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Sean Manaea Rumors
Yahoo's Jeff Passan reports the Royals are "very likely" to sign Indiana State left-hander Sean Manaea to a well-over-slot deal. The Royals, according to Passan, are confident that the torn labrum in Manaea's hip won't be a long-term issue. Kansas City is familiar with Manaea's maladay, as Alex Gordon suffered a similar injury in 2009 (Twitter links).
The Royals gambled on this year's draft, selecting Stephen F. Austin State University shortstop Hunter Dozier with their eighth overall pick with the hopes of signing him under slot and making a run at Manaea. Things have gone according to plan thus far, as Dozier signed for $938K under slot value.
Manaea, who is advised by the Boras Corporation, was thought to be a potential No. 1 overall pick following a dominant showing in the Cape Cod League last summer. His injury issues caused him to fall out of the first round, and the Royals promptly took him with the first pick in the Competitive Balance round (No. 34 overall). That pick carries an assigned slot value of $1.623MM, per Baseball America, but Scott Boras made it clear weeks before the draft that Manaea would not sign for a discount.
In addition to Dozier, the Royals have also signed second-round pick Cody Reed for full slot value ($1.198MM). According to Passan's sources, a deal between the two sides could be reached as soon as this week. The Royals have a draft pool of $8,290,700.
Every team would love to find a gem like Matt Harvey in today's amateur draft, and CBS Sports' Jon Heyman breaks down how the Mets scouted and eventually selected the promising right-hander with the seventh pick in 2010. "At the end of the day, we were hoping [Harvey] was going to be there," said Rudy Terrasas, then the Mets' scouting director. "There was a lot of luck involved….That's the guy we were hoping to get to us, and he fell into our laps. We weren't real happy with the other options."
There are the first of many of today's draft-related items…
- The Astros and Cubs seem to be "in quandaries" over who they will select with the first two picks, Peter Gammons reports. According to several GMs and agents, Astros GM Jeff Luhnow may wait until at least 3pm CST (three hours before the draft begins) before deciding between Mark Appel, Jonathan Gray or Colin Moran as the first overall selection. (Both links are to Gammons' Twitter feed.)
- Also from Gammons, the Rockies could be preparing to take high school first baseman Dominic Smith with the third overall pick. ESPN's Keith Law (Twitter link) has also heard rumors to this effect. It would be something of a surprise pick given that Smith hasn't been projected as a top-ten talent in most major rankings of draft prospects — Law ranks Smith 11th (ESPN Insider subscription required), Baseball America ranks him 14th and MLB.com ranks him 15th.
- Heyman chimes in with CBS Sports' ranking of the top 30 draft prospects, with Appel topping the list (Smith, incidentally, sits at #20 in this ranking). One AL scouting director has faint praise for this year's draftee, telling Heyman that the draft class “is not as bad as most folks are saying.''
- The Orioles like high school catcher Nick Ciuffo, MASNsports.com's Roch Kubatko writes, though the club usually tends to look for pitchers in the draft. The O's have the 22nd overall pick in the first round.
- The Orioles' draft needs are discussed by MLB.com's Jonathan Mayo in conversation with Daniel Gallen of the Baltimore Sun. In general, Mayo says the Orioles are looking for players who can help them at the Major League level relatively quickly, with Kevin Gausman serving as "probably the best case scenario" in this regard.
- The Rays are the only team who has yet to produce a Major League player from their last five amateur drafts, as Marc Topkin of the Tampa Bay Times illustrates. The main reason could be that the Rays tend to pursue players with the highest upside, rather than players who could make it to the Majors sooner but in less-impactful roles.
- Baseball America's Jim Callis' final mock draft predicts that the Astros will take Gray with the first overall pick. This is very much in flux, however, as Callis doesn't think Houston has yet decided on who it will select with the top pick.
- Also from Callis, left-hander Sean Manaea's medical records indicated a labrum tear in his hip. This latest injury concern causes Callis to drop the Indiana State product out of his first round mock entirely, though Callis has heard that teams with mid-first round picks like the Pirates or Phillies could potentially take Manaea.
- Law's final mock draft (ESPN Insider-only) and Mayo's final mock draft for MLB.com offer differing choices for the Astros' top pick.
It wasn't long ago that Indiana State left-hander Sean Manaea was considered to be a potential No. 1 overall pick in this year's draft. Manaea dominated the Cape Cod League last summer, and scouts were enamored by the big lefty's size, velocity, slider and command. This season, a hip flexor issue has led to less-than-stellar results, and it's caused his draft stock to slip. MLB.com's Jonathan Mayo writes that Manaea could be the biggest wild card in the draft and makes the near-impossible task of creating an accurate mock draft that much more difficult.
Mayo also spoke with Manaea's advisor — the infamous Scott Boras. Boras told Mayo that teams will not get Manaea at a discount if he falls in the draft, because the hip issue isn't serious nor is it permanent:
"I’m going to put a value on these kids, because medically, I know they’re fine. It’s illustrated it’s temporary and will be resolved. There’s no shoulder or elbow problem. He had a hip flexor problem. He was instructed, you can go pitch, you’re not going to hurt yourself.”
Boras suggested that it would be "crazy" for teams to let this issue get in the way of drafting Manaea. As many have come to expect from the always quotable Boras, he even tried to spin it as a positive by pointing out that the injury limited the mileage on Manaea's arm by limiting his innings.
In Mayo's most recent mock draft, he had Manaea going to the Cardinals at No. 19 overall. The recommended bonus for that slot, he notes, is $2.0558MM, but if Boras' comments are any indication, Manaea will require a far greater bonus to sign.
If he falls far enough, Manaea strikes me as an ideal target for a team that drafts a player who can be signed significantly below slot-value with its first pick. Should Manaea fall out of the first round, a team could employ a strategy similar to that of the Astros last season, when they signed Carlos Correa well below slot value at No. 1 overall and then landed Lance McCullers Jr. in the supplemental round and Rio Ruiz in the fourth round. All of that, of course, is speculation. As Mayo noted, Manaea argubaly represents the draft's biggest wild card.
Oklahoma pitcher Jonathan Gray's strong performance in the Big 12 conference tournament increased the likelihood that the Astros will pick him No. 1 overall, ESPN.com's Christopher Crawford writes (Insider-only). Crawford also quotes a scout who says that Indiana State's Sean Manaea — thought to be a top pick before the season — is "not a first-round prospect to me," and suggests Manaea may be best served by not signing and returning to school. Manaea was pulled from a recent start with shoulder tightness. Crawford's piece also contains details about Mark Appel and many of this draft class' top hitters. Here are more notes on the draft.
- Indiana high-schooler Trey Ball tops the list of two-way players available in this year's draft, Baseball America's Jim Callis says. Teams now prefer Ball as a pitcher, and it looks likely he'll be selected in the first 10 picks or so. Another two-way player is Cal State-Fullerton's Michael Lorenzen, who will be drafted as a center fielder, Callis says.
- If the Twins wish to avoid Scott Boras with the No. 4 overall pick in the upcoming draft, their best bets are high school pitcher Kohl Stewart or high school catcher Reese McGuire, ESPN1500's Darren Wolfson tweets. Stewart is being advised by Derek Braunecker and McGuire by Matt Sosnick, Wolfson says.
Kevin Gausman, the No. 4 overall pick in the 2012 draft, made his Major League debut for the Orioles last night. In a poll on Wednesday, roughly 39 percent of MLBTR readers agreed that Michael Wacha of the Cardinals would be the next first-round pick from last year's draft to make the leap to the big leagues. There are less than two weeks until the 2013 draft, and we'll keep track of today's draft-related news here…
- The first mock draft from Jim Callis of Baseball America had the Astros taking Mark Appel No. 1 overall, but his newest version has the Astros taking Jonathan Gray. That leaves Appel to go to the Cubs at No. 2, but it's not clear right now who the Cubs would take between the two pitchers if Houston winds up taking a hitter instead.
- Callis views Sean Manaea as a complete wild card in this year's draft (Twitter link). He likens the Indiana State lefty to Lucas Giolito, who the Nationals drafted 16th overall last year. Like Giolito, Manaea was once considered a possible No. 1 overall selection, but injuries have caused his stock to fall and it's highly difficult to predict where he'll land.
- Prep catcher Reese McGuire will have to make a tough choice between attending college and going pro, but he's eager for the draft nonetheless, writes MLB.com's Doug Miller. While McGuire has a great opportunity to play ball at the University of San Diego, he might not be able to resist the pull of the majors if goes as high as he is projected to. MLB.com currently has the catcher going No. 11 to the Mets.
- McGuire isn't the only high school catcher who is drawing interest from clubs at the top of the draft, writes Jonathan Mayo of MLB.com. Behind him are Jon Denney from Oklahoma and South Carolina's Nick Ciuffo.
Zach Links contributed to this post.
The latest on the draft, which is just over two weeks away…
- Indiana State pitcher Sean Manaea was pulled from today's game due to injury before throwing a pitch, according to Keith Law of ESPN.com (via Twitter). The problem relates to the same hip issue that has plagued him this spring in conjunction with shoulder stiffness and Manaea could possibly pitch on Saturday instead, Jonathan Mayo of MLB.com tweets. The left-hander is one of the top prospects in this year's draft.
- The outfielders in this year's draft have tremendous potential, Mayo writes. Georgia high schoolers Clint Frazier and Austin Meadows are the top outfielders in this year's class and they both offer different skill sets. One scouting director noted that while he is impressed with Frazier's strength, he is high on both players and is confident that they will be off the board inside of the first 12 picks.
- Click here to see who will be representing each team at the draft.
- ESPN's Keith Law redrafted the 2003 draft, taking Matt Kemp, Ian Kinsler, and Aaron Hill with the first three picks rather than the reality of Delmon Young, Rickie Weeks, and Kyle Sleeth for the Rays, Brewers, and Tigers. Be sure to check out the entire redraft article.
The Astros, Cubs, and Rockies have the first three picks in the 2013 amateur draft, which takes place Thursday, June 6th. Draft gurus expect college righties Mark Appel and Jonathan Gray and college third baseman Kris Bryant to go within those first three picks, though the order seems tough to pin down at this point. The latest on the draft:
- Conor Glassey of Baseball America takes a look at the age spectrum among this year's BA Top 250 by splitting the list into high school and college players and examining the youngest and oldest in each group.
- Baseball America's Jim Callis asked four "top-level scouting executives" whether they preferred Appel or Gray. Three of them chose Appel, though it was interesting to hear that two of them questioned his makeup.
- MLB.com's Jonathan Mayo talked to Nevada righty Braden Shipley, a converted shortstop. ESPN's Keith Law ranks Shipley the No. 6 talent in the draft, and predicted the Marlins will indeed take him in that sixth spot. Baseball America ranks him eighth, and predicted he'd go fifth to the Indians. Mayo went with eighth to the Royals.
- Mayo also writes that Shipley has elevated his stock thanks to consistent performance this season, while Indiana State lefty Sean Manaea and Arkansas right-hander Ryne Stanek have seen their stocks fall. Manaea has been bothered by a hip issue that has led to diminished results, while Stanek has had an up-and-down season as well. A scouting director told Mayo that he thinks Stanek will be the third pitcher selected in the draft. The upcoming conference tournaments will serve as a showcase for these college arms to gain some last-minute draft helium.
Steve Adams contributed to this post.
In a recent two-part series for 1500 ESPN, Phil Mackey profiled Twins top prospect Byron Buxton and noted that Buxton's path to the Majors could be on a more accelerated timetable than most people think. The No. 2 overall pick in the 2012 draft, Buxton has obliterated Class-A Cedar Rapids similarly to Mike Trout, who played there two years ago when Cedar Rapids was an Angels affiliate. Buxton is hitting .368/.485/.632 with five homers and 13 steals in 29 games for the Kernels. Mackey adds that the Twins, who typically move prospects slowly, have been aggressive in the past with the likes of Joe Mauer, David Ortiz and Matt Garza. Chris Parmelee and Aaron Hicks are two current Twins who skipped Triple-A. In addition to that group, Oswaldo Arcia received only 10 games at Triple-A this season before being called up at the age of 21. Here's more on the Twins from Mackey's colleague, Darren Wolfson…
- Wolfson talked with Twins VP of player personnel Mike Radcliff about the upcoming draft, and Radcliff conceded that they're down to about four players they're eyeing with the No. 4 overall pick. Radcliff added that the Twins are likely to draft at a position of need, but that they still need to take the best player available at that position. That seemingly clashes with yesterday's report that they may cut a deal with prep catcher Reese McGuire and spend more heavily later in the draft.
- It's no surprise that two of the four players on the Twins list are Mark Appel and Jonathan Gray, although as the favorites to go No. 1 and No. 2 overall, neither college right-hander may be there.
- The Twins have had eight scouts evaluate Austin Meadows and Clint Frazier, and there's a 50/50 split amongst those scouts on which is the better prospect.
- Radcliff says the Twins aren't worried about dealing with Scott Boras if they select one of his advisees: "…he tells us what the deal is. We'll know (what it'll take to sign the player)."
- Radcliff praised San Diego third baseman/outfielder Kris Bryant's versatility and power and also noted that Indiana State left-hander Sean Manaea's injury battles this Spring "has to be a factor." Both have been considered Top 5 talents, though Manaea's stock has fallen, as Radcliff noted.
- When Wolfson mentioned comparisons between Buxton and B.J. Upton, Radcliff replied that he feels Buxton will be "a way better hitter" than Upton and added: "Upton is a nice player, a plus defender. … But Buxton has a swing that will allow him to hit for average. It's the fastest, quickest, most direct swing you'll see."
- Top prospect Kyle Gibson seems close to Major League ready following Tommy John surgery in late 2011, but Radcliff said Gibson is not quite ready to join the Major League rotation yet. Gibson, whose last start was an eight-strikeout shutout, is still a bit "uneven," according to Radcliff.
Agent Scott Boras is likely to advise top prospect Kris Bryant as the 2013 draft approaches, according to Jack Magruder of FOXSportsArizona.com (on Twitter). With right-hander Mark Appel and left-hander Sean Manaea also in tow, Boras has three clients likely to come off of the board within the first ten picks.
All three are said to be in the mix for the Astros' No. 1 pick along with Oklahoma right-hander Jonathan Gray and Georgia high school outfielders Clint Frazier and Austin Meadows. However, the Georgia products might be at a disadvantage as Houston is said to be leaning more towards college players.
Bryant, a third baseman/outfielder out of the University of San Diego, currently leads the nation in homers and has turned heads with his power. Manaea has impressed scouts as well, but a hip issue has caused trouble for him as of late. Appel, meanwhile, is entering the draft yet again after being unable to reach agreement with the Pirates, who nabbed him with the No. 8 pick last year.
ESPN's Buster Olney relays (via Twitter) a stat from the Elias Sports Bureau, noting that the Astros have received just 15 1/3 innings from their starters over the past six games — tied for fewest in a six game span in the past 35 years. Offseason acquisition Brad Peacock will look to turn that trend around tonight when he faces a struggling Mariners offense. Here's more on the Astros in their first year in the American League…
- General manager Jeff Luhnow told reporters, including MLB.com's Brian McTaggart, that the team's bullpen can't take much more of the past week's trends: "We can't take too many more hits before we have to go out and make some moves."
- Luhnow has no plans to trade Bud Norris anytime soon, reports McTaggart. Luhnow told McTaggart that Norris is a "critical part of the team" and noted that the constant rumors are unfortunate for all parties involved. Norris hasn't been on the trading block for quite some time, according to Luhnow.
- Luhnow also said that Erik Bedard is basically "going through the finishing touches of Spring Training" (Brian T. Smith of the Houston Chronicle reporting via Sulia). The Astros have limited Bedard to four innings per appearance thus far, which has contributed to the aforementioned 15 1/3 innings stat.
- McTaggart reports that the Astros have sent Roger Clemens out to scout potential No. 1 overall draft picks (Twitter link). The Astros seem to be focused on college players, as McTaggart goes on to list right-hander Mark Appel (Stanford), right-hander Jonathan Gray (Oklahoma), left-hander Sean Manaea (Indiana State) and third baseman/outfielder Kris Bryant (San Diego) as players of interest.