Results tagged ‘ MLB Draft ’

A little bit of this, a little bit of that

So much to read these days prospect-wise, it’s hard to know where to start.

Yes, that does read like the beginning of a promotional piece. So lets promote:

In case you didn’t see it, we now have a Top 20 international amateur prospect list on Prospect Watch. Big shout out to my MLB.com colleague Jesse Sanchez (follow him on Twitter at @JesseSanchezMLB for doing the heavy lifting on that, not to mention a terrific story featuring No. 1 prospect Gustavo Cabrera.

We’ve also started a weekly Prospect Watch notebook. Edition No. 2 was posted today with stuff from myself and Mr. Sanchez on, in no particular order: DiDi Gregorius, Trevor Rosenthal, Kyle Skipworth, Evan Reed, Will Middlebrooks, Jonathan Singleton, Danny Hultzen, Jose Fernandez, Yasmani Grandal, Casey Kelly, Austin Hedges, Humberto Arteaga and much, much more! It’s about as jam-packed as a notebook can be with prospect info.

There are also a couple of new blogs that are definitely worth checking out. The Futurists is written by bloggers/fans/prospect geeks (that’s a complimentary term). It’s been a very active community writing and discussing all sorts of prospecty things.

Then there’s We the Prospects. That’s a blog written by prospects themselves about their experiences during the 2012 season. It’s just getting started with three players introducing themselves so far: the Brewers’ Nick Ramirez, the Diamondbacks’ Adam Eaton and the Reds’ Tucker Barnhart. Keep checking on that one for updates from that trio as well as other Minor Leaguers.

I leave you with this statistical tidbit:

To date, there are just two pitchers who qualify for an ERA title in the Minors who have an ERA of 0.00. They are Matt Barnes of the Red Sox and Felipe Rivero of the Rays. There are 15 pitchers who have yet to allow a hit in the Minor Leagues so far. None of them have thrown more than four innings, with one big exception: Orioles prospect Dylan Bundy, who has gone 13 hitless innings to start his professional career.

Oh, and keep an eye out for the 2012 Draft section to launch next week.

What the Lucas Giolito injury means

Lucas Giolito, the top-rated high school pitcher in the 2012 Draft class is now out for his high school season with what has been reported as a sprained ulnar collateral ligament in his right elbow. The UCL doesn’t need surgery, but will keep him out for up to 10 weeks. Then there’d be rehab, etc., so he very likely will not throw another pitch for Harvard-Westlake High School.

So, what does this mean? In the short-term, it makes USA Baseball’s National High School Invitational, which Harvard-Westlake is playing in,  a little less exciting. In terms of the Draft, it certainly changes things at the top of the board, doesn’t it?

Giolito was thought of as the top prep arm in the class as the season began and when he hit 100 mph early on, it created quite a stir. There were even those who thought perhaps he could become the first high school right-handed pitcher to go No. 1 overall. That, clearly, will not happen now with this injury.

The question remains just where Giolito will go in the June Draft. He’ll have to show his elbow is sound to any teams interested in taking him. In the past, it would be possible for a player like Giolito to slide a bit because of the injury, with a team taking him later in the Draft (either in the first round or much, much later) then going over slot to get him to sign.

With the new rules, however, that might not be possible. Remember, every team has a pool to draw from in the first 10 rounds and they run the risk of penalties if they go too far over that pool. Let’s give an example. I’m sorry for always picking on the Red Sox as a team that picks deep in the first round and/or takes over-slot guys later in the Draft. But they often do and they work as a good example here.

Boston picks No. 24 and No. 31. In the past, that may have been a good spot to take a chance and see if they could get Giolito signed. But it’s more complicated now. If Giolito had gone, say, No. 2 overall (we’ll go with Stanford’s Mark Appel as the No. 1 pick), he could have received $6.2 million, according to the CBA’s guidelines. If he’s able to show teams he’s healthy, it could stand to reason that he could tell a team like the Red Sox he’s worth what he would have received as the No. 2 selection. But the Red Sox’s pool for the first 10 rounds in total is just over $6.8 million. They wouldn’t be able to meet the asking price, unless they only want $600,000 for the rest of their picks, an unlikely scenario.

Obviously, we’ll have to wait and see what happens, both with Giolito’s health and his expectations. Perhaps he’ll be willing to take less because of the injury. Or maybe he’ll end up spending three years at UCLA as a result of all this.

It certainly adds an interesting twist to the Draft now. And it makes his Harvard-Westlake teammate, Max Fried, the guy to watch at USA Baseball’s event and the top prep pitcher in the class.

Marlins signings: Who gets what comp picks?

As if the newly bargained agreement wasn’t confusing enough, we had  to have one team sign two free agents at about the same time. And with one of those free agents a “modified Type A” in the one-year rule adjustment before Type A and Type B ratings go the way of the dinosaur, it gets even more complicated.

The Marlins have made quite the splash in signing Heath Bell (the aforementioned modified Type A) and Jose Reyes (a good, old-fashioned Type A). Because Florida picks No. 9 overall, they will not be giving up their first-round pick. And because they signed Bell first, they won’t be giving up their second-round selection either.

When Bell was modified, it was decided that a team signing him would not have to sacrifice a pick at all to get him. Instead, the Padres will get a compensation pick (sandwich A, we can still call it) after the first round is over. They will also get a second-round pick right in front of the Marlins’ second-round selection.

Here’s the kicker. Even though the Marlins did not have to give up that second-round pick to the Padres, it’s not available to the Mets as compensation for the Reyes signing. Because Bell signed first, that pick in effect is a part of that signing, even though its part is that it didn’t have to be forfeited. Instead, the Mets will get a Comp A pick and the Marlins’ selection in the third round.

Had the Marlins officially signed Reyes first, the Mets would have received that second-round pick. In other words, they get penalized a round because of the Bell signing. That might be something that doesn’t bother the Marlins, given they are in the same division as the Mets. But it’s probably likely that Bell himself will love it. He’s not exactly a fan of the Mets from his time in their system and the fact that his signing cost them a round  might give him a little chuckle.

USA Baseball interview: Albert Almora

If you haven’t seen the feature on USA Baseball “veteran” (hard to use that term for a teenager) Albert Almora, you can read it here. There’s two minutes of my interview with that. Here’s the entire interview, raw and unedited. I must say that I came away impressed with Almora, not just because of his tools, which are plentiful, but with how he carries himself at such a young age. Tools + makeup generally means a very bright future.

 

 

USA Baseball’s Prospect Classic

As I sit here in my hotel room in Cary, North Carolina, getting ready to be a part of the broadcast team that will bring you the first-ever USA Baseball Prospect Classic, I can’t help but think, before an inning has ever been played, that this is by far the coolest event no one knows about (at least not yet so much).

For those of you who don’t know what it’s all about, you can read my preview about the two-game event. But, in a nutshell, it’s the Collegiate National Team playing two exhibition games against the 18 and under trial team. And the more I prepare and think about it, I’m getting all geeked out.

Yes, I know, this is a bit of a niche thing. But it’s an ever-growing niche and every year it seems there’s more and more information out there on amateur players/Draft prospects. Will it ever reach the fever pitch of the NFL Draft? Probably not, largely because I don’t see college and high school baseball hitting the popularity levels of college football. But imagine if football had the Army/Under Armour high school all-americans (or whatever they’re called) playing against, or competing with the players in, say, the Senior Bowl. The latter may not have the top college players, but you get the idea.

Well, that’s exactly what this USA Baseball Prospect Classic is. With the exception of some of the college players who went to the Cape Cod League and a few who played deep into the College World Series, so they opted not to come, these two games will put the top 50-60 amateur players — nearly all of whom will be top picks in the 2012 Draft — on one field at one time.

Every year as the Draft comes around, people email, leave comments here, or tweet with questions about the Draft class. Well, you can get started on your 2012 research now with these games. Watch the broadcasts (on MLB Network Saturday and Sunday at noon ET, but they’ll likely be rebroadcast several times), look for stories, follow live scoring on www.usabaseball.com, whatever you have to do. That will give you a big leg up on knowing what’s coming in 2012. As the preview states, if this Classic existed the last few years, it would have had a huge amount of future first-rounders on the field at one one time.

And this is just the first year of this thing, so it’s only going to get better. I only hope that the exposure (both on mlb.com and on MLB Network) will help it grow and more prospects will be drawn to it… perhaps even getting a few more college guys to come here instead of heading to the Cape (love the Cape League, by the way, just saying that the way things are set up now, they could come here, then still have some time in the Cape).

So check it out and become a fan of what USA Baseball is doing here. If you’re a prospect geek — and chances are if you’re looking at my blog, you are — this is a dream event. (And if you’re in Durham, come on by and say hello).

I’ll add some video interviews on here as the weekend progresses.

Draft: Dylan Bundy and his throwing program

A story on Yahoo! Sports stated that top high school pitching prospect Dylan Bundy has told some teams — including the Pittsburgh Pirates and Kansas City Royals — not to select him because of concerns those teams would force him to abandon his long-tossing program. You can read Jeff Passan’s story here.

Bundy uses a program where he’ll throw from distances up to 300 feet, something some teams don’t do. A discussion about the success of different throwing programs is a subject for another time. The question now is if Bundy is indeed instructing teams to stay away from him because of this, or any other, issue.

Based on conversations I’ve had with those two teams — picking first and fifth, respectively — this is news to them. The Royals told me that they have not communicated with Bundy regarding this subject in any fashion. The Pirates echoed that, saying they were unaware of any such concerns or demands.

This is not to say that Bundy doesn’t have concerns about continuing his slightly unorthodox workouts. But at least according to the two teams referenced in the story, he has not vocalized it to them. There has been a very big price tag being mentioned with Bundy and there are those who feel that the bonus demands, and maybe this talk about the throwing program, are designed to steer him to a specific club. There’s no buzz about which team that is, but this is bound to get more interesting as we get closer to the Draft.

Bundy, by the way, is ranked No. 5 in our Top 50 talent list and I had him No. 2, to the Mariners, in my first mock draft.

Amir Garrett update

Well, this could certainly get interesting.

As I wrote earlier today, college basketball recruit Amir Garrett is known mostly for his work on the court and he’s got a commitment to St. John’s to play hoops there.

We might want to hold off for just a minute. Garrett has played some baseball, too, though it had been a while — though he evidently was at Team USA trials last summer, but didn’t make the team. The fact there was some interest in baseball, then, isn’t a huge surprise and he’s been on some teams’ follow lists as a result. Still, he hasn’t been on radar screens much because he’s not on his high school team and hasn’t played in a game (and won’t).

But for the past two months or so, he’s been working with a pitching coach, throwing bullpens and this afternoon (Wednesday), he threw for close to 50 scouts at the College of Southern Nevada’s field, one-time home of super-prospect Bryce Harper.

He’s 6-foot-5 and he’s left-handed. And during his approximately 40-pitch long workout, he was throwing fastballs in the 92-95 mph range, with a report or two of 96 mph. He doesn’t have much in the way of secondary stuff, throwing a couple curveballs and changeups, neither of which really stood out. A cutter might work for him down the line. While he’s obviously very raw on the mound, the athleticism he has on the court showed up on the mound. He may not have had much of an arsenal yet, but he looked fairly effortless in pumping in plus fastballs.

So, what next? There likely will be more bullpen sessions, though one hasn’t been officially set up as of yet. He’s likely to draw more attention whenever that comes. The biggest questions that need to be answered are: Does he really want to play baseball? How much will it take bonus-wise to get him to walk away from St. John’s basketball? And how will teams evaluate just what they have here with a guy just throwing bullpens and not playing in a game situation? There’s no doubt he’s a project, but is he one a team would be willing to take fairly early in the Draft and give him the payday that might be necessary to get him to pitch professionally? Time will tell…

Stay tuned on this one…

Draft: Could Amir Garrett play baseball?

Those of you who follow the college hoops scene likely know the name Amir Garrett. He’s a top recruit out of high school who is set to go to St. John’s on a basketball scholarship. In this youtube world, you can find many a clip of him skying, dunking, etc.  Here’s one, just for fun (he’s much more than a stunt-dunker, by the way):

So, why am I writing about a basketball recruit? Well, because Amir Garrett used to be a pitcher. And a good one. And left-handed. He hasn’t pitched for a team in a while, but he’s been working with a coach and is back on the mound. I’ve learned that he’s throwing for a number of teams — as many as nine — today in Nevada. He’ll be on the College of Southern Nevada’s field, the one Bryce Harper made his playground a year ago. And teams aren’t just sending in area guys. There will be some higher ups in attendance.

While Garrett is obviously a bit raw, he’s extremely athletic and word was that even though he hadn’t pitched in a while, he was up to 91-92 mph with his fastball. He’d done interviews in the past saying that he’d have to make a decision between basketball and baseball, though it certainly seemed like he was headed down the college hoops path. But there are those close to him who want him to play baseball and it appears he’s at least kicking the tires on that possibility.

I’ll update you with how things went at this workout and will try to find out just how serious this is. An athletic lefty with that kind of life in his arm isn’t always easy to find, so if he throws well today, you’ll likely hear a lot more about him between now and draft day.

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