The NCAA has voted to allow high school players to use an agent when negotiating with major league teams, writes Teddy Cahill of Baseball America. Previously, the use of an agent could qualify a player as a professional and invalidate his NCAA eligibility or result in a suspension. For now, the rule applies to five major conferences. Other D-I conferences have the option to opt in. As you may expect, high school players must end their relationship with the agent if they opt to attend college. A few more conditions apply.
The previous rule that banned player-agent relationships was most recently in the news in early 2014 when the Phillies accused fifth-round pick Ben Wetzler of using an agent. Wetzler did not sign with the Phillies and was subsequently banned for 20 percent of his senior season. While the new rule will help high school players in a similar situation, it would not have saved Wetzler. Drafted college juniors are still disallowed from using an agent.
- Shortstop Delvin Perez is the best prospect in Puerto Rico and a legitimate option as the top player in the draft, writes Keith Law of ESPN. The 17-year-old headlines a group of several top Puerto Rican prospect. Law cites 70 grade speed on the 20-80 scouting scale to go with a plus arm, hands, and raw power. He should eventually hit for average too, although he currently has trouble with offspeed stuff. Astros shortstop Carlos Correa is the most recent 17-year-old top prospect out of Puerto Rico. Perez is a faster player with better defensive ability, but he lacks Correa’s polish. Instead, Law compares him to Byron Buxton and Justin Upton, both of whom were considered raw, elite talents when drafted. For those keeping track at home, the Phillies hold the first overall pick.
- Law also has notes on other notable Puerto Ricans. Of those he profiled, he seems most enamored with Jose Miranda, citing great bat speed, some power, and a need for more polish. He’s currently a shortstop with a chance to stick at the position, but Law sees him as a better fit for second or third base.
- Since 2012, the Astros have the best minor league winning percentage, writes J.J. Cooper of Baseball America. Incidentally, that window corresponds with GM Jeff Luhnow’s tenure. The club does well to reward its minor league affiliates, including rings and big team dinners when they win a championship. First base prospect Tyler White offers an interesting anecdote – he’s won a championship in High-A, Double-A, and Triple-A over the last three seasons. The winning culture not only means the club has a talented bunch of minor leaguers, it’s also good for player development.