Yasmani Grandal Rumors

Draft Links: Cardinals, Royals, Jackson, Rays

If this morning's round of draft-related links wasn't enough, here's some more reading material to prepare you for Monday….

  • The Cardinals are targeting left-handed pitching, speed, and power in the draft, according to Rick Hummel of the St. Louis Post-Dispatch.
  • MLB.com's Jonathan Mayo hears that the Royals don't quite have an agreement in place with Yasmani Grandal yet, but that Grandal is still the favorite to go fourth overall to Kansas City.
  • Rany Jazayerli outlines why he thinks the Royals' draft positions in recent years have been unlucky.
  • Within Peter Gammons' MLB.com piece on the draft, one National League GM says that after the top three of Bryce Harper, Manny Machado, and Jameson Taillon, "there's virtually no difference between the fourth and 44th picks."
  • ESPN.com's Keith Law tweets that the Brewers, Astros, Marlins, and Yankees are interested in right-hander Luke Jackson, who looks increasingly like a first-round pick.
  • Continuing their three-part preview of Tampa Bay's draft, DRaysBay examines some players the Rays could target with their first few picks.
  • Fanhouse's Frankie Piliere runs down the latest draft buzz he's heard and updates his predictions for the first 15 picks.
  • Former Athletic Scott Hatteberg is helping out with the club's draft preparation, according to Joe Stiglich of the Oakland Tribune (via Twitter).

Draft Links: Pirates, Astros, Sale, Mets, Padres

A few links to check out with the draft less than 60 hours away…

  • The Pirates still don't know who they're going to select with the second overall pick according to The Pittsburgh Tribune-Review's Karen Price. "But it's not going to be one of those things where all of a sudden you're going to say, 'I didn't see that one coming,' " said head scout Greg Smith.
  • Bernardo Fallas of The Houston Chronicle says that Derek Dietrich, Brett Eibner, and Chad Bettis all signed releases allowing the Astros to re-draft them. Houston selected all three out of high school in 2007 but didn't sign any of them, and a player has to consent to being re-drafted by a club. All three are considered top 100 prospects by ESPN's Keith Law (sub. req'd) and Baseball America. The Astros hold three of the top 33 picks.
  • Law echoes the report of the Royals pursuing a deal with Yasmani Grandal, and says it could push Chris Sale to the Diamondbacks and give the Mets their choice of Zack Cox or Matt Harvey (sub. req'd).
  • He also hears that Grandal going to Kansas City would put the White Sox back on college pitching, and that the Giants have interest in Yordy Cabrera for the 24th overall pick. 
  • Law also mentions that the Padres have narrowed their options for the ninth overall pick down to Michael Choice and Kolbrin Vitek.
  • Zachary Levine of The Houston Chronicle looks at five of the best high school hitters available, as well as the Astros' top picks by decade.
  • Meanwhile, Bob Brookover of The Philadelphia Inquirer reviews the Phillies' draft picks from the last decade.

Royals Have Agreement With Grandal?

The Royals are believed to have a deal in place with Yasmani Grandal for the fourth overall pick, industry sources tell Frankie Piliere of Fanhouse.com (via Twitter).  Yesterday, an MLB executive told ESPN's Keith Law that Grandal is looking for "Buster Posey money".  Posey received a $6.2MM bonus from the Giants.

Kansas City has been linked to the catcher since April when it was first rumored that they were looking at him as a candidate for the fourth overall pick.  In his latest mock draft, Law has Grandal falling to the Reds at the 12th overall selection. However, he ranks the University of Miami product as the ninth best prospect in the draft.

Our own Mike Axisa recently took a look at Grandal, calling him the best all-around catcher in the 2010 draft.

Draft Notes: O’s, Harper, Pomeranz, Grandal

The countdown is on for MLB scouting directors. The draft is just days away, so it's time for them to rank hundreds of players. Here are the latest links on the 2010 draft:

  • The Rangers' ownership problems means the team will be focusing on easily-signable players, reports Richard Durrett of ESPNDallas.com.
  • Steve Gilbert of MLB.com thinks the Diamondbacks will look to add pitching after spending most of their early picks in the 2009 draft on position players.  He also doesn't think Arizona will pay above slot to sign a player.  
  • Lou Montanez, Matt Wieters and Nick Markakis tell MLB.com's Spencer Fordin what they remember about being drafted.
  • Bryce Harper may have played his last amateur game and it's not just because the draft is approaching. He received a two-game suspension after being ejected, according to USA Today's Bob Nightengale (Twitter link). MLB.com's Jonathan Mayo has video of the ejection.
  • ESPN.com's Jason A. Churchill hears that the Mets are high on Drew Pomeranz and Josh Sale. The Mets' decision could come down to players' asking prices, however.
  • ESPN.com's Keith Law says the Mets could have a shot at Manny Machado, since the clubs picking between Pittsburgh and New York haven't shown clear interest in the high school shortstop.
  • Rival scouts and executives expect the Red Sox and Blue Jays to be big spenders in the draft this year, according to Law.
  • Blue Jays GM Alex Anthopoulos told MLB.com's Jordan Bastian that the Jays will not shy away from tough signs.
  • An MLB executive told Law that catcher Yasmani Grandal is looking for "Buster Posey money." Posey received a $6.2MM bonus from the Giants.
  • If you're wondering who your team might select, check out this mock draft by three Baseball America writers.

Draft Notes: Pirates, Blue Jays, Reds, Harper

Some links from around the majors with less than a week to go before the MLB draft:

  • Pirates' president Frank Coonelly chatted with fans at the team's official site, with most of the questions involving prospects and the team's plans for Monday's draft.
  • MLB.com's Jordan Bastian spoke to Blue Jays' director of amateur scouting Andrew Tinnish about the upcoming draft. Among other things, they discussed what the team's strategy will be with all of their extra picks. The Jays own ten of the first 126 picks.
  • Reds scouting director Chris Buckley told John Fay of the Cincinnati Enquirer that the Reds are considering Christian Colon, Alex Wimmers, Deck McGuire, Gary Brown and Kolbin Vitek.
  • In 2009, the Reds drafted Mike Leake in the first round. One year later, Bob Nightengale of USA Today shows that the 22-year-old is fitting in with older, more experienced teammates and impressing the opposition.
  • Jon Heyman of SI.com hears that Bryce Harper and Scott Boras will seek a record bonus this year. However, Heyman says most people expect the Nationals to sign Harper for more than Mark Teixeira's $9.5MM bonus and less than Stephen Strasburg's $15.1MM bonus (if they draft him, as expected).
  • The Mets won't pick Yasmani Grandal seventh overall, according to Heyman (via Twitter).
  • Heyman has the Mets taking right-hander Matt Harvey in his mock draft.

Odds & Ends: Padres, Chipper, Pagan, Phillies

Links for Thursday, as the Phillies attempt to get their offense going…

2010 Draft Prospect: Yasmani Grandal

Major League Baseball's amateur draft will be held from June 7th-9th, so we're going to introduce you to some of the top players available during the next few weeks. 

Quality catchers are a scarce commodity, even more so when they're young and cheap. There's always a premium placed on the position during the draft, and just last year we saw the Pirates reach for Tony Sanchez with the fourth overall pick even though he was generally considered a back of the first round talent.

The best all-around catcher in the 2010 draft class is Yasmani Grandal, a junior at Miami. ESPN's Keith Law rated him as the 10th best player available this year, while Baseball America had him 13th (subs. req'd for both). MLB.com's Draft Report says the switch hitter offers a "good amount of raw power," though "his individual defensive tools, other than his arm, don't grade out that well." Law maintains that Grandal "can absolutely stay behind the plate," which is obviously important. The MLB.com link also offers video.

Prior to last night's game against Georgia Tech, Grandal was hitting .425/.547/.754 with 20 doubles, 11 homers, 43 walks, and just 27 strikeouts in 47 games. The Red Sox selected him in the 26th round (804th overall) out of a Florida high school in 2007, but they obviously couldn't get him to sign on the dotted line. 

Catchers are almost always over-drafted to a certain degree because of position scarcity, but Grandal is a legitimate top 10-15 talent. Jim Callis of Baseball America had him going to the Mets with the seventh overall pick in his latest mock draft, though the Royals were rumored to be looking at Grandal for their fourth overall pick last month.

Odds & Ends: Smoak, Grandal, Harper, Zambrano

Links for Thursday, as the Pirates try to recover from their worst loss in franchise history

  • Highly regarded Rangers first base prospect Justin Smoak has gotten the call to replace Chris Davis at first base, reports MLB.com's T.R. Sullivan.  The timing of his promotion ensures the Rangers will control Smoak through 2016.  Super two status is likely if Smoak is up for good, meaning he'll go to arbitration four times beginning after the 2012 season.  As for Davis, you have to wonder if a trade is in his future.
  • In a mailbag, MLB.com's Jordan Bastian speculates on when Blue Jays fans can expect to see Adeiny Hechavarria and Brett Wallace arrive in Toronto.
  • In an excellent piece for Yahoo! Sports, Jeff Passan looks at the state of baseball in the Dominican Republic, a topic MLBTR's Nick Collias addressed earlier in the week.
  • Alden Gonzalez of MLB.com reports that Royals minor-league lefty Adam Bostick has been suspended 50 games for a second positive drug test.
  • ESPN's draft coverage team tweets that the Royals are looking at University of Miami catcher Yasmani Grandal for the fourth overall pick in June.  Five days ago ESPN's Keith Law had this to say about Grandal: "He's the top college catcher in the country, can absolutely stay behind the plate, and hits well enough to be an above-average player in the majors."  Click here for a reminder of the full 2010 draft order. 
  • Baseball Prospectus' Kevin Goldstein looks at four question marks about potential #1 pick Bryce Harper.  Harper is not getting good reviews for his makeup.
  • Paul Sullivan of the Chicago Tribune points out that Carlos Zambrano and Lou Piniella don't seem in complete agreement on whether the righty's bullpen move is temporary.