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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

   

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