Draft Notes: Finnegan, Indians, Red Sox

With the recent rash of Tommy John surgeries in baseball, general managers are scared of taking pitchers at the top of the draft and giving them lucrative contracts, writes Bob Nightengale of USA Today. “There’s more awareness right now with the health of pitchers than I’ve ever seen,” one NL exec said. “It brings so much apprehension and anxiety right now.  I don’t think we’ve ever been so sensitive to what’s going on because of all of the pitching injuries.  Anyone with health issues, they’re going to fall.  You going to spend $6MM to $7MM on a pitcher who’s headed for Tommy John surgery?”  This is why some baseball executives believe collegiate pitchers Jeff Hoffman (East Carolina) and Erick Fedde (UNLV) could fall out of the top ten.

Here are more draft notes from around MLB:

  • This year’s draft has been said to be deep in arms, both at the collegiate and high school levels. As teams debate whether to take more polished products or roll the dice on prep upside, an interesting study from J.J. Cooper of Baseball America is worth considering. Cooper finds pitchers who attended college were significantly more likely to undergo Tommy John surgery than were those who went straight from high school to the professional ranks. Those findings could have implications both for how teams sort their draft boards and for the decision-making process of drafted players.
  • TCU left-hander Brandon Finnegan could become a top-ten pick because of his increased velocity, tweets CBSSports.com’s Jon Heyman.
  • The Indians, armed with the 21st, 31st, and 38th overall choices and a $8.23MM overall pool (eighth-highest in the league) are hoping to take advantage of the deep slate of prospects, report MLB.com’s Jordan Bastian and Alec Shirkey. “You have more money than 22 other clubs,” explained Brad Grant, the club’s director of amateur scouting. “So I have a lot more agent calls this year than I had in the past because we have the flexibility to do a lot of different things.
  • The Red Sox don’t own a top-ten pick in this year’s draft, but they’ve been able to land high-end talent before by taking chances on guys with injuries, writes Tim Britton of the Providence Journal. Boston snagged Jackie Bradley, Jr. with the 40th overall pick in 2011, an ultra-talented outfielder who had a subpar junior season that included a wrist injury. The Red Sox will pick 26th and 33rd on Thursday.
  • Because baseball players take so much longer to develop than their counterparts in other sports, the MLB draft is a particularly difficult feat.  However, that doesn’t stop teams from kicking themselves after making franchise-altering mistakes, according to Brian MacPherson of the Providence Journal.  MacPherson runs down some of the most regrettable choices in modern draft history, from the Padres taking Matt Bush in 2004 over Justin Verlander to 24 teams passing on Mike Trout before he fell to the Angels in 2009.

Jeff Todd and Edward Creech contributed to this post.

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