultimately be good for his arm in the long run. The second such sleeper qualification for me is pure fastball velocity. While top guys like Matt Hobgood were busy working in the low-90s with top velocities around 95, Younginer has the ability to work in stretches where the low-90s are disappointments in his series of fastballs. I’ve been told multiple times of him hitting 97, and that wasn’t uncommon. Granted, it was in relief, but it is pure velocity that most prospects couldn’t expect to touch, even the top ones. The last sleeper qualification for me for Younginer was his slider. It’s hard, it’s nasty, and it’s inconsistent. That’s understandable, as most hitters can’t hope to touch a 97 mph fastball when a closer comes on. However, the flashes he shows can be brilliant, and I think with reps, he can unleash a filthy, reliable pitch. He might be a reliever in the long run due to his delivery, but I wouldn’t count out Younginer from turning into a top starting pitching prospect, as he has time and will require starter innings to develop in the minors. Otherwise, the Red Sox might have found Jon Papelbon’s replacement.

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Jeff Inman, RHP, Stanford, Pittsburgh Pirates’ 12th Rounder
Jim Callis says that Inman and the Pirates have indeed agreed to a contract, and Inman will receive a $425,000 bonus. Here’s what I said about Inman in my Pirates draft review:

12. Jeff Inman, RHP, Stanford, #355 overall, 6’3’’/205: Inman was in the running for a top three rounds pick entering the spring. However, huge bouts of ineffectiveness and loss of command meant that he fell down the boards. He’s got the natural talent to be an impact pitcher, but with questions of health and stuff coming in, this was a natural decline in draft stock. I still expected him to go in the 7-10 round range, with someone offering him 3rdround money to sign away from his senior year at Stanford, but it’s looking to me like he’ll return. This is a decent gamble in the 12th round for the Pirates, but I only see him signing if multiple pitchers in the 6-8 round picks fail to sign, opening up enough money for him. DOB: 11/24/87.

Well, I was obviously wrong that the Pirates could only sign Inman if they failed to sign some of their Von Rosenberg/Stevenson/Cain group, as they managed to ink every single one. I was right about the third round money statement, though, as Inman got almost an identical amount to the Pirates’ own Evan Chambers, the fourth pick of the third round. In fact, Inman gets just a tad more than Chambers, moving Chambers further down the bonus chart for Pittsburgh’s 2009 draft. This is just one more step on the road to respectability for the Pirates, and this draft has upgraded their farm system more than you think. Matt den Dekker (16th) and Jordan Cooper (17th) could add a lot more to this draft, too, and I’m starting to wonder if that’s the Pirates’ goal. They’ve spent somewhere in the neighborhood of $9 million so far, so it’s not a stretch to see them go all out for those two prospects in particular, in addition to possibly Josh Urban (19th), Marcos Reyna (14th), and Peter Bako (15th). They spent $9.8 million last year on bonuses, so don’t be surprised to see these names at least considered.

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Wil Myers, C, Wesleyan Christian Academy (NC), Kansas City Royals’ 3rd Rounder
Callis also says that the Royals and catcher Myers have agreed to a $2 million bonus, the highest third round bonus given out this year. Myers was someone I was surprised slipped past the first round, as he had garnered some attention near the top half of the first round as late as the weekend before the draft. He battled all season with Max Stassi as the best prep catcher available after Luke Bailey, and after Bailey went down with elbow surgery, it was just Stassi and Myers. My main concern with Myers is his ability to both handle catching full time and continue swinging a consistent bat. He didn’t play against much tough competition in school, and therefore he didn’t have to concentrate as much on being well-rounded in his play. As a pro, Myers has to prove he can handle all the issues that come with handling a pitching staff and continue what is a pretty sweet swing. He didn’t catch much in the scheme of things in school, so just the physical wear on his body might be enough to throw him off a little, so keep that in mind next year when he goes through his first full pro season. Now that Myers’ signing is out of the way, will there be a run at 37th rounder Tanner Poppe? Probably not, but Aaron Crow isn’t subject to the deadline, so if I were running that draft, I’d at least kick the tires on the rest of my unsigned players to see what I can drum up.

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Miles Head, 3B, Whitewater HS (GA), Boston Red Sox 26th Rounder
Jim Callis says that the Red Sox have agreed with Head on a $335,000 bonus. Head was a prep catcher, though many scouts doubted he had what it took to stay there as pro. As a result, the Red Sox took him as a third baseman, and that’s probably his permanent position. He’s got a good bat, though he essentially is already where he’s going to be in the future in terms of power projection, speed, arm strength, etc. The ways he’ll improve are in areas like pitch recognition and defensive repetitions, rather than maturing physically. As a result, he didn’t earn the recognition his bat warranted as a prep, simply because he wasn’t as toolsy and projectable. Georgia prep Donavan Tate overshadowed Head, though Head was a superior hitter, and I’m not exaggerating. Tate’s got the tools, but Head’s more advanced with the bat. As a result, I’m fairly impressed by this signing, and it wasn’t terribly expensive, especially considering Boston’s record of signing players to much larger bonuses, even outside the first round. In the same blog, Callis also mentions that deals for David Renfroe (3rd) and Madison Younginer (7th) are forthcoming, so stay tuned.

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Tommy Joseph, C, Horizon HS (AZ), San Francisco Giants’ 2nd Rounder
According to Jim Callis, Joseph and the Giants have agreed to a $712,500 bonus. That’s only just under $60,000 over slot for Joseph’s recommended bonus amount, so I’m surprised he held out this long. The bonus amount is worth right in between the recommended amounts for Pittsburgh’s Victor Black and Washington’s Jeff Kobernus, that is, it’s slotted at slightly more than the first pick of the second round. It’s currently the most money given out to a second rounder this year, but that will be surpassed shortly, as multiple second round prospects might garner seven figure deals. Here’s what I had to say about Joseph in my Giants draft review:

2. Tommy Joseph, C, Horizon HS (AZ), #55 overall, 6’1’’/215: I had some people criticize my next-to-last mock draft, because I left Joseph out of the three round mock altogether. I even had a few people say it was idiotic for Joseph to be left out of the first round, as he was a lock. However, I felt a subtle shift in his stock late in the season, as teams were always sure of his bat, but became more apprehensive about his glove. I see first base in his future, as his mechanics behind the plate just aren’t those of a catcher in today’s game. He could easily improve greatly and prove me wrong, but I just don’t see the skills. He does have the tools, however, as his arm is quite strong. He hasn’t signed, but I expect him to agree shortly before Wheeler. DOB: 7/16/91. Commitment: Arizona.

Now we start the process of figuring out whether Joseph is a true catcher or not. The Giants can afford to take the risk with him, as they already have Buster Posey in their system. The bad news is that if Joseph has to move to first, he has no room for error with his bat. He also has Angel Villalona ahead of him there, so there’s also a competition factor. I believe in Joseph’s bat in general, though, and I still like this pick, especially considering he didn’t cost them as much money as he could have possibly commanded. This leaves plenty of time and budget room for first rounder Zack Wheeler, as Brandon Belt also signed earlier today. Is there a Jonathan Walsh, Jason Walls, or Mitch Mormann in the Giants’ future? We’ll see shortly.

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Riley Cooper, OF, Florida, Texas Rangers’ 25th Rounder
I already knew that Cooper had agreed to terms with the Rangers, but Jim Callis finally has his bonus amount, which is $250,000.
Under the terms of the deal, Cooper’s bonus will not be spread over five years, though he’s currently a football player at Florida, as well. In addition, Cooper will get to continue to play football with the Gators as a wide receiver, as his eligibility in football isn’t hampered by his signing a professional contract in another sport. Seems like a sweet deal for Cooper. Cooper’s got a top of untapped potential on the baseball diamond, where his athleticism is a huge plus. However, like I said about Joey Schoenfeld below, Cooper’s simply an athlete at this point, not a baseball player. He needs a lot of work, and though he played very well during his freshman season with the Gators, his regression and lack of playing time really hurt his development. Since he has a full football season at Florida, there’s still the chance of him getting hurt, or simply being tired when it comes time to ramp it up for his first season next spring. He won’t be participating in fall instructs either, so there’s really tons of risk in this signing. The Rangers are banking on the pure talent, but that’s a steep price. It’s obvious the Rangers are working through their unsigned picks this week, leaving Matt Purke for the weekend, and the rest of the Ranger signees, if there are any more, will probably be announced today.

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Joey Schoenfeld, C, Santiago HS (CA), Pittsburgh Pirates’ 10th Rounder
Chuck Finder is reporting that the Pirates have signed Schoenfeld to a $195,000 bonus, though he’s giving the credit to BA for the report. I haven’t found it anywhere on BA’s site, so I’ll give the tip to him. Here’s what I had to say about Schoenfeld in my Pirates draft review:

10. Joey Schoenfeld, C, Santiago HS (CA), #295 overall, 6’2’’/187: This was a large overdraft, as Schoenfeld is one of the more raw players with talent in this draft class. Classifying him as a catcher is a bit iffy right now, as he has the tools, but has bad mechanics and will need a lot of work. There’s been speculation he’ll need to move somewhere else and soon. Same for the bat, as he’s just not up to shape yet. The Pirates surprised me by calling his name this high, and while the talent might be decent, it’s definitely not a strong by draft position. He hasn’t signed yet, either, and I wonder if he will at all. A bit puzzling here. He’s simply an athlete, not yet a baseball player. DOB: 6/11/91. Commitment: San Diego State.

I still stand by this assessment, as I feel Schoenfeld is really a boom-or-bust prospect. He’s so raw that he’ll have to make significant adjustments, and that’s tough on a kid coming straight out of high school. I still don’t think he’ll stick at catcher, and he’s going to have to work hard to become passable at another position, whether it’s third base or at a corner outfield spot. His athleticism is quality, but that’s an excuse that was used more on prospects fifteen years ago than today. Athleticism doesn’t necessarily equal baseball skills, so Schoenfeld will have to prove he’s more than just an athlete. The bonus amount isn’t that significant, and it’s less than I expected for him. He held out this long for just $45,000 over the recommended maximum of $150,000 for his slot, so all he did was slow down his development. Knowing the bonus amount, this isn’t that much of a risk, as the team can absorb the loss of him being a bust. In addition, this might leave some room to ink someone else this weekend for an over slot bonus, perhaps even two players. I’m sure they’d love to ink Stanford’s Jeff Inman (12th), Florida’s Matt den Dekker (16th), and either Jordan Cooper (17th) or Josh Urban (19th). A likely scenario might be that they sign their 14th and 15th rounders, a pair of JUCO players they’ve followed this summer in Marcos Reyna and Peter Bako. Either way, they’ll just be adding on talent to an already stacked draft group.

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Shawn Blackwell, RHP, Clear Creek HS (TX), Texas Rangers’ 24th Rounder
Jim Callis is reporting that the Rangers signed Blackwell for an enormous $300,000, a huge amount for a 24th rounder. I was pretty high on Blackwell coming into the draft, but I wondered if his Kansas commitment would be too much to overcome. While I was high on him, I also knew he was probably someone in consideration for the 7th to 10th round, which probably didn’t offer enough money to lure him away from school. However, the Rangers ponied up what is equivalent to slot money for the late third round. It’s a solid move for Texas, a team that has enough young pitchers to just throw them against a wall and see who sticks. Looking at the greater picture from this draft, though, and you’ll see that this signing is probably the result of a few things. First, the Rangers have probably failed to secure 10th rounder Thomas Lemke, a prep pitcher from Arizona. They wouldn’t have made such a serious run at Blackwell and 14th rounder Chad Bell without knowing that they don’t need the cash for Lemke. That’s fine, as Lemke really took a step backwards this spring in terms of draft stock. Second, the Rangers were able to get the signing of 5th rounder Nick McBride, who I reported on in the last signings thread. Callis says McBride’s bonus is $325,000, quite a bit more than I thought it would be. Lastly, this is the result of the Rangers wanting to set aside the weekend to deal with Matt Purke. I wouldn’t be surprised to see something come out about 9th rounder Jabari Blash today, as well as the final word on Lemke and players such as 16th rounder Mike Revell. 19th rounder Jayce Boyd has announced he’s going to school. So there’s your state of the Rangers’ draft.

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Brandon Belt, 1B, Texas, San Francisco Giants’ 5th Rounder
According to this report by Kendall Rogers, Belt has decided to sign with the Giants for  $200,000. This wasn’t very surprising to me, as I didn’t expect Belt to be too expensive to sign. Here’s what I had to say about Belt in my Giants draft review:

5. Brandon Belt, 1B, Texas, #147 overall, 6’5’’/210: This was a surprising overdraft to me, as I loved what the Giants had done with their first four picks. However, Belt, despite blessed with exceptional size and good natural power, lacks the performance numbers or tools to be drafted this high. Since being drafted in the 11th round in both 2006 and 2007 (Red Sox and Braves), Belt has been a huge disappointment, with relatively weak hitting, making him going this high a big surprise. He’s got good tools at first, and with mechanical adjustments, he might become a more powerful hitter, but it’s just not likely. He hasn’t signed yet. DOB: 4/20/88.

I still feel this way about Belt, and I’m not sure he’ll succeed as a pro. He doesn’t have a first baseman’s performance numbers, and he’ll need some time to get through the minors. However, considering the price wasn’t too extravagant, I’m fine with this deal. It frees up time to deal with Zack Wheeler and Tommy Joseph, the key pieces in the Giants’ draft. In addition, the Giants might have enough money left over for one of the group of Jonathan Walsh (18th), Jason Walls (19th), or Mitch Mormann (20th) to sign, but that’s not likely. However, this draft is still very successful in my eyes, and I’m glad to see one more piece of the puzzle put together with a few days to spare.

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Chris Dwyer, LHP, Clemson, Kansas City Royals’ 4th Rounder
Jim Callis has the bonus amount for Dwyer, who supposedly agreed to his deal over a month ago. It’s a record-setting $1.45 million, the most ever given to a fourth round draftee. First, I want to make clear that I’m not a big fan of this bonus amount. Dwyer’s done little to deserve what is essentially slot for the 17th overall pick. The only reason he’s getting so much is that he’s got more leverage than most, as he’s a rare draft-eligible freshman. Slot for Dwyer’s pick number was only $240,300, and while I wouldn’t expect Dwyer to settle for that, I think half of the $1.5MM he got was more what I would pay him. After all, being a draft-eligible freshman doesn’t mean you’re any more young and projectable than draft-eligible juniors. It just means that you can go back to school and improve your stock multiple times. Dwyer’s already 21, so I’d grade him on an even plane with the vast majority of college juniors. Being left-handed certainly helps, but it’s not enough for me to vastly overpay him. Dwyer’s got a solid pitch mix, but he’s going to take a lot of work in terms of learning how to pitch at the pro level. His numbers alone at Clemson illustrate that. But the Royals are banking on the talent to show up, though Dwyer could easily need a stop at each minor league level before reaching the Majors. Looking at the rest of the week, the Royals have only goal in mind, and that’s making third rounder Wil Myers’ deal official. Like Dwyer, it’s been rumored for weeks that Myers has already agreed to a deal, only to have the commissioner’s office reject it due to its expensive nature. I’d expect it to become official shortly, perhaps even as early as tomorrow. Aaron Crow doesn’t fall under the signing deadline, so I would expect that to only pick up after Myers’ deal is official. They’re reportedly offering Crow $3 million, but he’s declining it. Without Crow, this draft class for Kansas City isn’t that strong, though I expect they’ll get it done.

August 14, 2009 Posted by | Draft Pick Signings | , , , , , , , , , | 10 Comments

The Signings Thread

Since I’ve already been alerted to another pick signed since I posted my last update, I’m going to make this my catch-all signings thread. Here I’ll post my thoughts on each player that signs between now and the deadline, with no particular attention to any specific set of guidelines. It’ll just be my rambling thoughts, just like the last thread. I’ll post it to the top of the blog every time there’s a new report. If you come across any reports of players signing, post them here in the comments. Here’s the players, the most recent at the top:

Cameron Coffey, LHP, Houston Christian HS (TX), Baltimore Orioles’ 22nd Rounder
UPDATE: Jim Callis says Coffey’s bonus is $990,000. This is probably not one of the two players Joe Jordan mentioned as second round caliber players, since he seemed to suggest that the money they offered Givens would be split between the two players. So my most recent guess is that the two players receiving that bonus money will be Mike Ohlman and Garrett Bush, both prep players from the state of Florida.
Jeff Zrebiec of the Baltimore Sun is reporting that the Orioles agreed to terms with Coffey in the same article in which he stated that Mychal Givens was not going to sign. Here’s what I had to say about Coffey in the Orioles draft review:

22. Cameron Coffey, LHP, Houston Christian HS (TX), #656 overall, 6’5’’/215: Coffey got a tough break this spring, when he blew out his elbow and had Tommy John surgery. This came after a huge breakout early in the year in which he started routinely throwing in the low-90s and I was hearing tons of buzz on him. I thought he might be heading towards day one before the injury. This seems like a pure follow to me, as I don’t think the Orioles will invest the money to sign Coffey away from his strong Duke commitment. DOB: 9/20/90. Commitment: Duke.

I was obviously wrong about Coffey not signing, but I think a lot hinges on Coffey passing a physical. Obviously the Orioles know he had Tommy John surgery, but there might be more for Baltimore to find. I’d like to wait until the bonus information comes out before I declare this signing a winner, but most of what I had to say is in the Mychal Givens post I made just a short while ago. This is probably a consequence of Givens not signing, as I suspect Coffey had a high asking price. In other news, the same article says that the Orioles had agreed with 25th rounder Jay Johnson, but he failed the physical, so he’ll honor his Texas Tech commitment.

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Nick McBride, RHP, Ragsdale HS (NC), Texas Rangers’ 5th Rounder
TR Sullivan, the Rangers’ MLB.com beat guy, is reporting that the Rangers have signed McBride. Whether this means he took the physical already or not is unknown. Also unknown is the bonus amount. McBride’s slot is worth somewhere just north of $160,000, so I’m guessing that the Rangers matched the bonuses given to fellow fifth rounders Ashur Tolliver and Daniel Tuttle, who both agreed to $200,000 bonuses within the last few days. The trickle down effect is on. McBride has a lot of similarities to Tuttle, though McBride probably relies even more on projection than Tuttle. I had Tuttle higher on my board than McBride on draft day, so I wouldn’t be very excited if the Rangers matched that bonus amount. It’s not a big deal or anything, but I don’t like to see McBride monetarily equal to players that are better than him. Anyway, this move is probably an attempt to open up time to negotiate with the bigger fish in the Rangers’ draft. Matt Purke still needs to be signed, though Tanner Scheppers isn’t under the August 17 deadline. Jabari Blash and Thomas Lemke, the Rangers’ 9th and 10th rounders, are probably also on their radar, and I think Blash is more likely to sign than Lemke. The Rangers don’t need any more raw outfielders in their draft class, but it’s looking more and more like it’s going to happen. Anyway, this is a solid move in the right direction for getting everyone signed in the Ranger camp, and I’ll update tomorrow when the bonus amount comes out, as I’ll also do with Cameron Coffey below.

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Chad Jenkins, RHP, Kennesaw State, Toronto Blue Jays’ 1st Rounder

Jim Callis is reporting that Jenkins and the Blue Jays have agreed to a contract paying Jenkins a $1.359 million bonus. That amount is only $9,000 more than slot, and I’m a little confused as to why this didn’t get done earlier. Neither side much leverage in terms of what they’d lose if they didn’t sign. Jenkins has definitely peaked, as he had a great junior season, and the Jays can’t go without signing for their first round pick, as they’re already hurting for talent in the minors. There’s been crucial development time lost here, and it’s not as insignificant as people seem to say. Having your first real pro game experience happen at the same time you’re going through the grueling nature of your first full pro season can have a negative effect on development. That’s why there are short-seas0n leagues, as they give a taste of the pros without completely burning out a kid. However, Jenkins has held out so long that if he does get into game shape before the end of the minor league season, he’ll probably only toss a few games in relief for Lansing in the Midwest League. Going back to talent, I do like Jenkins quite a bit, and I jumped him over his teammate Kyle Heckathorn late in the year, though Heckathorn’s natural stuff is probably better. Jenkins has the ability to move quickly through the system, but that might be a bit too tempting for a team needing help at the Major League level. Left on the Jays’ agenda is signing Boras-represented James Paxton, as well as second rounder Jake Eliopoulous and third rounders Jake Barrett and Jake Marisnick. If they get all these players signed, they’ll probably be in the top half of my draft rankings, but not near the top, as this is a solid class, but with its weaknesses.

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Patrick Schuster, LHP, Mitchell HS (FL), Arizona Diamondbacks’ 13th Rounder
Just when I thought the Diamondbacks were done with over slot deals with Chris Owings, they inked Schuster for $450,000. I’m not the biggest Schuster fan, but he’s definitely a pro prospect when it comes to his overall body of ability. He’s got average stuff, but when combined with plus command and pitchability, you have yourself a good prospect. However, he does have to develop a quality slow pitch such as a changeup to augment the fastball and slider he throws, which is always a tough thing to do. However, he’s shown the ability to command pitches, and I wouldn’t underestimate Schuster’s ability to adjust to pro hitters and develop better offspeed stuff. He doesn’t have a ton of upside, but he could go more quickly through the minors than your average prep pitcher. He’s not Von Rosenberg or even Steven Inch in my opinion, but he could be a future #4 starter, and lefties generally get more looks than their right-handed couterparts. This signing essentially leaves the Diamondbacks with only Bobby Borchering on their radar for the final six days. The last update I saw on seventh rounder Matt Helm was that it was unlikely that he’d sign, as he’s expecting somewhere between $300K and $500K. That’s quite a bit considering how much the Diamondbacks have already spent, and they’ll add somwhere near $1.75 million to that for Borchering in my estimation. Schuster probably caps the mid-round signings, and Helm will head to school with Arizona.

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Matt Graham, RHP, Oak Ridge HS (TX), San Francisco Giants’ 6th Rounder
Jim Callis is reporting this evening that Graham agreed to a $500,000 bonus, making him the highest-paid San Francisco draftee to date. Here’s what I had to say about Graham in my Giants draft review:

6. Matt Graham, RHP, Oak Ridge HS (TX), #177 overall, 6’4’’/225: I’m still trying to figure out what to expect from Graham, who I had as a first round lock for this class a couple years ago. He completely lost his top-shelf stuff over a year ago, and despite some claims that he’s back, I just haven’t heard the big positives I was hearing back then. He’s still raw, and though he’s gotten his fastball back to an extent, his command is just not what it was. Was he hurt? I don’t know. All I know is that the Giants got a first round talent in the sixth round here, but he might be expensive to sign. This was somewhere near where I expected Graham to go, though I heard different projections even during the beginning of draft week. Great, but risky, pick. If he doesn’t sign, he’ll be draft-eligible again after his sophomore season in college in 2011. DOB: 5/1/90. Commitment: North Carolina.

I still think Graham has the hidden potential of becoming a top of the rotation starter, but there’s a lot more bust potential in this pick than with any of the highly-touted prepsters at the front of the draft. That’s why he fell this far, and that’s why he isn’t commanding a seven figure bonus. The bonus amount isn’t really that high in the scheme of things, especially considering the potential the Giants are getting with this pick. $500K is just about slot for 73rd overall pick, which is in the back part of the second round. Looking at who the Giants have left to sign, getting this signing out of the way is good planning. First rounder Zack Wheeler is still not under contract, as are second rounder Tommy Joseph and fifth rounder Brandon Belt. I still am in love with this draft, though the signings of Wheeler, Joseph, and Belt are required for me to keep their grade up at A-. Signing a Jonathan Walsh, Jason Walls, or Mitch Mormann would bump them up to a straight A, but that’s not going to happen. On the whole, this is a successful day for the Giants.

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D’Vontrey Richardson, OF, Florida State, Milwaukee Brewers’ 5th Rounder
This must be the day to sign raw players with football backgrounds to big bonuses. Richardson reportedly agreed to a $400,000 bonus today, though it will be spread over five years as a two-sport athlete, and Jim Callis says MLB calculates the net present value at $375,314. His recommended slot was $147,600 (see the slight change from Tolliver below? Confusing…). When it comes to talking Richardson, you have to start with the speed. That alone might make him valuable as a defender, as his arm is also in average territory, a good combination for an outfielder looking to be good there. However, he’s so raw in other aspects that his speed isn’t as valuable on the base paths, as he needs to learn how to better read pitchers and get better jumps. To even get that far, though, he must develop his bat, which has the potential to be quite good, but needs quite a bit of work. He’s one of those rare college hitters that might need a mechanical re-work. But the potential is there, and I wouldn’t be surprised to see him become a decent ballplayer. Give him time, but if he has big trouble with pitch recognition early, don’t expect it to get much better for a number of years. Richardson’s bonus is right in between the amounts given to Milwaukee’s second rounder Cameron Garfield and third rounder Josh Prince, so that’s how much they value him. The Brewers still need to sign supplemental first rounder Kentrail Davis and fourth rounder Brooks Hall, and if they can’t get a deal done with one of those, perhaps 16th rounder Scooter Gennett has some good money coming his way. Richardson’s bonus is the highest in the fifth round so far.

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Ashur Tolliver, LHP, Oklahoma City, Baltimore Orioles’ 5th Rounder
The final announced Baltimore agreement was with Tolliver, though the last word I heard was that it was still pending a physical. That’s not a sure thing, as Tolliver wore down late in the season, meaning there could be some hidden injury in there somewhere, though a physical might not catch it. Jim Callis says the agreement is for $200,000, not much over slot, which is $174,600. Here’s what I had to say about Tolliver in my Orioles draft review:

5. Ashur Tolliver, LHP, Oklahoma City, #146 overall, 6’0’’/170: Tolliver was also an interesting name to watch entering the draft. Having broken out on the Cape a year ago, he transferred into Oklahoma City from Arkansas-Little Rock and continued his success through most of the year. While I like this pick, I do give some credence to the thought that Tolliver can’t handle a starter’s load, as his frame really isn’t your prototypical pro starter’s. However, his stuff in relief on the Cape tells me he can probably be a lefty setup man, maybe even a closer in a pinch. That’s great value in the 5th round, so I grade this pick up. He hasn’t signed yet, but it will happen, and it will likely happen well before the deadline. DOB: 1/24/88.

The fact that this signing happened so close to the deadline is puzzling to me. Being just around $25K over slot is no big deal, especially in the fifth round, where bonuses aren’t that high to begin with. In fact, the signing amount equals that given to the Orioles’ seventh rounder, Aaron Wirsch, a couple weeks ago. Why they couldn’t agree with Tolliver that early is beyond me. Now Tolliver is behind the curve in terms of development, and I’m not sure why. However, looking at the Orioles’ haul for today, it’s tough to criticize them, as they’ve gotten three quality pitchers for just under $1 million. Left on their agenda is inking second rounder Mychal Givens and taking one final run at 11th rounder Mike Ohlman. Eighth rounder Devin Harris of East Carolina has already said he’ll return to school for his junior year, so that signing is now out of the question. Garrett Bush in the 15th round is also an option, though I think he’ll likely end up at Auburn.

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Ryan Berry, RHP, Rice, Baltimore Orioles’ 9th Rounder
Along with the Henry signing came the signing of Rice hurler Ryan Berry. Jim Callis says Berry’s bonus is more than Henry’s, sitting at $417,600. That’s even with the second-highest bonus the Orioles have given out, and it’s slot money for the Orioles’ 3rd rounder, Tyler Townsend from Florida International. Here’s what I had to say about Berry in my Orioles draft review:

9. Ryan Berry, RHP, Rice, #266 overall, 6’1’’/195: RUN AWAY!!! That’s how I feel about drafting Rice pitchers and overworked college pitchers in general. While college pitchers bring the extra security that teams desire in some drafts, there’s also the risk that the player was overworked, and that’s usually the case with Rice. Berry’s mechanics also aren’t so clean, and while he’s got good natural stuff, it’s not anything to write home about. The one positive with Berry is that he has good command of his breaking ball, the rarely-used knuckle curve, and he also has good command of his other pitches. Decent pick for talent and very good for draft position, but his signability is a huge question. I think it will take $800K to sign him away from returning to Rice. DOB: 8/3/88.

I overshot some in the signing bonus department, and I’m actually pretty surprised he didn’t at least pass the $500K threshold. However, I still feel the same uneasiness when it comes to Rice pitchers, and Berry’s own physical breakdown this season scares me, too. There’s a good chance Berry turns out to be a useful Major League pitcher, though it could easily turn into the long road most Rice pitchers have taken due to injuries. Nice signing to round out a draft class, but don’t count on Berry to be a sure thing by any means.

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Randy Henry, RHP, South Mountain CC (AZ), Baltimore Orioles’ 4th Rounder
Henry finally was inked by the Orioles today, and it was for the low price of only $365,000 according to Jim Callis, just $106,700 above slot. Here’s what I had to say about Henry in the Orioles draft review:

4. Randy Henry, RHP, South Mountain CC (AZ), #116 overall, 6’3’’/198: This is probably one of the more intriguing names in the entire draft. Henry was supposed to be a solid 2008 draft prospect before he blew out his elbow and missed his senior year of high school. He ended up at South Mountain as a result, and he was held back a lot during the season. He only threw 11 innings, but as the year went along, his stuff got stronger and stronger. Now he’s considered a 19 year old kid without much mileage on his arm, and he’s got the pure stuff of a high-upside starter. I thought he might last a round or two later, but he’s got the pure talent to be a round or two higher. He still hasn’t signed, and he’s got another year at South Mountain, so he might command a little more money than slot, but he’s going to sign, and it will probably be before the deadline. DOB: 5/10/90. Commitment: None.

Obviously Henry signed before the deadline. That was an idiotic statement, as you can’t sign after it. However, I still stand by the rest of the writeup, as Henry’s lack of mileage and good pure stuff is very appealing, though his injury history is definitely worrying. The good news is that he’s just 19, and he’s got plenty of time to get back to what the Orioles would call full health, and he’s got just as much upside as an expensive prep sign. You could get a lot worse for $365K. Great sign by the Orioles. I’m looking forward to hearing how his stuff plays in the pros.

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Brandon Jacobs, OF, Parkview HS (GA), Boston Red Sox 10th Rounder
As I expected, Jacobs signed before the deadline with Red Sox, as Auburn had essentially given up on him. Jim Callis says Jacobs gets $750,000. That’s quite a high number for a fairly raw player, as Jacobs hasn’t really concentrated on baseball in his life. Football has been his number one sport, and he was a very good player. However, he’s got a few enticing tools for baseball, including raw power that grades above-average. I don’t think his hit tool is very special, and neither is his pure speed. He’s just raw, so I’m not sure how great of an investment this is. This becomes Boston’s second-highest bonus awarded this summer, with only first rounder Reymond Fuentes getting more. Boston’s really revamped their outfield depth in the low minors in this draft, with Fuentes, Jeremy Hazelbaker, Seth Schwindenhammer, and Jacobs, and I don’t think that’s an accident. With 6 days to go, Boston has to David Renfroe (3rd), Madison Younginer  (7th), and Kendal Volz (9th) under contract for me to think this draft was much of a success. Sixth rounder Braden Kline will honor his commitment to Virginia, so the team is already down a 6th rounder. I expect two of the three between Renfroe, Younginer, and Volz to sign.

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Kyrell Hudson, OF, Evergreen HS (WA), Philadelphia Phillies’ 3rd Rounder
Hudson was only the Phillies’ second pick in the draft, and he’s now being reported to have signed for a $475,000 bonus.
That puts Hudson’s bonus just $10,000 below the Phillies’ first pick, second rounder Kelly Dugan. I’m not a big fan of Hudson, as he’s the definition of raw when it comes to hitting. He can definitely fly up the line when he wants to, but I don’t think he’ll ever hit well enough to make the big leagues. My hunch is that Hudson will be a $475K bust, as few with his sort of rawness with the bat ever make it very far, even with the natural athletic talent of a guy like Hudson. I can see him becoming a plus defender if he works hard enough, but that’s also in question, as I’ve heard multiple times that he simply doesn’t seem to care about playing. He’s got the arm strength and pure speed to put it together there, though, and I’m inclined to think that he might go a Greg Golson route of being a potential fifth outfielder. Not a fan of this pick, though it’s not nearly as expensive as some thought, as Hudson was reportedly asking for seven figures at one point this spring. Brody Colvin is the Phillies’ next target.

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Steven Inch, RHP, Vauxhall Academy (AB), Philadelphia Phillies’ 6th Rounder
I don’t think I’ve covered this yet, and it’s been reported here by BA.
I became a huge Inch fan as the season went along, and I’m glad to see the Phillies got him inked. The bonus is a reported $300,000, which is double the recommended maximum bonus amount for that round. Like Zack Von Rosenberg, noted below, Inch is a righty that relies quite a bit on command of multiple pitches, though also like Von Rosenberg, there’s a good amount of projection in his frame. He exploded onto the prospect scene this spring, thanks in part to that mystical velocity hike, and scouts hope he’ll add even more, as his fastball is simply average at this point. However, I like Inch’s chances due to his advanced arsenal, though he’s probably not a top of the rotation pitcher. He’s a solid mid-rotation prospect, and I immediately place him higher on my prospect lists than Kyrell Hudson, the Philadelphia draftee listed above.

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Zack Von Rosenberg, RHP, Zachary HS (LA), Pittsburgh Pirates’ 6th Rounder
As I suspected, the Pirates were able to nail down Von Rosenberg’s signing, though it’s a mild surprise that they were successful with more than a week to go. Jim Callis is reporting that Von Rosenberg’s bonus is $1.2 million, which is even with first-rounder Jared Mitchell, and it’s higher than first-rounders Eric Arnett, Reymond Fuentes, Brett Jackson, and Tim Wheeler. That $1.2 million figure is roughly even to Arnett’s slot amount at #26 overall, though Von Rosenberg got $3,000 more than Arnett. Here’s what I had to say about Von Rosenberg in my Pirates’ draft review:

6. Zack Von Rosenberg, RHP, Zachary HS (LA), #175 overall, 6’5’’/205: I was very surprised when Von Rosenberg lasted this long, as he’s a personal favorite of mine. A pitchability righty, Von Rosenberg doesn’t have a flaming fastball, but his command of his arsenal is some of the best I’ve seen from a prep in recent memory. His frame is projectable, so there might even be something to add in the velocity department if that’s your thing. But I’ll stick with this kid, because he can locate his pitches and can learn how to throw Major League pitch sequences as a result. He hasn’t signed yet, and I doubt he will until the deadline, as I expect his bonus might be in the $800K-$1MM range. He’ll be worth it. DOB: 9/24/90. Commitment: LSU.

I undershot the bonus a little bit, but I still think Von Rosenberg is worth the gamble. I like him most out of the Dodson-Von Rosenberg-Stevenson-Cain group, and I also think he’ll move the most quickly through the system. He’s probably somewhere close to another pitching prospect the Pirates just acquired in Tim Alderson, though I wouldn’t quite peg down Von Rosenberg’s ceiling to that level quite yet. However, his uncanny command of multiple pitches is striking for a prep, and Alderson really was the first one to pop to my mind when thinking about how quickly one can expect Von Rosenberg to ascend if he avoids injuries. I haven’t noticed anything about his delivery that should heighten his injury risk, so it’s more up to genetics and chance in all likelihood. The Pirates’ little run probably isn’t over, as Joey Schoenfeld is probably next on the list, and I’m wondering if it will take somewhere in the neighborhood of $500K to sign him. If they can add someone along the lines of Jeff Inman, Matt den Dekker, Jordan Cooper, Josh Urban, or Michael Heller in addition to Schoenfeld, this draft has excellent potential to be a top five draft when I do my final rankings following the signing deadline.

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Zack Dodson, LHP, Medina Valley HS (TX), Pittsburgh Pirates’ 4th Rounder
Here’s the initial guy that signed after I posted my last update. According to the Pirates’ release this evening, Dodson signed on the dotted line as well today, making today’s haul of Colton Cain and Dodson quite a success. The article does say that the signing bonus is not known yet, “but it is expected to be right around that of Cain’s.” That’s quite interesting, as BA says it’s $600,000, well under Cain’s amount. However, it’s still $339K over slot for Dodson’s slot number, as the commissioner’s recommendation was $261K. In addition, BA says Cain’s final bonus value is indeed between the previously reported range of $1.1MM and $1.2MM, landing at $1.125 million. Here’s what I had to say about Dodson in the Pirates’ draft review:

4. Zack Dodson, LHP, Medina Valley HS (TX), #115 overall, 6’2’’/190: Dodson’s also a very risky pick. I’ve heard multiple reports that his mechanics are Purke-like, though his command in games was much worse than Matt Purke’s. My initial reaction is that he might need a remake of his mechanics altogether. However, even with the shaky mechanics, Dodson is able to unleash an average fastball for a lefty, combined with a nice slow curve. BA has speculated that he has a seven-figure asking price, so this is a bad pick for signability. The talent is there, however, and this is about where I thought he might go, possibly landing a round later. He still has not signed, and this one will probably go down to the wire. DOB: 7/23/90. Commitment: Baylor.

Though the signing didn’t go down the wire, this pick is still risky in many ways. The mechanics are still in question, and $600K isn’t exactly something to throw at an undeserving prospect, though I don’t think Dodson is completely undeserving, as the natural talent is there. By my calculation, the Pirates are in the range of $6.75 million spent on draft signings including today’s signings of Dodson and Cain, meaning they’ve got some room to give Zack Von Rosenberg a decent bonus, perhaps his full asking price in the seven figure range. Joey Schoenfeld’s bonus also might be above the $150K ceiling that MLB wants for all post-5th round picks, so the Pirates are getting down to the wire in terms of draft budgeting. I said before that I think Jeff Inman is now out of their price range, and Dodson’s signing I think makes that all the more clear. The Pirates aren’t done yet, though, and I expect to be putting Von Rosenberg’s name on here if all goes well in their negotiations and Von Rosenberg doesn’t completely have his heart set on school.

August 13, 2009 Posted by | Draft Pick Signings, Open Thread | , , , , , , , , , , , , , | 13 Comments

Mychal Givens Will Not Sign

According to Steve Malewski, the Orioles and second rounder Mychal Givens will not be agreeing to a contract before the signing deadline on Monday. This news will cause a number of consequences, but first, here’s some quotes from the article linked above:

“O’s scouting director Joe Jordan tells MASNsports.com “we no longer have an offer on the table.””

“”We will now probably sign a couple guys I really like. The Orioles will be covered, we have some insurance if you will, with some picks later in the draft.””

Hmm…Where do I begin?

First, this looks like it actually is done. Sometimes you hear about negotiations that essentially fall apart at this point in the process, only to have talks resume shortly. However, this looks like a done deal for the Orioles, and they’re moving on. I essentially feel that scouting director Joe Jordan and the Orioles had an internal deadline about negotiations, and that was shown with the signings of Randy Henry, Ashur Tolliver, and Ryan Berry just a few days ago. I assume they had an upper limit for a Givens offer, and when his adviser officially declined that offer at the internal deadline, Jordan and his scouting department met and decided it was simply best to move on. Givens is represented by Legacy Sports Group, specifically by Kenny Felder, whose only other top ten round client this year was the Rangers’ seventh rounder Braxton Lane, who signed quickly. So Felder had plenty of time to negotiate with Jordan, but it looks like both had their limit, and it was met within the past day or two.

Looking at the ramifications of this development, I think there are quite a few significant events that will be happening shortly. First, we’ll hear that the Orioles have agreed with catcher Mike Ohlman, their eleventh rounder. The second prospect that Jordan considers a second round talent is probably fifteenth rounder Garrett Bush, a prep righty from Florida. The only other option that I see that matches that artificial qualification is prep lefty Cameron Coffey from Texas, though he had Tommy John surgery this spring and has a Duke scholarship, so that might be a stretch in terms of “second round talent,” a quote from Jordan. Of course, Jordan’s covering himself by saying that, and I don’t consider any of those three prospects second round talents, though Ohlman comes closest. The next consequence to the Orioles directly is the compensation pick they’ll receive next year. It will be pick number 55 (a), essentially the 56th overall pick. That might be pushed back if other picks ahead of him don’t sign, but it will certainly be between picks 56 and 60. There’s some good talent in next year’s draft, but Givens was a borderline first round talent in most drafts, so I don’t see them coming out ahead overall. It’s essentially a trade of Givens for Mike Ohlman, Garrett Bush/Cameron Coffey, and a 2010 second round pick. Decent move, but I’m pretty sure it’s not what the Orioles wanted.

The last ramification of this news involves schools themselves. Oklahoma State finds itself in the best position tonight, as they’ve secured a starting shortstop, a potentially great shortstop. On the losing end is Miami, who had signed Ohlman, and either Auburn or Duke, depending on if it’s Bush or Coffey respectively. It will be very interesting to watch games next spring in Stillwater, Oklahoma, as Givens teams with guys like 2010 draft prospect Dean Green, a first baseman. The Big 12 is not happy right now at having to face Givens, but the ACC will definitely be getting lighter, with perhaps Auburn being pulled in, as well.

Now you see the deep-reaching effects that one kid’s decision has on the entire draft process. Mychal Givens has made a lot of people’s days much worse or better, depending on who you are.

UPDATE: Jeff Zrebiec says the Orioles have agreed with Cameron Coffey. Bonus amount to come.

August 12, 2009 Posted by | Draft Pick Signings | , , , | 2 Comments

More Signings Trickling In

As I’m finishing my work on the Reds draft review, here’s a quick hit on some recent signings that I haven’t had a chance to discuss:

Robbie Erlin, LHP, Scotts Valley HS (CA), Texas Rangers’ 3rd Rounder
The Rangers signed Erlin for $425,000 a week ago. Erlin was a player that rose through my draft boards later in the season, and there was some hype about his pure stuff being consistent with a first-rounder’s. However, his small stature, generously listed at 6’0”/170, doesn’t generally give out the aura of a top prospect. As much as I like pitchers with good pure stuff, I find myself usually doubting a small pitcher’s ability to stay healthy as a starting pitching prospect. A full season’s workload, especially considering Erlin’s stops in the minors currently stand in North Carolina, California, Texas, Oklahoma, then finally in the big leagues in Texas again, can be horribly taxing on a player’s body, and small pitchers generally don’t have a great track record of staying healthy, especially ones that throw harder, which Erlin has the ability to do. The Rangers have a history of picking these types of pitchers, though, and Kasey Kiker has worked out decently, while Robbie Ross is currently dominating the Northwest League in his pro debut this summer. Erlin’s a tick below each of those pitchers in terms of where they were during their draft year, but he’s got legit talent, and I think he’s worth a $425K look. It’s not significantly over slot, which BA reports in the linked article as $369,000, so they should have plenty of room for first Matt Purke and then Tanner Scheppers, though there was the recent word that Scheppers isn’t constrained by the August 17 deadline. Once the Rangers ink Purke, Scheppers, and Nick McBride, this draft class is right at the top in terms of pitching talent accrued. If only they could have drafted better hitters…

James Needy, RHP, Santana HS (CA), San Diego Padres’ 6th Rounder
Needy signed a day after Erlin for $298,000. Here’s what I said about Needy in the Padres’ draft review:

6. James Needy, RHP, Santana HS (CA), #174 overall, 6’6’’/195: This was another questionable pick, as I never saw Needy mentioned in the top 200 prospects anywhere before the draft. However, for a team looking to add projectable arms with some good current velocity, Needy is an ideal pick. My main concern is his mechanics, which were reportedly a bit crazy, and he had elbow surgery in December 2008 for some minor cleanup, though that could have been as a result of his football throwing as a quarterback, as well. The good news is that he already throws a full complement of offspeed stuff, meaning he should be ahead of the curve and able to fully concentrate on cleaning up his mechanics. Decent pick, but Needy still has not signed. DOB: 3/30/91. Commitment: San Diego.

As you can see, I wasn’t fully on the Needy bandwagon, and I’m not high on spending $298K for him. His size is definitely a plus, but the mechanics work probably isn’t as easy as I might have made it sound there. The signing was $148K over slot, though $150,000 is actually the recommended ceiling for bonuses for players drafted after the 5th round, not really the definition of slotting. I noted that the Trent Stevenson signing was possibly showing a thaw in the commissioner’s office in terms of these types of signings, and it looks like I was right.

Brooks Raley, LHP, Texas A&M, Chicago Cubs’ 6th Rounder
The Cubs inked Raley three days ago for a whopping $750,000. As is the case with Needy above, Raley’s recommended bonus ceiling was $150,000, meaning this shattered slot by $600K. This is probably the turning point in the commissioner’s office really starting to allow significant bonuses, though the major offenders probably won’t show up until the deadline. Raley’s signing constitues the Cubs’ second-highest bonus, and it will probably stay that way, as they don’t have any other significant unsigned prospects remaining. This probably means the Cubs wrap up their draft season without reaching $4MM in bonuses given away, which will likely put them in the extreme low end for this year. Raley himself isn’t even considered high-upside, but rather fairly high-risk for a college prospect. A sophomore-eligible, Raley was great early in the season on the mound, but he faded big-time late in the year, as he was probably fatigued by having to both play the field and pitch, as he was a significant two-way prospect. The Cubs always have that hitting talent as a fallback option, but there’s not much upside there, either. He’s going to be a back of the rotation type of pitcher, though the hype surrounding him and his bonus will probably be enough to make people think he’ll be more than that. However, he generally commands his pitches in the best of times, and he’s fairly advanced, so I wouldn’t be surprised to see him start in high-A ball next spring with a move to double-A immiment.

Jason Thompson, SS, Germantown HS (TN), Red Sox 11th Rounder
The Red Sox decided to pony up for Thompson, signing him for $300,000 a couple of days ago. I wasn’t high on Thompson at all coming into the draft, and I’m very surprised to see him earn such a significant bonus. He had a commitment to Louisville, and I’m guessing that was his price for skipping out on school. There’s no doubt that Thompson will receive great instruction as a shortstop in the Red Sox system, but his long-term position is probably at third. However, I don’t trust his bat enough there, as he doesn’t profile to have much power, and his ability to hit for average isn’t plus, either. He can run and his arm is solid, though, so he does have some pro tools. He just needs time to develop them into skills, and the delay in signing probably doesn’t help his game. He’ll probably have to be held back next spring for extended spring training, and he’ll probably land at Lowell then, though he’ll probably get in a number of games this month in the GCL. Don’t expect instant production from Thompson, as he’s got a lot of work to do, but he could be fun to watch in a couple of years if everything comes together well.

Mike Minor, LHP, Vanderbilt, Atlanta Braves’ 1st Rounder
If you couldn’t tell already, I’m going by signing date, not signing significance. Minor signed yesterday for what is a reported $2.42 million, which equals the 2008 slot amount for the #7 overall pick, which is what Minor is. Here’s what I said about Minor in my Braves’ draft review:

1. Mike Minor, LHP, Vanderbilt, #7 overall, 6’3’’/200: I was slightly surprised by this pick, but not because I thought the Braves were locked into a prep arm. Minor really projects as a #4 starter to me, and I’m surprised the Braves didn’t shoot for a higher-upside arm like Alex White. However, it’s probably a signability issue, as the Braves generally don’t go over slot for their first pick, and even though Minor’s holding out at the moment (likely for last year’s slot), I don’t see him rejecting an offer somewhere in the neighborhood of $2.175 million, which is what the slot is supposedly this year. Don’t like this pick at all. DOB: 12/26/87.

Well, I was wrong about Minor settling for this year’s slot, as he did correctly hold out for 2008 slot money. He might have enough time to get into a couple games late this minor league season, and there’s some rumors of him pitching in the Arizona Fall League. He did have a large workload during the spring, so I wouldn’t be surprised for his innings to be limited there, though, and it might be best just to start ramping him up in January for his pro debut in April, which will likely come in the Carolina League at Myrtle Beach. If the Braves are feeling bold enough, he could easily start in AA. However, I still do think his upside is limited, and I would like to see Minor take a longer route in the minors in order to either develop one of his existing pitches into a true out pitch or to develop something new in order to really take advantage of his pure arm strength and ability to adjust.

Crawford Simmons, LHP, Statesboro HS (GA), Kansas City Royals’ 14th Rounder
Simmons is apparently the first in a line of high-priced draftees for the Royals that will sign within the next 10 days. Simmons’ bonus is $450,000, which is $300K above the recommended ceiling in that round. I don’t necessarily like giving this much money out to a relatively unheralded prep prospect, but it seems that the Royals are trying the numbers game, giving out relatively high bonus amounts, knowing that pitching attrition in the minors is so high that they might just get one or two good starters out of that system, which ends up being a relatively inexpensive way to find good talent when compared to free agency. What can $10MM total bring you on the free agent market? Not much. But what can $10MM in bonuses to pitchers bring you? A lot more. That’s why players such as Simmons are getting these larger bonuses in order to sign them away from school. Simmons was committed to Georgia Tech, and while his stuff isn’t overwhelming, his secondary stuff is actually pretty good for a prep, so we might have a back of the rotation type of pitcher in him. Not a bad investment, but a risky one.

Chris Owings, SS, Gilbert HS (SC), Arizona Diamondbacks’ Supplemental 1st Rounder
Owings was signed today for what Jim Callis says is $950,000. That constitues $134,600 more than slot according to that article, a significant amount in that others going over slot in the early rounds for last year’s slot money will probably sign at a steady pace for the final ten days before the signing deadline. Owings rose up draft boards late in the year due to his probable abillity to stay at shortstop in the pros in a year where shortstops were less than plentiful. Whereas players that were hyped early in the season like Deven Marrero and Stephen Perez (both Reds draftees) fell, Owings did the opposite, proving he can hit the ball with gap power, and he also has solid defensive and speed tools. I didn’t expect him to be drafted as high as the Diamondbacks’ second supplemental pick, but I didn’t really see him lasting out of the top two rounds as of the afternoon of the draft. His name became pretty commonplace in most places. Owings received a higher bonus than Arizona’s pick before him, Matt Davidson, and none of the Arizona picks after him have received as much, either. Bobby Borchering is still holding out, and AJ Pollock signed for $1.4 million, meaning Owings probably lines up as the 3rd-highest bonus by Arizona this draft season, and he immediately becomes the Diamondbacks’ best shortstop prospect.

Colton Cain, LHP, Waxahachie HS (TX), Pittsburgh Pirates’ 8th Rounder
News has come out today that the Pirates have signed Cain for somewhere between $1.1 million and $1.2 million. That’s a hugely significant amount, as it could be $1 million over the recommended bonus ceiling for players drafted after the fifth round. This could be the final step in the commissioner’s office allowing significatly over slot bonuses. Here’s what I had to say about Cain in the Pirates’ draft review:

8. Colton Cain, LHP, Waxahachie HS (TX), #235 overall, 6’3’’/225: The Pirates finished a run of three top prep arms with the one who might be best of all in Cain. Here’s a lefty who can sit in the low-90s, and he also has a decent curve on top of that. Already a big kid, Cain is capable of playing first base, as well, which is something he did on the showcases last summer. He’s got some minor makeup issues, usually in the cocky category, but the talent is undeniable. Great pick for talent and draft position, but it might take seven figures to keep Cain from Austin. I’m guessing that one of the three pitchers here won’t sign, as this is an expensive run. DOB: 2/5/91. Commitment: Texas.

It did indeed take seven figures to sign him, and I’m wondering now whether this means that the Pirates were unable to sign Zack Von Rosenberg for a similar amount. They’ve already signed Trent Stevenson, making this a successful draft in terms of pitching, but without Von Rosenberg, I still have to be cautious in my draft grading with them. Cain’s bonus is the second-highest the Pirates have given out so far, behind #4 overall pick Tony Sanchez, though Von Rosenberg might top it. The clock is now ticking on that signing, as well as with their 4th-rounder Zack Dodson. This signing also probably means no Jeff Inman (12th round), and it lessens the chance that they sign 10th-rounder Joey Schoenfeld. An incredibly high bonus here for a talented kid, but it limits their options.

Tyler Skaggs, LHP, Santa Monica HS (CA), Los Angeles Angels’ Supplemental 1st Rounder
I don’t have the bonus amount yet, but there is a report that the Angels have agreed with Skaggs as of this afternoon. I’m guessing the bonus reaches seven figures, as the 2009 slot is fairly close at somewhere around $825,000. The Angels have some significant unsigned prospects remaining, but their budget is probably getting close to drying up, as they’ve already signed two players to seven figure bonuses, as well as an $800K bonus, $725K bonus, and $450K bonus, as well as at least five other six figure bonuses. That’s already much more than they’ve spent in recent years. They have 3rd rounder Josh Spence from Arizona State to lock up, 10th rounder Jake Locker, the Washington quarterback, and guys like Sam Selman from St. Andrew’s Episcopal HS (TX) and Mike Nesseth from Nebraska. It’s safe to say not all of them will have a contract on August 18, but it’s really about which guys get one. Overall, though, the Angels’ draft has yielded much greater dividends this year than have their drafts of recent years, and Angel fans should be pleased with the news that they have ten days left to sign those players, with Skaggs’ signing now out of the way. UPDATE: Skaggs gets $1 million, according to Jim Callis.

That’s all for the recent signings, though more seem to be coming in by the hour. I’ll update you as they come. Don’t forget to watch the Under Armour All-Star game on Saturday at 2 pm on ESPNU. This is probably the easiest way to get acquainted with the top 2010 prep names, as guys like Stetson Allie, Jameson Taillon, A.J. Cole, and Trey Griffin are on the rosters.

August 7, 2009 Posted by | Draft Pick Signings | , , , , , , , , | 3 Comments

Trent Stevenson Signs

According to BA, the Pirates signed their 7th round pick yesterday, Brophy Prep HS (AZ) right-hander Trent Stevenson. The reason I note this is that Stevenson signed for $350,000, which is $200K above the recommendations of the commissioner’s office for anyone picked after the pick-by-pick slotting system stops after the 5th round. This might signal enough of a relaxation in the slotting system for others like Stevenson to sign above-slot deals that aren’t outrageously over slot. I’d still expect those that have hugely over slot deals to have to wait for the approval of the commissioner until at least the second week of August, but maybe this thaw will allow players looking for anything in the range of $100K-$250K over slot to ink their deals now and still get about a month of game time in before the minor league seasons end.

Looking at it from the Pirates’ side, I’m glad to see this deal get done, as Stevenson has major work to do with his huge potential. They’ll probably allow him to simply pitch out the rest of this season in the GCL, and I’m guessing he’ll get assigned there in a week’s time, and he’ll build up innings, probably starting with a relief role. By the time fall instructs come along, he might need some re-working of his mechanics, as that’s considered his major weakness, and it’s hurt his consistency and command. Looking at their draft class, this is a move in the right direction. They probably still have a large amount of money left in their budget, and getting Zack Dodson, Nate Baker, Zack Von Rosenberg, Colton Cain, and Joey Schoenfeld under contract, but I doubt all of them sign. I still think the Pirates will only sign one of Von Rosenberg and Cain, as either might command $1MM+ alone. However, yesterday’s signing of Stevenson is a move in the right direction without a doubt, and I’m glad to see the Pirates starting to whittle away some of the doubts about their draft.

On a scheduling note, the Cincinnati Reds are the subject of my next draft review, and I’m not sure when that will be up. I’m going to the Gwinnett Braves vs. Lehigh Valley Iron Pigs game tonight as part of the Salvation Army’s Christmas in July promotion there. Give to your local Salvation Army here. They need it. The matchup tonight will be John Halama against Carlos Carrasco, and I’ll be keeping an eye out for scouts. With Carrasco, Michael Taylor, and Lou Marson slated to play, it should be a fun evening. I’m a little sad that Jordan Schafer and Jason Donald are hurt, but I can catch them some other time. I’ll be updating via my twitter account on how Carrasco looks, as well as some thoughts about Taylor and Marson, especially Taylor, who is definitely in the middle of the Roy Halladay trade discussions. Hope you have a good evening and weekend.

July 24, 2009 Posted by | Draft Pick Signings, News and Notes, Posting Schedule | , , , , | 1 Comment

More Signings in the Last 24 Hours.

The White Sox signed Jared Mitchell last night to a reported $1.2 million bonus, less than either of the two players picked after him. The BA article says he’ll report to low-A Kannapolis, where he’ll start his pro career.

Just 24 hours after I talk about the Mariners, they signed Steve Baron. He gets $980,000, which is $44,000 more than the estimated slot recommendation for the 33rd pick this year. He’ll also get $200,000 for school and guaranteed non-roster invitations to Major League camp at Spring Training both in 2010 and 2011. He’s supposed to start his pro career with Pulaski in the Appy League.

I’m sure more signings will be rolling around as we go, and I’ll update you as it goes along.

July 9, 2009 Posted by | Draft Pick Signings | , | 1 Comment

More Signings

The Nationals signed 16 draft picks. The most notable names are 3rd rounder Trevor Holder from Georgia (apparently for under slot), 6th rounder Michael Taylor, a prep shortstop from Florida, and 9th rounder Taylor Jordan, a JUCO pitcher from Brevard CC in Florida.

The Yankees signed undrafted free agent Buck Afenir from Kansas. The article also says Kansas hitter Shaeffer Hall, a 25th rounder of the Yankees, signed.

The Cardinals signed 32 picks. The article also says that USC catcher Robert Stock (2nd) will sign shortly. The highest pick they signed in the batch mentioned in the paper was 6th rounder Virgil Hill, Jr., and outfielder from Los Angeles Mission College. You might also be interested in knowing that they signed first baseman Alan Ahmady from Fresno State (11th).

The Red Sox signed 2nd rounder Alex Wilson from Texas A&M. There were rumors earlier in the season, when Wilson was red hot, that he’d want a seven figure bonus.

The Astros signed 22 picks. The highest pick they signed was 2nd rounder Tanner Bushue, the prep righty from Illinois. They also signed their 3rd rounder, prep outfielder Telvin Nash from Georgia. Brailon Hyatt (4th) from USC-Sumpter, Brandon Wikoff (5th) from Illinois, and Ben Orloff (9th) from UC Irvine also were on the list of those that signed.

The Reds signed 9 picks. Their list includes 2nd rounder Billy Hamilton, the prep shortstop from Mississippi, 3rd rounder Donnie Joseph from Houston, and 6th rounder Mark Serrano from Oral Roberts.

Here’s the link on the Phillies’ signing of Kelly Dugan, their 2nd rounder.

Here’s the link on the Brewers’ signing of Eric Arnett, their 1st rounder. The press release also says the Brewers signed 20 other picks.

The Diamondbacks apparently signed one of their first supplemental round picks, California prep first baseman Matt Davidson. With Bobby Borchering expected to sign rather quickly, it seems first base is Matt Davidson’s long-term position in the Arizona organization. It’s good to see he signed quickly.

The Angels signed 9 draft picks. The list includes first supplemental round pick Tyler Kehrer from Eastern Illinois, and second rounder Patrick Corbin from Chipola JC. Kehrer got $700,000, and Corbin got $450,000.

Here’s the link on the Rangers’ signings from a few days ago, including outfielder Ruben Sierra, Jr.

When teams announce their short-season rosters, we’ll see more of who has signed, as not every signing gets a press release or story. I’ll flash signings whenever I can.

June 16, 2009 Posted by | Draft Pick Signings | 2 Comments

First Round Signings

We’ve now got at least four first rounders either already signed or within days of doing so, as physicals sometimes delay a signing date. The first to sign was Drew Storen, the #10 overall pick of the Nationals, and his bonus was under slot. The next was Eric Arnett of the Brewers, and the press conference for him is supposed to be tomorrow. He’s expected to come in right at slot. Finally, both Tony Sanchez (Pirates) and Matt Hobgood (Orioles) are both expected to sign shortly, having already agreed to their bonus amounts. Hobgood may finalize his deal a little after Sanchez. So now we have 28 unsigned first rounders, and 2 months from Wednesday for them to agree. Signing season has begun.

In other news, the Phillies have signed their first pick, 2nd-rounder Kelly Dugan. The Rangers have also signed some picks, most notably 6th-rounder Ruben Sierra Jr. I’ll flash more updates like this as time goes along, and I’ll add links to this post when I get to a computer (iPhone now).

June 13, 2009 Posted by | Draft Pick Signings | 1 Comment

   

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