2014 Amateur Draft Signings Rumors

Nationals Sign Erick Fedde

The Nationals have signed first-rounder Erick Fedde for a $2,511,100 bonus, reports Jim Callis of MLB.com (on Twitter). That amount represented the maximum the team could allot to Fedde without forfeiting future draft picks.

It went right down to the wire yet again for Washington and a first-round choice being advised by Scott Boras. But, as usual, the deal was made. Things were obviously complicated in this case by several factors, including Fedde’s recent Tommy John surgery (which caused his drop) and the Nats’ inability to ink two of the club’s picks from the first ten rounds.

In the end, the Nationals will take over the rehab process of a pitcher who looked destined for the first ten rounds before tearing his UCL. Of course, the Nationals have plenty of experience dealing with TJ recovery, with a rotation headed by two recent patients and a farm system led by a player in Lucas Giolito whose draft situation closely resembled Fedde’s.

Angels Agree To Terms With Sean Newcomb

The Angels and first-round pick Sean Newcomb have agreed to terms, according Jon Heyman of CBS Sports. Mike DiGiovanna of the L.A. Times tweets that the exact figure is a $2,518,400 signing bonus. That number was the maximum amount of money the Halos could allot to Newcomb without exceeding their bonus pool. Newcomb was advised by and is now a client of the Legacy Agency.

The 6’5″, 240-pound Newcomb was electric for the University of Hartford this season, posting an 8-2 record with a pristine 1.25 ERA and a 106-to-38 K/BB ratio in 93 1/3 innings of work. Opponents hit just .162 against him in 2014, albeit in a relatively weak college conference.

Newcomb fell to the Halos with the 15th overall pick — a spot at which the Angels assumed the left-hander would be off the board, scouting director Ric Wilson told DiGiovanna. Newcomb’s No. 15 overall slot comes with a value of $2,475,600, according to Baseball America, meaning he received about $42K over slot to sign with the Angels.

The Angels probably weren’t the only ones surprised to see Newcomb on the board with their pick. Keith Law of ESPN ranked Newcomb as the No. 7 prospect in this year’s draft, while Jonathan Mayo and Jim Callis of MLB.com ranked him ninth, and Baseball America ranked him 11th. Law notes that many will compare him to Sean Manaea — another big lefty with good velocity from a weak conference. Newcomb’s upside might not be quite as high, Law writes, but his fastball consistently touched 96 mph, and his command improved in 2014 as well. BA notes that his breaking pitch varies between curveball and slider, but most scouts think his curve will be the better pitch. BA and Law both feel his changeup can be an average third offering, though he hasn’t used it often to this point.

Giants To Sign Draft Picks Logan Webb, Austin Slater

Just a handful of picks from the top 10 rounds of the 2014 draft remain unsigned. Here are the latest signings as we inch toward tomorrow’s 5pm ET deadline…

  • The Giants have signed fourth-rounder Logan Webb and eighth-round pick Austin Slater. MLB.com’s Jim Callis reported the Webb agreement (via Twitter) and a $600K bonus, while Kendall Rogers of Perfect Game USA first tweeted that Slater had agreed to terms. According to Callis, Slater receives a $200K bonus. Webb, a high-school righty out of California, had a slot value of $440,600, and he features a mid-90s fastball. A two-sport star (he was also a quarterback), Webb ranked 214th on Baseball America’s Top 500 list. Slater, meanwhile, ranked 139th on that same list. The Stanford outfielder has good speed and gap power, and his bonus was about $31K over slot.
  • As Callis tweets, there are now just nine picks from the top 10 rounds that remain unsigned. Of particular note are first-rounders Brady Aiken (Astros), Sean Newcomb (Angels) and Erick Fedde (Nationals). Newcomb, however, is said to be nearing a deal.

Giants Agree To Terms With Second & Third-Round Picks

4:31pm: The Giants have also inked third-rounder Dylan Davis for a $650K bonus, tweets Jim Callis of MLB.com. That lands just over the $622,300 slot allocation that came with the 87th pick.

The Oregon State outfielder was rated 74th on MLB.com’s list, 77th on that of ESPN.com’s Keith Law, and 93rd by Baseball America. In addition to his power bat, Davis also owns a mid-90s fastball.

11:32am: The Giants and second-round pick Aramis Garcia, reports Kendall Rogers of Perfect Game USA (on Twitter). The catcher from FIU will receive a $1.1MM signing bonus, which is slightly above the slot value for the No. 52 overall selection ($1,066,900).

Garcia ranked 74th on Baseball America’s list of the Top 500 draft prospects, and he ranked 78th on the Top 200 compiled by Jim Callis and Jonathan Mayo over at MLB.com. Garcia’s bat draws more praise than his glove from both scouting reports, with BA noting that he profiles as an offense-first catcher with a good approach to all fields. Callis and Mayo note that while he currently has more of a line-drive stroke, some feel that he can grow into more power as his lean, 6’2″, 200-pound frame fills out a bit more. Both outlets note that he has an average throwing arm but will need some work on his footwork and blocking skills.

Garcia’s Junior season at FIU was very impressive from a statistical standpoint, as he batted .368/.442/.626 with eight homers, 14 doubles and two triples. He caught 27 percent of opposing base stealers.

Giants Sign Tyler Beede

FRIDAY: The Giants have officially announced Beede’s signing via press release.

TUESDAY: Mayo clarifies that Beede actually received the slot value of $2,613,200 (Twitter link). The additional $36,800 that he originally reported was included to go towards Beede’s completion of his college education. That money, therefore, does not count toward the Giants’ bonus pool.

MONDAY: The Giants have agreed to terms with first-round pick Tyler Beede, reports MLB.com’s Jonathan Mayo (on Twitter). The Vanderbilt right-hander will receive a signing bonus of $2.65MM, which is slightly higher than the $2,613,200 slot value for the No. 14 overall selection.

Tyler Beede

Beede was drafted in the first round by the Blue Jays back in the 2011 draft but turned down a $2.4MM bonus to attend Vanderbilt rather than begin his pro career out of high school. Mayo and MLB.com colleague Jim Callis ranked Beede 12th among draft prospects, while he ranked 15th on Baseball America’s Top 500 list and 15th on the Top 100 of ESPN’s Keith Law as well.

Mayo and Callis note that Beede has three above-average pitches, with a fastball that sits 92-94 mph and touches 97 mph. However, Beede also has had some well-documented command issues in the past and doesn’t always repeat his delivery. BA notes that his changeup is his best secondary pitch, but calls his 80-81 mph curveball a plus pitch as well, noting that Beede throws it harder than most other curveballs in this year’s draft class. Law offers a similar take — excellent stuff with command issues and enough problems with his delivery that some have wondered if he has some structural damage in his shoulder.

Beede’s stuff is better than his numbers with Vanderbilt this year; the right-hander posted a 4.05 ERA with 116 strikeouts and 53 walks in 113 1/3 innings. He also hit 18 batters and uncorked eight wild pitches, though he he did hold opposing hitters to a meager .223 batting average.

Photo courtesy of USA Today Sports Images.

Mets Sign Michael Conforto

The Mets have officially announced the signing of first-round pick Michael Conforto (Twitter link). The Scott Boras client had previously been reported to have agreed to terms at a $2.97MM bonus (per MLB.com’s Jim Callis), but reports over the past few weeks indicated that the two sides were hung up on a few non-financial details.

Michael Conforto

All of that is worked out now, and Conforto can get a start on his professional career. An outfielder out of Oregon State, he was widely considered to be one of the best bats in the draft. Conforto ranked as the No. 8 prospect in this draft by ESPN’s Keith Law and Baseball America while Jonathan Mayo and Callis of MLB.com ranked him 17th.

Conforto batted a whopping .345/.504/.547 with seven homers, 16 doubles and a pair of triples in 59 games for Oregon State in 2014 — his junior season. Law praised Conforto’s power to his pull side, also noting that he works counts well and is able to hit the ball to the opposite field. Law expressed concerns about Conforto’s defense, however, questioning his range and his throwing arm in left field. BA offered a bit of a different take, writing that he improved his previously fringy defense and is now adequate, and their scouting report projected him as a 20-25 homer hitter down the road. MLB.com shared some of the defensive concerns and worried that he might swing and miss too much, however that scouting report also projected him to hit 25-plus homers with regularity at his peak.

Photo courtesy of USA Today Sports Images.

White Sox Sign Carlos Rodon

FRIDAY: The White Sox have officially announced the signing of Rodon for a $6.582MM bonus (Twitter link).

THURSDAY: Rodon will receive a $6.582MM bonus, reports John Manuel of Baseball America. That figure represents the largest bonus in the draft, as even the previously agreed upon $6.5MM bonus between the Astros and Aiken would fall shy (of course, the two sides in those negotiations have hit a snag due to a rumored injury, and Houston is now seeking a discounted bonus).

WEDNESDAY: The White Sox have agreed to terms with No. 3 overall pick Carlos Rodon on a bonus north of $6.45MM, reports Jon Heyman of CBS Sports (on Twitter). The slot value of the No. 3 overall pick is $5.7215MM, so his bonus will be more than $700K over slot. Jeff Gravley of WRAL-TV tweeted earlier today that Rodon is traveling to Chicago today for a physical, which will take place tomorrow. He is expected to join the Class-A Advanced Winton-Salem Dash, according to Gravley. Rodon is advised by Scott Boras.

Carlos Rodon

Rodon, a left-hander out of N.C. State, was long considered a possibility to go first overall, but he slipped to the No. 3 pick behind prep lefty Brady Aiken and prep righty Tyler Kolek. Rodon ranked third on Baseball America’s list of Top 500 draft prospects, while MLB.com and Keith Law of ESPN both ranked him second.

Rodon’s fastball sits comfortably in the low 90s and touches 96-97 mph when he’s at his best, writes Law in his scouting report. Law called Rodon’s slider the best breaking pitch in this year’s draft class due to “ridiculous movement that will give both left and right-handed hitters fits.” Jim Callis and Jonathan Mayo of MLB.com call Rodon the best college lefty since David Price, noting that his changeup can become an average third pitch. All three publications feel that Rodon can become a true No. 1 starter, though he showed some command issues this spring that will need to be ironed out for him to reach that potential.

Rodon posted a 2.01 ERA with 117 strikeouts and 31 walks in 98 2/3 innings this season with N.C. State. In addition to those 31 walks, he threw five wild pitches and hit 15 batters. Rodon’s teammate, shortstop Trea Turner, went with the 13th overall pick to the Padres, and the White Sox took his catcher, Brett Austin, in the fourth round.

Photo courtesy of USA Today Sports Images.

Draft Signings: Artie Lewicki, Adam Ravenelle

Here are today’s notable draft signings, with all slot bonus information courtesy of Baseball America.  The newest signings are at the top of the post…

  • The Tigers have signed eighth-rounder Artie Lewicki for just a $60K bonus, reports MLB.com’s Jim Callis (on Twitter). The Virginia right-hander is a “steal” for Detroit in the eyes of Callis, who praises his 92 to 95 mph fastball and mid-80s slider/cutter. Lewicki’s bonus saves the Tigers nearly $100K (slot value of $154,200), though “senior signs” such as this often come with some savings.
  • The Tigers also signed fourth-rounder Adam Ravenelle, as the 21-year-old right-hander announced himself on his Twitter page.  He’ll receive a $412K bonus, according to MLB.com’s Jason Beck, slightly above the $392.4 slot value attached to the 130th overall pick.  A junior out of Vanderbilt, Ravenelle was rated 113st in Baseball America’s prospect rankings and 151st by MLB.com.  Ravenelle didn’t pitch much over his first two seasons at Vandy due to injury, though the MLB.com scouting report projects him as a possible setup man or even a future closer with a mid-90s fastball and a promising breaking ball.

Draft Signings: Gage Hinsz

We’ll keep track of today’s draft signings here.

  • The Pirates have agreed to terms with 11th-round pick Gage Hinsz on a $580K deal, MLB.com’s Jim Callis tweets. $480K of Hinsz’s bonus will count against the Pirates’ bonus pool. Hinsz, a high school pitcher from Montana, was committed to Oregon State. The Pirates have now agreed to terms with all of their draft picks through the first 22 rounds.

Cubs Sign Sixth-Rounder Dylan Cease

The Cubs have signed sixth-round draft pick Dylan Cease to a contract with a $1.5MM bonus, MLB.com’s Jim Callis reports (via Twitter), which far exceeds the $269.5K slot price attached to the 169th overall pick.

Cease, a high school right-hander, had committed to attend Vanderbilt in the fall, yet the large bonus is still somewhat surprising given that he will undergo Tommy John surgery later this month.  The Cubs also went well above slot in handing out seven-figure bonuses to fourth-rounder Carson Sands and fifth-rounder Justin Steele, as the team had extra draft pool money available after going almost a combined $1.75MM under slot to sign first round pick Kyle Schwarber and second-rounder Jake Stinnett.

In pre-draft prospect rankings, Cease was rated 48th amongst all draftees by ESPN’s Keith Law, 76th by MLB.com and 77th by Baseball America.  The BA scouting report says Cease needs to improve on repeating his breaking pitches and he has something of a rushed delivery, but the young righty’s fastball has touched 98mph and his curveball has potential to be an above-average pitch if he can be consistent with it.