Tuesday August 16, 2011
Rob Bland (Intern- MLB Reports): Amongst all the madness that was the Draft Signing Deadline, I first have to say congratulations to Jim Thome for hitting the 599th and 600th home runs of his illustrious career. He is only the eighth player in MLB history to reach that mark.
There were many signings that went down to the wire last night, and most players in the early rounds signed. There were five Major League deals signed from this draft. The Washington Nationals gave pitcher Matt Purke a 4-year, $4.4M deal out of the third round. Second overall pick Danny Hultzen, the left-handed pitcher from Virginia University selected by the Seattle Mariners was given 5 years and a guarantee of $8.5M. It was previously reported that the Arizona Diamondbacks gave RHP and third overall pick Trevor Bauer a 4 year, $7M deal. High school pitcher Dylan Bundy was given five years and $6.225M from the Baltimore Orioles and Rice University’s Anthony Rendon was given four years and $7.2M as the most polished bat in the draft by the Washington Nationals. Top pick Gerrit Cole was given an $8M bonus by the Pittsburgh Pirates.
However, there were three players in the first two rounds who did not sign, which will result in the teams who selected them receiving a compensation pick in next year’s draft. First of those was RHP Tyler Beede. Known to be extremely tough to sign, the Toronto Blue Jays selected him 21st overall. Beede’s talent alone could have taken him into the top 10 picks, but his lofty demands as well as his desire to play for Vanderbilt University dropped him down to the Blue Jays. It was reported that the final offer The Blue Jays offered was in the $2.3M range, but Beede did not budge from his demands. In a tweet from his Twitter handle @TylerBeede, he said “g-d has plans for me and that is college first.” Beede will look to follow in the footsteps of recent first round pitchers from Vanderbilt; David Price and Jeremy Sowers. Beede was one of my picks that would come down to the wire, and I said that it would take close to $3M to sign him. The Blue Jays will now pick 22nd in the 2012 draft.
North Carolina State University will get their coveted catching signee, as the San Diego Padres were unable to sign switch hitter Brett Austin. The first supplemental round pick, 54th overall, has plus speed for a catcher, being clocked at less than 6.9 seconds in a 60-yard dash. He has a quick release and routinely has a pop time (throwing the ball home to second as if a runner were stealing) under 2 seconds. He has quick feet and a quick bat, although he has more bat speed from the right side of the plate. With the Padres already locking up catcher Austin Hedges for $3M, they felt as though Austin was expendable, and did not offer a contract near his demands. The Padres will choose 55th in the 2012 draft.
When the New York Yankees selected college junior Sam Stafford in the second round, 88th overall, it was widely believed that the University of Texas Longhorns had lost their top two pitchers. Taylor Jungmann was selected 12th overall and signed with the Milwaukee Brewers for $2.525M. However, talks with the Yankees hit a snag over parts of his physical, and Stafford was never offered a contract around the slot value. Stafford was 6-2 with a 1.77 ERA in 81 1/3 innings this past season at UT. The left-handed pitcher has had consistency issues with fastball command, but pitches in the 90-93 mph range. His curveball and change-up are both works in progress and he shows flashes of plus potential in both. The Yankees will select 89th in the 2012 draft.
The biggest surprise to me was that the Pittsburgh Pirates were able to sign Josh Bell. It did not take a Major League contract, and only $5M to pull him away from the University of Texas. This was much less than originally predicted, and his huge demands seem to have just been posturing. The Pirates signed both of their top picks for a total of $13M, which in itself would have been the most money spent by one team in draft history.
Other notable signings were second round pick LHP Daniel Norris of the Toronto Blue Jays at $2.5M, 14th round pitcher Dillon Maples of the Chicago Cubs at $2.5M, and 6th round catcher Nicky Delmonico of the Baltimore Orioles at $1.525M.
***Today’s feature was prepared by our Intern, Rob Bland. We highly encourage you to leave your comments and feedback at the bottom of the page and share in the discussion with our readers. You can also follow Rob on Twitter.***
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