2011 Amateur Draft Rumors

Poll: Which 2011 Top Pick Will Have The Best Career?

The Nationals have promoted third baseman Anthony Rendon and moved Ryan Zimmerman to the disabled list, the Washington Times' Amanda Comak reports. Rendon was fairly widely considered the top talent in the 2011 amateur draft, but he fell to the Nats at No. 6 due to concerns about his health. Those concerns have proven to be well-founded, as injuries have  limited Rendon to fewer than 200 minor-league at bats since being drafted. Still, only four 2011 first-round draft picks (Trevor Bauer, Dylan Bundy, Jose Fernandez and Jackie Bradley, Jr.) beat Rendon to the majors.

With Rendon's promotion in mind, which top-ten pick from the 2011 draft do you think will have the most success in the majors? (The Marlins took Fernandez with the No. 14 overall pick, so he isn't an option here.) The 2011 top ten has so far been a mixed bag, combining some stellar performances with plenty of questions.

1. Gerrit Cole, Pirates. Cole has stayed healthy with the Bucs, and is now in Triple-A Indianapolis after pitching 132 innings at three levels in 2012, striking out around a batter per inning. His minor-league numbers have been good but not overwhelming, although his 100-MPH fastball and plus slider give him plenty of upside.

2. Danny Hultzen, Mariners. Hultzen struggled at the Triple-A level in 2012, with 7.95 BB/9 in 48 2/3 innings, but he seems to have taken a step forward in 2013 (albeit in a small sample, as is the case for all 2013 performances mentioned here), walking just six in 22 2/3 innings so far. Hultzen appears to be on track to become a rotation mainstay in Seattle, although he probably still lacks the ceiling of Cole, Bundy or Archie Bradley.

3. Trevor Bauer, Diamondbacks. Bauer shot through the minor leagues soon after being drafted, but the Diamondbacks quickly gave up on him, shipping him to Cleveland in the Shin-Soo Choo trade and grumbling about his attitude. Bauer had one wobbly start for the Indians this year, but has pitched well so far for Triple-A Columbus.

4. Dylan Bundy, Orioles. Bundy made it all the way to the big leagues as a 19-year-old in 2012, after a stunning pro debut that included a ridiculous 40:2 K:BB ratio at Class A Delmarva and a strong performance for Double-A Bowie. He has yet to pitch in 2013, however, after being shut down in March with elbow and forearm tightness.

5. Bubba Starling, Royals. The first hitter chosen in the 2011 draft was raw when selected, and the Royals have moved slowly with Starling, sending him to short-season Burlington in 2012. He hit .275/.371/.485 there, but he's off to a slow start in 2013 for Class A Lexington, hitting .143/.213/.250 so far.

6. Anthony Rendon, Nationals.

7. Archie Bradley, Diamondbacks. Bradley posted good strikeout numbers in Class A South Bend as a 19-year-old in 2012, but walked 5.56 BB/9 in 136 innings there. In his first three 2013 starts with Class A+ Visalia, he's shown improved control, and the results thus far have been spectacular, with 27 whiffs and six walks in his first 17 innings.

8. Francisco Lindor, Indians. The young shortstop hit well for an 18-year-old last season at Class A Lake County, batting .257/.352/.355, and also earned praise for his defense. He's off to a great start so far at Class A+ Carolina, hitting .348/.423/.522 in his first 46 at bats.

9. Javier Baez, Cubs. Baez was terrific in 2012 for Class A Peoria, but struggled a bit in Class A+ Daytona and hasn't hit much so far this year after the Cubs sent him back there.That's not necessarily a warning sign for a very young shortstop who has mostly won glowing reviews for his work in the Cubs system so far, however.

10. Cory Spangenberg, Padres. Spangenberg is the only 2011 top-ten pick who doesn't yet have a strong, age-appropriate pro performance to his credit. He hit very well in short-season Eugene after being drafted, but that's to be expected from a college hitter selected in the first round. Since then, the second baseman has struggled at the plate, mostly at Class A+ Lake Elsinore.

Draft Links: Callis’ Recap, Bonuses, Cubs

Monday's deadline to sign selections from June's First-Year Player Draft has come and gone, but there's plenty of reactions and analysis still to be had. Here's some of the latest:

  • Baseball America's Jim Callis has written up a draft recap, the big takeaway being that teams spent a lot of money on amateur players in 2011. Callis lists the biggest deals in the early, middle and late rounds, as well as the notable picks who did not sign. All told, teams spent a record $236MM combined.
  • If you're into charts, Callis has a whole gang of cool ones within this piece, including the biggest bonuses in draft history, the largest big league contracts in draft history, team bonus expenditures for the past three years, and this year's top 50 bonuses vs. slot. Nice, comprehensive work there by Callis and BA, to compile all that data.
  • The Cubs were among the big spenders in this year's draft, and it gave us a glimpse into what their long-term plan may be under the ownership of the Ricketts family, writes Phil Rogers of the Chicago Tribune.
  • Steve Melewski of MASNSports.com wonders, what makes a good draft? He spoke to Callis about it recently, and the answer is fascinating. Only 10-12 percent of the guys who are drafted and signed will make it to the bigs, so if a team can produce two big leaguers in one draft, that year is a success.

Teams Spend $236MM On Draft

The totals are in and Major League teams have again broken draft spending records. According to figures compiled by Jim Callis of Baseball America, MLB teams spent a combined $227.94MM on this year's draft bonuses and $235.99MM including additional guaranteed money in MLB deals for Danny Hultzen, Trevor Bauer, Dylan Bundy, Anthony Rendon and Matt Purke

A year ago, MLB teams spent about $35MM less: $195.78MM, or $201.83MM including additional guaranteed money in big league deals. The Pirates led the way in 2011, spending over $17MM and breaking the $11.93MM record the Nationals set a year ago. Washington also broke its previous record, spending over $15MM on Rendon, Purke, Alex Meyer, Brian Goodwin and others.

Though only seven teams had ever spent over $10MM on the draft before this year, ten teams did so in 2011, according to Baseball America. Along with the Pirates and Nationals, the Royals ($14.01MM), Cubs ($11.95MM), Diamondbacks ($11.93MM), Rays ($11.48MM), Mariners ($11.33MM), Padres ($11.02MM), Blue Jays ($11.00MM) and Red Sox ($10.98MM) spent eight figures on the draft.

The Tigers ($2.88MM), who didn’t select until the second round, and White Sox ($2.76MM) were the only clubs to spend less than $3MM, according to Baseball America.

Draft Links: Dunston, Hultzen, Red Sox

Earlier today we compiled draft reactions, now it's time to round up some miscellaneous links…

  • Paul Sullivan of The Chicago Tribune wrote about Shawon Dunston Jr., who signed with the Cubs for $1.275MM as an 11th round pick yesterday. Junior said he came to the decision to sign on Sunday night, without being pushed his father.
  • Larry Stone of The Seattle Times spoke to Brodie Van Wagenen, advisor to second overall pick Danny Hultzen. Van Wagenen discussed the compromises made by both his side and the Mariners during the negotiations, which were impacted by both Trevor Bauer (the third overall pick) and Dustin Ackley (the second overall pick two years ago).
  • WEEI.com's Alex Speier broke down the Red Sox's draft spending, which totalled over $10MM.

Draft Reactions

If the owners have their way, we won't see the heavy over slot spending we did in yesterday's draft for a long time: ESPN's Buster Olney tweets that a draft slotting system is the top priority of MLB in the current labor talks.  However, Olney's colleague Keith Law notes that the majority of scouts and directors he's spoken to are opposed to hard slotting.  That's a major issue for the near future, but for now let's focus on yesterday's signings…

  • Baseball America's John Manuel provides a nice summary of the major events of yesterday's deadline.  He praises the big-spending Pirates, Royals, and Nationals, but expressed surprise at the dollar amounts the Nats committed to Brian Goodwin and Matt Purke.  Manuel notes that other clubs must be surprised the Pirates managed to sign Josh Bell for $5MM.  Overall, Manuel opines that baseball's August 15th deadline is not suppressing bonuses as intended, and should be moved earlier.  He also advocates dropping the idea of a slotting system, trusting teams to evaluate and price talent.
  • Law looks at Tyler Beede's decision to turn down Toronto's offer, and also examines strong drafts from the Cubs, Pirates, Nationals, and Padres.  Like Manuel, Law questions Washington's Purke deal.
  • Beede was one of six players not to sign within the first three rounds; BA's Jim Callis has details on the compensation picks the Jays, Padres, Yankees, Mariners, Marlins, and Rockies will receive next year.
  • Law wrote that he's "surprised by how little [Dylan Bundy and Archie Bradley] got relative to their talent levels."  It may have had no bearing on the contracts of those two players, but I confirmed today that their agency BBI Sports Group is dealing with some turmoil, having recently fired Jeff Frye and another agent.
  • Speaking of agencies, I've updated our database to include pretty much all major draft picks from this year.
  • ESPN's Jim Bowden has an interesting article showing how the D'Backs, Padres, Rays, and Nationals re-allocated money from unsigned draft picks, and also discusses his Jeremy Sowers situation from '01 with the Reds.

American League Over Slot Signings

Most teams will exceed MLB's slot recommendations on at least a few players.  Here's the latest on such signings from the American League:

  • The Mariners signed second rounder Brad Miller for $750K, according to Callis (on Twitter).
  • The Orioles signed sixth rounder Nicky Delmonico for $1.525MM, according to Jeff Zrebiec of the Baltimore Sun (on Twitter). Earlier on, the Orioles agreed to sign second rounder Jason Esposito for $600K, according to MLB.com's Jonathan Mayo (on Twitter). Before that, the Orioles signed 26th round pick Zach Davies for $575K, reports Baseball America's Jim Callis.  The high school righty has drawn some Mike Leake comparisons, writes Callis.  Jeff Zrebiec of the Baltimore Sun was told last night that this deal isn't done, but it could be headed in the right direction.
  • Red Sox seventh rounder Cody Kukuk signed for $800K, according to Callis (on Twitter). Boston also signed fourth rounder Noe Ramirez, according to Alex Speier of WEEI.com. The right-hander obtains a $625K bonus, according to Speier and Callis.
  • The Blue Jays signed seventh rounder Christian Lopes for $800K, according to Jim Callis of Baseball America (on Twitter). The Blue Jays also signed 13th round pick Matt Deantweets Callis.  The high school third baseman signed for $737.5K, tweets ESPN's Keith Law.  BA considers him the best prep third base prospect in the draft.
  • The Yankees signed Greg Bird for $1.1MM, according to Zoodig, an athlete digital media platform, on Twitter. The Yankees signed sixth rounder Jake Cave for $825K, according to Callis (on Twitter). The Yankees also signed third rounder Jordan Cote for $725K, according to Callis. The high school right-hander has a fastball in the 90 mph range and stands 6'5". Earlier today, the Yankees signed 20th round pick and high school lefty Daniel Camarena for $335K, tweets Kendall Rogers of Perfect Game USA.
  • The Indians signed 18th rounder Shawn Armstrong for $325K, according to Rogers (on Twitter). The Indians also announced that they have signed second round right-hander Dillon Howard. He gets a $1.85MM bonus, according to Jonathan Mayo of MLB.com (on Twitter).
  • The Royals signed 16th rounder Jack Lopez for $750K, according to Callis (on Twitter). The Royals have also signed third rounder Bryan Brickhouse for $1.5MM, reports Callis. The high school right-hander received the second largest bonus outside of the top 18 picks so far. Earlier today, the Royals signed fourth round pick and high school righty Kyle Smith for $695K, reports Callis.  The Royals also signed 29th round pick Jake Junis for $675K, reports Callis.  Junis, an athletic high school righty from Illinois, is represented by Frontline.
  • The Angels have agreed to terms with sixth rounder Austin Wood, tweets Mike DiGiovanna of The Los Angeles Times (on Twitter). The USC righty got $150K.
  • The Twins signed tenth rounder Brett Lee for $150K, according to John Manuel and Jim Callis of Baseball America (on Twitter).
  • The Tigers signed 15th round pick and high school outfielder Tyler Gibson for $525K, tweets Rogers.

National League Over Slot Signings

Though MLB would prefer to keep a lid on it, many signings exceeding their slot recommendations will be revealed by reporters today.  The latest from the National League:

  • The Mets signed 11th rounder Christian Montgomery for $250K, according to Callis. They also signed third rounder Logan Verrett for $425K, according to Callis (Twitter links). Earlier today, the Mets signed high school shortstop Brad Marquez for $325K, reports Callis.  Since Marquez also plays football, his bonus will be spread over three years.  The Mets also signed 15th round pick and high school middle infielder Philip Evans for $650K, reports Callis.
  • Reds 22nd rounder Amir Garrett obtained a $1MM two sport deal that will be spread over five years, Callis tweets.
  • The Giants signed second rounder Andrew Susac for $1.1MM according to Zoodig, an athlete digital media platform, on Twitter. They also signed sixth rounder Josh Osich for $450K, according to Callis on Twitter.
  • The Phillies signed fifth rounder Mitch Walding for $800K, according to ESPN.com's Keith Law (on Twitter). The Phillies have also signed second rounder Roman Quinn for $775K, reports Baseball America's Conor Glassey (Twitter links). Callis says the high school outfielder was the fastest legitimate prospect in the draft.
  • The Cubs signed 11th rounder Shawon Dunston Jr. to a $1.275MM deal, according to Rogers (on Twitter). The Cubs also agreed to sign second rounder Dan Vogelbach for around $1.6MM, according to Rogers (Twitter links). The Florida high schooler has lots of power from the left side, according to Callis.
  • The Nationals signed fourth round left-hander Kylin Turnbull for $325K, according to Callis (on Twitter).
  • The Reds signed 23rd rounder Sal Romano for $450K, according to Kendall Rogers of Perfect Game USA (on Twitter). The Reds also signed 43rd rounder Ty Washington, according to Rogers (on Twitter). Callis reports that the second baseman obtains a $300K bonus (Twitter link).
  • The Pirates signed ninth rounder Clay Holmes, who was asking for a $1.2MM bonus, according to Callis (on Twitter).
  • The Cardinals signed second rounder Charlie Tilson for $1.275MM, according to Callis (Twitter link). The high schooler is a speedy leadoff type who plays center field.
  • The Dodgers signed fourth rounder Ryan O'Sullivan for $100K, according to Callis (on Twitter).
  • The Brewers signed 18th rounder Chris McFarland for $315K, according to Callis (on Twitter). The high school infielder has solid tools across the board.
  • The Cubs signed hard-throwing college reliever Tony Zych, a fourth rounder, for $400K, tweets Callis.  The Cubs also signed 25th round pick Rock Shoulders for $294K, tweets Callis.  The first baseman came out of a Florida junior college.
  • The Diamondbacks signed fifth round pick Michael Perez for $235K, tweets Baseball America's Jim Callis.  Perez is a high school catcher out of Puerto Rico.

Blue Jays Sign Daniel Norris, Kevin Comer

The Blue Jays did not sign top pick Tyler Beede, but they did come to terms with two other high picks on substantial deals. They signed left-hander Daniel Norris for $2MM, according to Jonathan Mayo of MLB.com (on Twitter) and they signed right-hander Kevin Comer for $1.65MM, according to ESPN.com's Keith Law (on Twitter). The Blue Jays have confirmed the move via press release and noted that they also signed infielder Christian Lopes and third baseman Matt Dean.

You can keep track of which top picks have signed with MLBTR's list.

Cubs Sign Dillon Maples

The Cubs signed 14th rounder Dillon Maples for $2.5MM, according to Kendall Rogers of Perfect Game USA (on Twitter). Though they selected the right-hander 429th overall, the Cubs signed Maples for as much as MLB recommends offering the fifth overall pick. Top Cubs pick Javier Baez signed for $2.65MM after being selected ninth overall earlier tonight. The 19-year-old Maples stands 6'2" and weighs in at 195 pounds.

You can keep track of which top picks have signed with MLBTR's list.

Nationals Sign Matt Purke

The Nationals signed third rounder Matt Purke to a four-year Major League deal, according to Jim Callis of Baseball America (on Twitter). The deal is worth roughly $4.4MM.

The Rangers drafted Purke in 2009, selecting him 14th overall out of high school. The following season, Purke was named National Freshman of the Year at TCU.