As noted last night, the exchange of information between teams and draftee advisers is a widespread, critical component of the MLB amateur draft process. It is also, of course, one that takes place in something of a gray area, owing largely to the NCAA rules that threaten the amateur status of players who retain advisers. Jeff Passan of Yahoo Sports has obtained and published an interesting memorandum sent by MLB to its member clubs, which was later forwarded by the MLBPA to certified agents, setting forth the rules by which parties are expected to engage one another. According to the memo, clubs cannot enter into pre-draft agreements or understandings. Teams are permitted to ask what a player would sign for, but cannot condition a selection on a promise that the player will accept a certain bonus. Likewise, advisers are forbidden from saying that a player has a deal with another club or threaten to do so if demands are not met. Passan calls the document “a farce,” writing that “both parties drawing up these rules ignore them fundamentally.”
Here’s the latest as the hours tick down to the draft, which is set to begin at 6:00 central time (with the Astros’ first overall pick expected to be made at 6:12 CST):
- The MLB.com prospect team has published its latest mock draft, with both Jonathan Mayo and Jim Callis agreeing that Brady Aiken, Carlos Rodon, and Tyler Kolek will go 1-2-3. They disagree on the next choice, with Mayo tabbing catcher Kyle Schwarber to the Cubs and Callis predicting that Chicago will instead go with outfielder Michael Conforto. (Each prognosticator predicts just the opposite result with the Rockies‘ in the eighth slot.)
- In its latest iteration, the Baseball America mock largely concurs with MLB.com through pick eight, but begins to differ at that point.The biggest disconnect occurs at the tenth slot, where BA expects the Mets to take high school second baseman Forrest Wall. MLB.com sees Wall lasting until the Rangers select 30th overall, while noting that he could be nabbed by New York.
- White Sox pitching coach Don Cooper says that he likes all four of the arms rated most highly by the team, including the three mentioned above along with Aaron Nola, but prefers Aiken, reports Dan Hayes of CSNChicago.com. “I liked them all,” said Cooper. “I liked the kid Aiken maybe the best. But a high school kid, that’s going to be a little longer. The closest to the big leagues Rodon and the second closest was Nola. It’s hard not to like the stuff coming out of the hand of Kolek. Those high school kids, there’s work to be done there.”
- Expectation is building that the Twins will go with shortstop Nick Gordon at fifth overall, with Darren Wolfson of 1500 ESPN reporting (Twitter links) that the team has seen him more than any other. Indeed, two key team executives have watched him in action more than ten times apiece, says Wolfson.
- The Padres are eyeing a position player with the 13th overall pick, likely from the college ranks, reports MLB.com’s Corey Brock. “We’ve tried to go back and get to know and see these college players more,” said scouting director Billy Gasparino. “We have been really aggressive with high school guys, but this year feels like a good college crop.” Of course, as Brock notes, the team’s ultimate direction remains very much dependent upon who goes before they are on the clock, and it would not be surprising to see the club add an arm.
- If you haven’t already, remember to check out MLBTR’s Q&A sessions with top draft prospects Braxton Davidson, Aaron Nola, Jacob Gatewood, Michael Chavis, Nick Gordon, Nick Burdi, and Bradley Zimmer.