- Infielder Nolan Jones has signed a $2.25MM deal with the Indians, Matt Mullin of the Philly Voice reports. He was taken with the 55th overall selection, which comes with a $1,159,200 bonus allocation; clearly, it took something extra to draw the high-schooler from his commitment to the University of Virginia. Jones rated as a top-twenty prospect on all of the draft boards linked to above, with the ESPN.com team placing him highest at No. 11. The consensus is that he’ll move to the third or second as a pro, with a good enough glove to be a useful fielder. The real draw, though, is a well-rounded offensive arsenal that includes projectable power.
- The Nationals have agreed with compensation first-rounder Dane Dunning on a just-under-slot $2MM bonus, MLB.com’s Jim Callis tweets. That’s just $34,600 shy of the allocation for the 29th selection. Dunning landed outside of the top fifty on both the BA and MLB.com boards, but checked in at No. 25 on ESPN.com’s version. They credit the University of Florida righty with the potential to start despite spending his time in the pen on a crowded staff. He’ll need to polish his change to accompany a strong fastball-slider combination to reach his upside, though.
- Fellow Gator Buddy Reed is heading to the Padres for an as-yet-unreported bonus, Callis tweets. Taken with the 48th pick, which came with a $1,317,800 allocation, Reed was further down the ESPN.com list but landed in the low-thirties for both MLB.com and Baseball America. Reed is said to be an excellent athlete, with questions remaining about his hitting ability at the next level.
MLBTR continues its Draft Prospect Q&A series in order to give our readers a look at some of the top names on the board in this year’s draft. MLBTR will be chatting with some of the draft’s most well-regarded prospects as they prepare for the 2016 draft on June 9-11; we’ve already spoken with prep outfielder Blake Rutherford, Mercer’s Kyle Lewis, Oklahoma’s Alec Hansen and Louisville’s Corey Ray.
Center fielder Buddy Reed is one of the more intriguing names in this year’s draft. The 6’4”, 207-pound University of Florida junior ranks as one of the top all-around players in college thanks to his speed and defensive ability, but the big question is how teams look at the switch-hitter’s bat.
Reed grew up just outside of Baltimore, where he was a well-regarded hockey player. He went to boarding school nearly seven hours from home at St. George’s School in Middletown, R.I. – a tiny school with a vast array of recognizable alums (the Bush family, the Vanderbilts, as well as many politicians and journalists). Reed went there on a hockey scholarship, where his coach was former Washington Capitals center Ryan Mulhern.
Reed, a 35th-round selection of the Texas Rangers in the 2013 draft, figures to be selected considerably higher this time around. Last week, Baseball America listed him No. 21 on its Top 100 Draft Prospects chart, and he’s currently 16th on the Top 100 at MLB.com. He leads Florida in runs scored (41) and stolen bases (22-for-24), including a straight steal of home April 22 against Georgia.
Reed and his No. 1-ranked Gators squad have a big SEC showdown series this weekend against No. 7 Vanderbilt. He talked with MLBTR earlier this week:
Chuck Wasserstrom: Hi Buddy, thanks for taking the time to talk with me. I’ll start out by saying there haven’t been a whole lot of Buddy Reed stories out there, but it looks like you have a pretty fascinating background. I’m going to start off with a couple baseball questions, then get into your story. There are some talented college outfielders out there right now. What makes you different?
Buddy Reed: “I haven’t been playing baseball as long or as seriously as other people in the SEC and other conferences around the country.”
I want to hear about Buddy Reed the player. Describe your game for me. I don’t want a scouting report that I can read on the internet. I want to hear you tell me about your game.
“I would describe myself as a streaky guy. I’m a tall guy who can bunt. I can get on base. I can steal second, third, and even home. I’m a threat on the base paths. I’m a threat from the outfield with my arm and my speed; I can track down a lot of balls. And I can hit.”
[Full interview after the page break]
Earlier today it was reported that the Braves are expected to make a push for much-ballyhooed Cuban prospect Lazaro Armenteros (aka “Lazarito“), though it’s worth noting that they’d need to convince Armenteros to wait to sign until after July 2 (otherwise, their previously reported plan of shattering their international signing pool in the 2016-17 period would go out the window due to penalties from Armenteros’ bonus). As Braves fans ponder the chances of seeing their favorite club land Lazarito, here are few more items pertaining to Atlanta…
- The Braves “worked hard” to try to find a way to acquire infield prospect Isan Diaz from the Diamondbacks prior to his inclusion in the trade that allowed the D-backs to shed much of Aaron Hill’s salary, tweets MLB Network’s Peter Gammons. Per Gammons, the Braves appeared to have a similar idea to the Brewers (who acquired Diaz, Chase Anderson and much of Aaron Hill’s contract in exchange for Jean Segura and Tyler Wagner). Gammons notes that the Braves were trying to “alleviate [the] D-backs’ cash issues,” but a deal was never reached.
- Mark Bradley of the Atlanta Journal-Constitution spoke to GM John Coppolella about the team’s rebuild and the differences between the trades he and president of baseball ops John Hart have made this winter and the ones the pair made last offseason. “In a lot of the trades we made in the 2014-2015 offseason, the players were a lot further away,” said Coppolella in reference to trades that netted the likes of Mallex Smith, Max Fried, Tyrell Jenkins, Rio Ruiz and others (although names like Shelby Miller and Mike Foltynewicz did represent MLB-ready options acquired last winter). “With [with the Miller and Andrelton Simmons trades], you really got six players you could see (in Atlanta) in 2016. A lot of the deals we made last year … were more to restart the system than have major-league impact in the short term.” Atlanta landed Major Leaguers Ender Inciarte and Erick Aybar in those trades as well as near-ready prospects Sean Newcomb, Chris Ellis, Aaron Blair and Dansby Swanson.
- Coppolella and scouting director Brian Bridges met with draft hopefuls A.J. Puk (LHP) and Buddy Reed (OF) recently, reports Scout.com’s Bill Shanks. Either Florida Gators star could be a candidate for the Braves’ top pick, per Shanks, though as he notes, Coppolella recently stated that the team’s preference would be to draft a hitter.
- In his latest Braves Inbox column, MLB.com’s Mark Bowman notes that while the jury is out on the Hector Olivera trade, it’s fair to wonder whether Olivera’s stock can recover from the hit it took with shaky performances in the Majors and in the Puerto Rican Winter League. Bowman also fields a question on left-hander Mike Minor, replying by saying that Minor’s “days of pitching for Atlanta appear to be over, at least for now.” Minor is still recovering from his shoulder surgery, Bowman writes, adding that it sounds like Minor could sign with a new club within the next month.