2014 Amateur Draft Rumors

Quick Hits: Buxton, Heyward, Padres, Saunders

Byron Buxton holds the top position in Baseball America's 2014 ranking of the top 100 prospects in the sport.  It's no surprise that Buxton was ranked #1 given that the Twins outfielder was similarly ranked in BA's midseason top 100 last summer.  Red Sox infielder Xander Bogaerts, Cardinals outfielder Oscar Taveras, Yankees right-hander Masahiro Tanaka (who qualifies for the list despite his long career in Japan) and Cubs shortstop Javier Baez round out the top five.

Here's some more from around baseball….

  • Baseball America's John Manuel picks out some of the best and worst rankings from the past 24 years of BA's Top 100 Prospects lists.
  • The Braves signed long-term extensions with several core players but only extended Jason Heyward through his two remaining arbitration years.  While some believe that this means Heyward's time in Atlanta is limited, MLB.com's Tracy Ringolsby writes that "the expectation is that after next season, the Heyward deal can be expanded so that he, too, will be locked up at least through the first year in the new ballpark."  Such a deal would require extending Heyward through at least his first two free agent years, which could get very expensive for the Braves if Heyward finally breaks out into stardom, as many have predicted for the young outfielder.
  • Padres chairman Ron Fowler told reporters (including Jeff Sanders of the San Diego Union-Tribune) that the club is prepared to raise payroll even further beyond the current $87MM+ projection for 2014. 
  • In regards to negotiations with Chase Headley on a multiyear deal, Fowler said, “There has been dialogue and we will continue to have dialogue at the appropriate time through the appropriate sources.”  Headley recently hinted that not much progress was being made and that talks could be tabled until after the season.
  • According to a talent evaluator who has seen Joe Saunders throw, the veteran southpaw could be the "steal of February," the evaluator tells FOX Sports' Ken Rosenthal (Twitter link).  Saunders posted a rough 5.26 ERA over 183 innings for the Mariners last season.  "No one saying he’s a star, but he’s a major-league pitcher," Rosenthal writes.
  • The Nationals' acquisition of Doug Fister from the Tigers is the best transaction of the 2014 offseason, as judged by Fangraphs' Dave Cameron.  The Fister trade headlines Cameron's list of the winter's top 10 moves.
  • Though Cubs chairman Tom Ricketts denied that his club's profits were going anywhere but back into the team, Gordon Wittenmyer of the Chicago Sun-Times wonders why the Cubs' revenues haven't been reflected in the Major League payroll.
  • NC State left-hander Carlos Rodon stands alone in his own tier atop ESPN's Keith Law's four-tier breakdown of the 2014 draft's top prospects (Insider subscription required).

Quick Hits: Jimenez, Ellsbury, Cubs, 2014 Draft

As the World Series shifts to St. Louis this weekend, here's the latest from around baseball…

  • The Indians "would love" having Ubaldo Jimenez back on a one-year, $14.1MM qualifying offer contract (with an option for 2015) but not on an expensive long-term deal, Paul Hoynes of the Cleveland Plain Dealer says on a podcast with Chris Fedor.  Tim Lincecum's two-year, $35MM contract from the Giants has put the cost of pitching out of Cleveland's range for Jimenez, who the Tribe feel has been too inconsistent to merit a multiyear commitment.
  • "There is so much money in the game, free agency is crazy," an anonymous GM tells Peter Gammons (Twitter link).  The GM also believes Lincecum's deal will end any chance of Jimenez returning to Cleveland and that Jacoby Ellsbury will earn a contract worth more than $100MM in free agency this winter.
  • MLBTR's Tim Dierkes, meanwhile, thinks Ellsbury's eventual contract could approach the $150MM threshold (Twitter link).
  • There is at least one mystery candidate on the Cubs' short list of potential managers, Gordon Wittenmyer of the Chicago Sun-Times reports.  Rick Renteria, Torey Lovullo, A.J. Hinch, Manny Acta and Dave Martinez have already been connected to the job and Eric Wedge is the latest candidate to be scheduled for an interview.  As to the identity of the unknown candidate, Wittenmyer says it isn't Sandy Alomar, Mike Maddux, Jose Oquendo, Don Mattingly, Jim Leyland or any of the Cubs' current coaching staff.  
  • NC State left-hander Carlos Rodon headlines the list of the top 30 prospects of the 2014 amateur draft, according to ESPN's Keith Law and Christopher Crawford (Insider subscription required).  Rodon is considered the favorite to be the first overall selection in June and the Astros are already looking at him.

Quick Hits: Rangers, Price, Rodon, Cubs

Nolan Ryan might be missing out on a really fun offseason.  Rival talent evaluators believe that the Rangers are going to be very aggressive this winter and pursue the likes of David Price, Masahiro Tanaka, and Brian McCann, according to Buster Olney of ESPN.com (via Twitter).  Texas is eager to right the ship after missing the playoffs for the first time since 2009.  Here's more from around baseball..

  • The 2014 draft class has potential to be the best class since 2011, write John Manuel and Clint Longenecker of Baseball America.  Left-hander Carlos Rodon stands out as the top talent in the group while power pitcher Jeff Hoffman would be the No. 2 pick if the draft was today.
  • Top international prospects Eloy Jimenez and Gleyber Torres are pretty far along in their development considering that they're just 16, but they'll be working to adjust to the U.S. culturally, writes MLB.com's Carrie Muskat.  "They're not raw in their physical abilities, it's just being raw to the United States, how things are run," said Cubs Minor League hitting coordinator Anthony Iapoce. "As far as the way they play the game, they're pretty advanced for 16 years old. They're not raw as far as their tools. Their tools are in place."
  • Pirates first baseman Justin Morneau will look to sign with a winner this offseason, writes Sid Hartman of the Star-Tribune.  Because of that, a return to the Twins seems highly unlikely, unless he finds an extremely weak market for his services.

2014 MLB Draft Order

With the 2013 MLB regular season now over, here's the current order for the first round of the 2014 MLB Draft. First, some notes:

  • The draft order is determined in reverse order of record. If two or more teams have the same record, the tie-breaker is 2012 record, with the team with the worse 2012 record getting the higher pick. That's why, for example, the Cubs (61-101 in 2012) pick ahead of the Twins (66-96 in 2012), even though the two teams had the same record this season.
  • Notably, the Athletics and the Braves had identical 96-66 records in 2013 and 94-68 records in 2012. MLB.com's Jim Callis confirms in an email that the next tie-breaker is 2011 record, and the A's were worse that year, so they will pick before the Braves.
  • The winner of Monday's Wild Card tie-breaker between the Rangers and Rays (which counts as a regular-season game) will get the No. 23 overall pick, while the loser will take No. 22.
  • The Jays have pick No. 11 in addition to their usual first-round pick, since they did not sign 2013 No. 10 overall pick Phil Bickford. The No. 11 pick is a protected pick for the Jays.
  • Teams may have to forfeit first-round draft picks when they sign free agents who have been extended qualifying offers, so this list is subject to change later this season.The first eleven picks of this year's draft, however, are protected, so those teams would lose a second-round pick for signing a player who has received and rejected a qualifying offer.

Without further ado, here's the order.

1. Astros
2. Marlins
3. White Sox
4. Cubs
5. Twins
6. Mariners
7. Phillies
8. Rockies
9. Blue Jays
10. Mets
11. Blue Jays (for failing to sign 2013 No. 10 pick Phil Bickford)
12. Brewers
13. Padres
14. Giants
15. Angels
16. Diamondbacks
17. Orioles
18. Yankees
19. Royals
20. Nationals
21. Reds
22. Rangers or Rays
23. Rangers or Rays
24. Indians
25. Dodgers
26. Tigers
27. Pirates
28. Athletics
29. Braves
30. Red Sox
31. Cardinals

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2014 Competitive Balance Lottery Results

The Competitive Balance Lottery for the 2014 MLB Draft took place today. Twelve competitive balance picks are awarded, with the first six taking place after the first round's conclusion and the next six taking place following conclusion of the second round. Here are the results, per MLB.com (Twitter links)…

Competitive Balance Round A

  1. Rockies
  2. Orioles
  3. Indians
  4. Marlins
  5. Royals
  6. Brewers

Competitive Balance Round B

  1. Padres
  2. Diamondbacks
  3. Cardinals
  4. Rays
  5. Pirates
  6. Mariners

As explained by MLB.com's Jonathan Mayo, the teams in the 10 smallest markets and teams with the 10 lowest revenues were eligible to be entered into the Round A lottery. This doesn't mean there were 20 teams in the lottery, as there's overlap in that criteria. All teams who don't win a pick in the first round are re-entered into the second round, along with any team that received revenue sharing this year, which accounted only for the Mariners.

These picks are eligible to be traded, as we saw in 2012. Last year, the Tigers and Marlins swapped Competitive Balance picks as part of the Anibal Sanchez trade. The Marlins received a second Competitive Balance pick when they traded Gaby Sanchez to the Pirates in the offseason.

The A's and Reds are the two eligible teams from this year's selection that were not awarded a Competitive Balance pick.