Results tagged ‘ MLB Draft ’

Mariners keep going with Pike signing

Yesterday, the Mariners announced the signing of 25 Draft picks, most notably second-round selection Joe DeCarlo. On Wednesday, it was learned they’ve also signed the player they took with their Compensation B (between rounds 3 and 4) pick, high schooler Tyler Pike.

Pike will receive $850,000, above the assigned value for the pick, which was $370,800.

It is not the first player to get above the assigned value from the Mariners thus far. DeCarlo signed for $1.3 million (assigned value: $806,000). Fifth-rounder Chris Taylor signed for $500,000 (assigned value: $264,500). And Timmy Lopes got $550,000 in the sixth round (assigned value: $198,100), showing that it is possible to be aggressive in this new system.

They are currently over their pool ($1.42 million over) when adding up the assigned values for all signed picks, but they still haven’t signed first-rounder Mike Zunino, third-rounder Edwin Diaz and eighth-rounder Nick Halamandaris. The combined assigned values for those three picks is $5,825,500. The Mariners currently have $5,253,200 left after the Pike signing. It’s easy to do the math — look for some value to be found in that trio and for the Mariners not to incur any penalties for going over.

 

Travieso and Reds agree on deal

Nick Travieso, the No. 14 overall pick in this year’s Draft, will officially sign with the Reds on Wednesday.

The Florida high school right-hander, who was ranked No. 32 on MLB.com’s Draft Top 100 prior to the Draft, will sign for $2 million. That is below the assigned value for the pick, $2.375 million.

The Reds also agreed with second-round pick Tanner Rahier, the SoCal high school shortstop who was No. 37 on the Draft Top 100. He will get a bonus of $649,700, the assigned value for the No. 78 overall pick in the Draft.

 

 

Max Fried Returns

I’m wondering how many of you got the reference to the slightly obscure Matthew Broderick film, circa 1983. But I digress.

As I mentioned yesterday, Max Fried was heading back to the mound in a playoff game for Harvard-Westlake out in Southern California. The high school lefty, the highest rated prep arm on our Draft Top 100, had been shaky his previous two outings. Most concerning was that after a good start in the first inning or so, he was losing velocity and command, leading to poor results. A seemingly sure-fire Top 10 pick, there was talk of him sliding as teams tried to figure out what was wrong with Fried. Could it be just chalked up to fatigue — Fried has been a two-way player all year and has been the team’s ace since Lucas Giolito went down with his elbow issue — or was there something physically wrong?

If Thursday’s start was any indication, reports of Fried’s demise were greatly exaggerated. With a ton of scouts in attendance — every team picking in the first half of the first round was there in some fashion — Fried was back to his old self. He threw a complete-game shutout, striking out 10 and walking just one.

More importantly was the bounce back of his stuff. His fastball was 90-95 mph throughout the outing. His 12-to-6 curve (72-78 mph) was sharp and he commanded it extremely well. He mixed in an effective changeup (82-84 mph). In other words, lights out.

There may have been a time when teams in the middle of the first, or maybe even the second half of the first round, thought they had a shot of Fried getting to them, it’s hard to imagine that happening now. My first projection had him going No. 10 to the Rockies, though as someone pointed out to me recently, Colorado might be a little gun shy about taking a SoCal high school lefty this high (see Matzek, Tyler). That point may now be moot as Fried could be gone by the time the Rockies make that selection.

 

Draft notes and tidbits

As I make calls for various stories regarding the Draft, I invariably pick up some good info/rumors along the way. It isn’t always the kind of stuff that goes into a story, so I’ll try to hop on here from time to time and pass along what I know to you as the Draft gets closer.

  • Teams will have private workouts as things get a little closer, so they can get a longer look at a player. Case in point: Carlos Correa, currently ranked No. 5 on our Draft Top 100, worked out for the Minnesota Twins. The Twins pick at No. 2 overall. Keep in mind that doesn’t mean he’s suddenly a front-runner there, but they are taking a longer look at the talented shortstop from Puerto Rico.
  •  The Braves are bringing in SoCal shortstop Tanner Rahier for a workout soon.
  • There will be a lot of eyes on the Southern Section Div. II baseball playoffs in SoCal today. Lefty Max Fried (No. 7 on top 100) hasn’t pitched as well his last two starts and scouts will undoubtedly be watching closely to see if he can rebound. A strong outing could help solidify a place in the Top 10 picks for Fried.
  • Potential first-rounder Lucas Sims (No. 20) threw well in his playoff game in the Georgia Class AAAAA high school playoffs. He pitched a complete game, allowing two runs on four hits and struck out eight. He was 91-92 mph. When he was on his breaking ball, it was good and he threw a pretty good changeup. He’s been pretty consistent all year.
  • The bieggest matchup of the day (Thursday) is in Oklahoma State. Expect a lot of action as scouting directors and GMs can see two first-round arms go against each other: Oklahoma State’s Andrew Heaney vs. Texas A&M’s Michael Wacha.

‘Tis the (Draft) season

As I’m hoping you already know, Draft season officially started on MLB.com yesterday. Yes, I know, Draft season started long before that in terms of scouting, etc., but I meant in terms of our coverage.

In case you missed it, 2012 Draft Central is up and running (and sponsored by CenturyLink). It’s going to be the place to go for Draft news and features leading up to the June 4-6 event.

So far, there are two newer stories up there, written by yours truly, to get the ball rolling. One is a general preview on how the new rules could change things, especially for teams with multiple early picks. The other is a look at what the new Top 100 looks like.

Oh, and yes, that means the Top 100 list is alive and well. Keep in mind, this is a list based on talent, not a projection. So while Byron Buxton is No. 1 on this list, that doesn’t mean that he’s necessarily going to be taken by the Houston Astros. More on this to come in a story on Friday about who the candidates to go No. 1 are (along with a story from the Astros by our intrepid beat writer Brian McTaggart), but most seem to think the Astros won’t take the high school outfielder from Georgia.

We will have much, much more — mock drafts, chats, you name it — in this month run-up to June 4. So check back early and often.

 

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.

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