As the draft approaches, we’ll keep tabs on the latest news and rumors right here:
- Top college arm Carlos Rodon is said to be asking for a bonus of over $6MM, reports Scout.com’s Kiley McDaniel (via Twitter). In McDaniel’s view, that makes Brady Aiken a strong favorite to go first overall to the Astros. The top overall slot comes with an approximately $7.9MM allotment, with the second choice landing at just over $6.8MM.
- Sitting at number two, the Marlins “appear to be focusing” on Rodon, reports Jon Heyman of CBSSports.com. Rodon, who was born in Miami and is of Cuban descent, has been widely tied to the second slot in recent mock drafts. The Fish will not hesitate to add power arms due to the recent injury to Jose Fernandez, reports MLB.com’s Joe Frisaro. If we saw a guy who looked like Jose out there again, we’d go right after him,” said VP of scouting Stan Meek. “We want exactly that kind of guy.” Meek said that there was little to take away from Fernandez’s Tommy John procedure, other than the inherent risk in hard throwers: “[W]ith the velocity guys are throwing with today, you just can’t predict who is going to go down.”
- Evansville southpaw Kyle Freeland has “bad” medicals, a scouting director tells McDaniel (Twitter link). That has led some teams sitting late in the first round to decide to pass on Freeland, says McDaniel, who notes that the Rockies could still grab him with the eighth choice (potentially at a cut rate). In the introduction to its most recent mock draft, Baseball America noted that a clean MRI for Freeland has not cleared up concerns with his elbow for all clubs.
- Here are some more general draft sources to read through as you warm up for the evening: In a post that ties together all of his draft materials, McDaniel provides a wealth of information, including the latest on the rumored signability situations of various well-regarded prospects. Ben Nicholson-Smith of Sportsnet.ca cites several industry sources who like the draft’s pitching depth, especially at the high school level, and breaks down the best available players. In a piece for Baseball Prospectus, Kevin Whitaker explores what he calls the “coattail effect”: the tendency of less-touted players to see a bump in their draft stock by playing with higher-rated teammates. Rob Neyer of FOX Sports provides a fascinating oral history of the Cardinals’ productive 2009 draft, including plenty of information from current Astros GM Jeff Luhnow. Dave Cameron of Fangraphs writes that, while the data shows that high school arms are generally riskier than those that have seen time at college, it does not suggest that a prep pitcher should never be taken first overall. Colleague Tony Blengino explains how teams’ draft boards are put together and utilized.