2009 Amateur Draft Rumors

Determining The MLB Draft Order

Here's how to determine the MLB draft order:

  • You start by upending the previous year's standings. The team with the worst record in the league gets the top pick in the following year's draft.
  • Sometimes, more than one team will have the same record. In 2008, for instance, the Reds, Rockies and Tigers all finished 74-88.
  • In that case, you go back one more season and compare those records. The Rockies finished ahead of the Reds and Tigers in 2007, so they were the last of the three teams to select in 2009. The Tigers finished ahead of the Reds in '07, so they picked after Cincinnati.
  • If a team fails to sign its first rounder, they get a pick in the next year's draft. A team that fails to sign the tenth overall pick gets the 11th overall selection the following year. A team that fails to sign the 21st overall pick, gets the 22nd pick the following year. 
  • The first 10 picks in the draft are protected, so if one of those teams signs a free agent who turned down a qualifying offer, it will lose its second round pick instead.  Any draft pick obtained for failing to sign a pick the previous year is also not subject to forfeiture. 
  • After the first round is the compensatory round, for any team that lost a free agent who turned down a qualifying offer.  Then comes Competitive Balance Round A, then Round 2, then Competitive Balance Round 3, Round 4, etc.  Competitive balance picks are given out through a lottery, as explained here by MLB.com's Jonathan Mayo.

Odds And Ends: Huff, Ackley, Strasburg

Some more links to pass along…


Strasburg: A Sure Thing, Or Not?

ESPN.com's Rob Neyer agrees with the argument Alan Schwarz makes in New York TimesStephen Strasburg is a phenomenal prospect, but we've seen other "can't miss" pitching prospects falter in the major leagues or fail to reach them. Until Strasburg proves himself in the majors, Neyer suggests that we stop preparing to etch Strasburg's name onto a Hall of Fame plaque.

Keith Law argues there's a difference between Strasburg and past pitchers like Ben McDonald and Mark Prior. Law compares Strasburg's career to six pitchers who were also labeled "best college pitcher ever" and finds that Strasburg has the best ERA, struck out the highest percentage of batters and walked the lowest percentage of batters.

And while pitchers drafted first overall haven't overwhelmed as a group, Law concludes that Strasburg "clearly is the right choice, his performance backs it up and the history of the draft doesn't give sufficient ammunition to send Washington in another direction."


Heyman On Strasburg, D’Backs, Penny

Jon Heyman of SI.com anticipates some memorable negotiations between the Nationals, Scott Boras and Stephen Strasburg. Here's what Heyman heard about Strasburg along with the rest of his rumors:

  • Boras is still expected to demand $50MM for Strasburg.
  • Think that's a lot? Some think Strasburg would command $100MM as a free agent. 
  • Executives generally guess he'll end up signing for more than $20MM, but not by much.
  • One NL exec said he expects the deal to reach $30MM.
  • Strasburg could always pitch in Japan or for an independent team if he doesn't sign, but Heyman imagines he'd much rather join a major league franchise immediately.  
  • The Pirates could draft catcher Tony Sanchez with the fourth pick.  
  • The D'Backs could deal Chad Qualls and Tony Pena at the deadline.  
  • Boston seems "in a hurry" to deal Brad Penny 
  • One Red Sox person was not impressed by what he saw from Jeff Francoeur 
  • It's probably too early for the Rangers to release Vicente Padilla 

Draft Updates: Strasburg, Nats, Crow

With tomorrow's draft approaching fast let's take a look at some recent rumors and analysis…

  • MLB.com's Lisa Winston reports that former super prospect Ben McDonald is impressed by Stephen Strasburg's stuff and poise.
  • David Price told Danny Knobler of CBS Sports that Strasburg's stuff is better than his. Like Joe Maddon, Price believes the minors can be helpful and doesn't advocate rushing Strasburg into a big league rotation.
  • Chico Harlan of the Washington Post interviewed acting GM Mike Rizzo about the draft and heard that signability won't be a factor for the Nats with their 10th pick, even though they get nothing if they fail to sign the player they choose. After saying for weeks that Strasburg is his choice with the first pick in the draft, Rizzo doesn't confirm it this time.
  • Pete McElroy of MASN.com hears that the Nats will take Chad Jenkins, a big college righty, with their 10th pick if he's available.
  • Rob Biertempfel of the Pittsburgh Tribune-Review reports that the Pirates could use the $1.3MM they saved by trading Nate McLouth to sign the player they draft fourth overall. Aaron Crow, who's looking for $4MM, could be an option for Pittsburgh.
  • Chuck Finder of the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette reports that Crow's looking forward to tomorrow's draft after waiting a year.
  • Yahoo's Jeff Passan says prospects can be over-hyped to the point that we encounter "an uncomfortable reality" when they struggle. 
  • MLB.com's Jonathan Mayo reports that Kyle Gibson and Tanner Scheppers could fall lower than originally expected because of injury concerns. Other players, like Jacob Turner, could fall because they're expected to demand large bonuses.
  • Follow the draft on Twitter as it unfolds: @mlbtraderumors and @MLBDraft.

Discussion: Which Young Pitcher Would You Take?

Major League Baseball has quickly become a young man's game, and there is nothing more precious than young pitching. Tommy Hanson made his big league debut for the Braves today, allowing three homers and seven runs in six innings against the Brewers at home. Just yesterday the Rays' David Price gave up just two hits and three runs in a start against the Yankees in the Bronx, and on Tuesday the Nationals will make Stephen Strasburg the first overall pick in the 2009 Draft.

If you were running your favorite team, which of these three young pitchers would you take for your club? Price is the oldest at 23, but he also has the most experience. Hanson was the best pitching prospect left in the minors before his call up, and Strasburg may be the best draft prospect ever. There's no wrong answer, but I'm interested to see who everyone prefers. So, who ya got?


Odds & Ends: Phillies, Moore, Draft

Three years ago today, four current big leaguers were selected on day two of the 2006 MLB Draft: Derek Holland of the Rangers, Daniel Murphy of the Mets, David Robertson of the Yankees, and Clay Zavada of the Diamondbacks. Here's some lazy Sunday afternoon linkage for you.

  • Sam Mellinger tweets that current Royals' and ex-Phillies' executive Mike Arbuckle says that his biggest regret is drafting Reggie Taylor over Roy Halladay in the first round of the 1995 Draft. I'm going to go out on a limb and say Arbuckle isn't alone with that sentiment.
  • Jim Salisbury runs through the Phillies' trade chips.
  • Royals' GM Dayton Moore says that his team isn't in need of any major changes right now, via Bob Dutton. “We are constantly evaluating our internal options to improve our team, and specifically our offense. And we’re always looking for opportunities to improve our team through trades or the waiver wire, and we’ll always be aggressive in trying to do that. But I’m confident that we will begin to perform better and play as we did in the first 30 games of the year. That’s all I can focus on.”
  • Meanwhile, Rany Jazayerli suggests a move for the Royals: trade for Jeff Francoeur. His reasoning: buy low on someone with gobs of talent.
  • Texas high school outfielder Randal Grichuk made a name for himself by hitting a few homers during a predraft workout at Busch Stadium, according to Derrick Goold.
  • Ross Ohlendorf's thesis shows that the rate of return of the top 100 picks from the 1989-2003 drafts was about 60%.

Draft Roundup: Mock Draft, Strasburg, Gibson

Major League Baseball's amateur draft is now just three days away, so let's round up the latest news.

  • Jim Callis of Baseball America posted version three of their Mock Draft yesterday (subscription req'd). He projects the top three picks to be Stephen Strasburg, Dustin Ackley, and Donavan Tate.
  • After Strasburg is announced as the first overall pick on Tuesday, he will not meet with the media at his home or on the San Diego State campus, according to Bill Shaikin of the LA Times. Strasburg will instead hold his press conference in "the main lobby of the Boras Corporation offices."
  • Conor Glassey reports that Missouri righthander Kyle Gibson experienced tightness in his forearm during his start last weekend, which is causing his velocity and stock to drop. Gibson was a consensus top 15 talent prior to the injury.
  • Mark Heller of The East Valley Tribune spoke to Diamondbacks scouting director Tom Allison, who says the team will "stay true to best person on the board." With seven of the first 64 picks, there was some thought that the D-Backs would seek out players willing to sign for, or below slot to save money.
  • Steve Buckley of The Boston Herald wrote about how the Red Sox's recent success in the draft has fans following the event more closely than ever.

Draft Updates: Red Sox, Rays, Angels, Phillies

Here's what five of last year's playoff teams plan to do with their draft choices…

  • MLB.com's Ian Browne says the Red Sox are happy to be selecting 28th because it means they were successful in the majors last year.
  • Like the Red Sox, the Rays pick late, but they're not used to it, having had the first overall pick the last two years. As MLB.com's Bill Chastain reports the Rays are considering 15 or 20 players with their 30th pick and there's some speculation they could go for a catcher.
  • The Cubs are focusing on doing well deep into the draft according to MLB.com's Carrie Muskat. Their first pick will be the 31st overall.
  • The Phillies' first pick will come after 74 players have already been selected. MLB.com's Todd Zolecki reports that they'd like to add more bats and left-handed pitching.
  • The Angels, on the other hand, have five of the first 48 picks. MLB.com's Lyle Spencer says they'd like to add some power at the corner infield and outfield positions. They're one of many teams interested in high school outfielder Everett Williams.

  And some buzz surrounding the nation's top amateur players…

  • ESPN.com's Jason A. Churchill hears that the Mariners may be intimidated by the demands Scott Boras will likely make for his client, Dustin Ackley. He's considered the best college hitter in the draft, but the Mariners are apparently not willing to offer more than $6MM to sign him. Aaron Crow could be an alternative for the Mariners.
  • ESPN.com's Keith Law believes it would be a mistake for the Padres to take Mike Minor with the third pick. Check the article out for more updates on some top talent.
  • In a separate piece Law tracks the improvements some players- Stephen Strasburg, for one- make between high school and college.

Draft Updates: Reds, Astros, Rangers

Some preferences, tendencies and opinions from around the majors as Tuesday's draft draws closer:

  • John Fay of the Cincinnati Enquirer reports that the Reds like Aaron Crow, but don't expect him to be available when they select eighth. Fay says "there's a good chance they'll take him" if he's available.
  • Keith Law and Jason A. Churchill of ESPN.com break down the drafting tendencies of each MLB team. For example, the Braves like local high school players and the Mariners lean towards college talent.
  • MLB.com's Brian McTaggart says the Astros could go after pitching with the 21st pick, or maybe high schooler Everett Williams. One thing's for sure: the Astros aren't looking for a catcher after selecting Jason Castro last year.
  • The Rangers have one of the strongest systems in the game in part because they've drafted well. Jamey Newberg looks at 20 top Rangers prospects in a report for MLB.com.
  • ESPN.com's Jayson Stark argues "the most dysfunctional draft in professional sports" needs to put a cap on player bonuses.
  • Ken Rosenthal of FOX Sports reports that Clay Daniel, the scout who oversaw the signing of players such as Ervin Santana, was fired. He was apparently dismissed because of the "improper activities" of some of the scouts he hired.