I was out for much of the day today and was following some of the picks on my iPhone, so I wasn’t able to really give detailed thoughts. As you can see from my twitter update, I was a fan of the Singleton and Susac picks. I’m going to give some very brief thoughts on each individual pick, as well as the first half of the draft in general. I hope to hit on a few key points that will be worth monitoring over the next 2+ months and beyond. So lets get started.
Before I get started, thanks to everyone who visited the site today. Today was the busiest day in the history of the site, with 18,206 visits and counting. Thanks again. Now, here we go
* First, a few nuts and bolts comments. The signing deadline this year has been pushed back to August 17th at midnight from August 15th last year. The 17th is a Monday, so it will give teams a weekend to hammer out deals as opposed to a Friday night. All players not signed by the 17th either go to college, return to college, or head to Indy Ball before entering next year’s draft. I’m unsure of the exact procedure for college seniors, but if they have no remaining eligibility, I believe they become free agents. I’ll check more into that as the summer progresses. I also want to briefly explain the slotting system, for those who are new to the draft or who haven’t studied it in depth. Major League Baseball, ie, the Commissioners Office, issues informal recommendations to teams every year with regard to an “appropriate” signing bonus based on where the pick is made. In 2008, the recommendation for the 1st overall pick was $4M. The Rays ended up giving Tim Beckham more than $6M, but the bonus was spread out because he was considered a 2 spot athlete. The recommendation for the 24th pick, Anthony Hewitt, was $1.38M, which is the bonus he received. The bonus for the last pick of the 5th round, #172 overall, was $155,000. The Red Sox took Ryan Westmoreland, a super toolsy OF from Rhode Island, and gave him $2M, the recommendation for the 7th overall pick. Some teams follow these recommendations down to the dollar, some teams blatantly disregard these recommendations year in and year out, and some teams selectively choose to ignore them. As I mentioned, every pick in the first five rounds is given a recommended bonus amount, and the general consensus is that after Round 5, no bonus should exceed $125,000. Many teams will give bonus amounts in the $125K-$175K in Rounds 5-10, but the average is around $100k, College seniors will often times get less ($50,000-85,000 range), and guys going after the 10th round will receive even less.
* The big issue surrounding every team in the draft is how many picks they have, how much money they have to spend on picks, and how many guys they realistically have to sign to fill out their numbers. It seems fairly obvious, but most teams have four full season teams (A, A+, AA, AAA), and at least two short season leagues (short season league, rookie league), while a few teams have three short season affiliates. The short season leagues are going to be filled with guys taken last year who were deemed too raw for a full season team (think Hewitt and Pettibone), guys coming back from injury (think Shreve) and then guys signed in Latin America who are deemed ready for a US league, ie, Domingo Santana. Beyond these guys, you need to fill out the rosters, which is where the new draftees come in. Some teams will have more spots to fill than others, so they will draft more guys in the draft, college seniors, fifth year seniors, with intention of having them make up the numbers. Other teams have more “legit” guys that need AB’s, so they may be more likely to just take flier picks with the intention of not signing those guys. Teams take guys with no intention of signing them for a number of reasons. You may not want a team with really deep pockets taking the guy and then signing him for first round money. You may want to open a relationship with the kid in high school and then re-draft him when hes eligible, kind of like the Phillies did with Worley. Or you might take a flier, hope the kid has a change of heart at the end of the summer, and decides he really wants to play pro ball and is willing to take much less in bonus money. If a guy is committed to a mid tier division 1 program only to see the coach and his staff that recruited him get wiped out, he may be more likely to bail on college and sign. Of course the vast majority of these guys in the flier category end up going to college, but there’s always a chance.
* So that brings us to the Phillies specifically. Last year was an unprecedented (at least since I’ve been following the draft) year for the Phillies in terms of the draft. They spent a ton of money (relative to their previous spending) on adding talent to the system. They had extra picks, and not only did they sign their extra picks, but they signed many of them for above slot deals. Two quick charts. Here is 2007, Rounds 1-10
As you can see, the Phillies went with the slot guidelines on all of their picks in the first 10 rounds, and they saved the $288K by not signing Workman and then saved additional money by taking easy signs in Mach, Brummett, Chapman, Kissock and Rocchio. They spent $390,000 on 12th round pick Julian Sampson and $150,000 on Jiwan James in the 22nd round. Add that up, and you’re at $540,000 on those two above slot deals, minus the estimated $640,000 they “saved” in the first 10 rounds, and they spent less money than you’d expect them to spend on the entire draft class. It was a huge savings, but it still represented a modest draft budget. Take the $3.3M spent on rounds 1-10, add the $540K on the two above slot deals, and you’ve basically got $3.85M. Add in the nominal $5K and $10K deals that some of the later guys probably got, and you’re right around $4M, give or take.
Then look at 2008
The Phillies went with the slot guidelines in the first round, compensation round, and then in the 2nd round, but they went slightly over slot for Knapp, slot for Worley, well over slot for Pettibone and May, slot for Hamilton and well over for Shreve. We “saved” $100K by not signing Coy (a smart decision, based on his demands), and basically paid average money for the trio of Overbeck and the two Rodriguez’s. As in past years, the Phillies got a little creative after the 10th round, giving 27th round pick Chad Poe $100K and more notably giving 38th round pick Jarred Cosart $550K to sign, that amount being the slot recommendation for the 73rd overall pick, so late 2nd round money. So, add that to the $5.85M spent in the first 10 rounds and you’re looking at about $6.5M spent, factoring in the $5-10K non material bonuses given to the later round guys.
So, in 2007 the Phillies had 12 picks in the first 10 rounds, signed 11 of them, spent about $640K less than the slot recommendations, and then made 2 notable signings after the first 10 rounds, adding another $540K to the total spent, bringing them to 13 notable signings and about $3.85M spent. In 2008 they had 13 picks in the first 10 rounds, they signed 12 of them at a cost of $5.85M. They also made two notable signings past the 10th round at a cost of $650K, meaning 14 picks and a cost a of $6.5M total. That means essentially 3 more guys signed and about $2.8M more spent, an average of about $925K per pick when you get down to it. This year, the Phillies had only 8 picks in the first 10 rounds. It was rumored that Major League Baseball had issued a 10% decrease in their slot recommendations this year. That seems arbitrary, but they are selling it as a correlation to the poor economy. So here are the 9 picks the Phillies had this year, # wise, the 2008 slot recommendation for the slot, and that number minus the 10% deflation in the projected bonus
So if the Phillies essentially just went with slot estimates, got their players signed for those numbers, and then followed the last two years and spent about $600K after the first 10 rounds, you’d be looking at about $2.1M spent in this draft. That’s just not going to happen. The last two seasons, they’ve had one player go unsigned in the first 10 rounds. It was Workman in 2007 and Coy in 2008. They’ve taken a number of tough signs in the first 10 rounds this year, and a bunch more later on. In 2007, a cheap draft, they spent $3.3M on the first 11 picks signed, that included $2.2M paid to our first rounder and our compensation rounder. Take those two picks out and you’ve got $1.1M spent in R2-R10. If you remove our 1st and comp picks in 2008, you have $3.45M, but that includes an extra second and a comp in the third. Gose ($772K) and Pettibone ($500K) were the extra picks, so $3.45M minus those two guys brings you to about $2.2M spent on our R2-R10 picks. That should give you an idea of what the Phillies will be expecting to spend here in 2009. Slot expectations would have them spending about $1.6M, they spent about $2.2M in this spot last year, which means maybe an extra $600,000. That assumption means they’d be ignoring the lost first round money, which this year would equate to about $1.2M for the 27th overall pick. If you assume that $1.2M is still part of the draft budget, and the $2.2M from last year’s R2-R10 picks, then our budget for the 9 guys they took is around $3.4M. That should allow them to be a bit creative.
Now that I’ve outlined all of that, lets take a very brief look at who they took
R2 – Kelly Dugan, 1B/OF (Notre Dame HS, CA) – 6’3/205 with a projectable frame, projectable power, and a good arm. If hes an OF, he’s going to be a corner guy, and it seems more likely he ends up at 1B, even though he was announced as an OF. Committed to Pepperdine, but seems eager to play. Slot recommendation is around $500K, but it might take a bit more than that. BA ranked him 76th in CA, unranked in the Top 200.
R3 – Kyrell Hudson, OF (Evergreen HS, WA) – A few here have noted that Hudson is a lot like Anthony Gose, he’s got blistering speed, a great arm, and is a great athlete. Like Gose, scouts also question his hit tool. He’s extremely raw, he’s committed to Oregon State for both baseball and football, and there have been questions about his desire to play baseball. I read a report today that says he wants to play baseball, but its going to take more than the $300K slot recommendation here to keep him away from college. He was ranked 2nd in Washington, 200th overall by BA.
R4 – Adam Buschini, 2B (Cal Poly) – Buschini is a grinder type, he doesn’t have exceptional tools though he can hit and does have some power. His profile sounds a lot like Tyler Mach’s from 2 years ago, so I guess I can only say I hope this turns out better. He was ranked 65th in CA, unranked in the Top 200 by BA. He redshirted in 2008, which would have been his junior year, so he’s a senior but has a year of eligibility left, I believe. I expect he’ll actually sign for below slot here, which is around $200K.
R5 – Matt Way, LHP (Washington State) – Way is a pitchability lefthander in the JA Happ/Matt Maloney mold, but he sounds a bit more like Maloney. His delivery is fairly simple, he kind of pushes the ball toward the plate but that might create some deception for him. He’s a senior, so again, this is a pick to save money. The slot here is around $150K, the last round which MLB makes recommendations for. BA had him 4th in WA, unranked in the Top 200.
R6 – Stephen Inch, RHP (Vauxhall Academy, Canada) – Inch was a late riser in a weak Canadian crop this year. He’s a typical Phillies target, tall and a thin frame, lots of projection here. His fastball is short at the present time, mid-upper 80′s, but he has a clean delivery and good makeup. He’s committed to Kentucky, which has a decent track record at holding their recruits, including 2008 draft pick James Paxton, who was one of the better prospects to come out of Canada in recent years. BA had Inch ranked 2nd in Canada in what they noted was a very weak crop.
R7 – Brody Colvin, RHP (St Thomas Moore HS, LA) – Now we’re talking. Colvin has a lightning fast arm and a very projectable frame. He’s already got present low 90′s heat and could sit in the 93-95 range when he’s done maturing physically. He’s also got a sharp curve and the apparent aptitude to develop a changeup as well. His delivery needs a few tweaks, but he’s kind of similar in his total package to what Kyle Drabek was out of high school. Colvin is a major signability pick, as he has a very strong commitment to LSU. If the Phillies are buying him out of that, its likely going to take 7 figures. BA had him ranked 3rd in Louisiana and 43rd overall.
R8 – Jonathan Singleton, 1B (Millikan HS, CA) – I listed Singleton before the start of the day as I guy I’d be intrigued by, and sure enough, the Phillies grabbed him in the 8th round. As I mentioned before, he’s got a good solid frame and great raw power, but his swing has a few hitches that have to be ironed out. He’s committed to Long Beach State, so again it comes down to signability here and what the number will be. He was ranked 38th in CA and 196th overall by BA.
R9 – Aaron Altherr, OF (Agua Fria HS, AZ) – Stop me if you’ve heard this before. Altherr is a spectacular athlete who is extremely raw and hasn’t spent a lot of time playing baseball. And he’s an outfielder. So yeah, you can see the logic behind this pick. He’s committed to Arizona, which I’d say is a safe bet here. BA had him 19th in AZ, unranked in the Top 200.
R10 – Josh Zied, RHP (Tulane) – I couldn’t find any info on him, but I was able to watch his scouting video. Despite being tall (6’4), he doesn’t throw hard and seems to kind of sling the ball toward the plate. His delivery creates some movement on his fastball, but I didn’t see much here that impressed me. Unlike the relievers taken last year (Schwimer, Rosenberg) who had one dominant attribute and a bunch of other issues that depressed their stock, I don’t see anything here in Zied like that. But it may be old video and there may be something more. More likely, since he’s a senior, he’ll sign for a song and fill out a roster somewhere. BA had him 8th in LA, unranked in the Top 200.
So just to pause here and do a quick recap of 2-10. Dugan and Hudson both might sign, but will command more than slot. Buschini, Way, and Zied are senior signs and will come very cheap. Inch and Altherr seem like great bets to attend college. Colvin is going to cost them near 1st round money, and Singleton will probably require 2nd/3rd round money to sign. I’m gonna move through the rest of today’s picks a bit quicker and just highlight a few guys I’m especially intrigued by.
R11 – Jeremy Barnes, SS (Notre Dame) – Barnes is a utility guy at the next level, and as a senior he should sign quickly. BA had him 8th in Indiana.
R12 – Nicholas Hernandez, LHP (Tennessee) – Hernandez was good on the Cape last year but struggled this year at Tennessee. He’s a fastball/changeup guy with modest velocity. Guys who succeed in wood bat leagues (Cape Cod League) and struggle when heading back to school don’t seem to be that uncommon. He’s shown some ability, so who knows. He’s a junior, so he has some leverage. BA had him at #9 in TN.
R13 – Ryan Sasaki, LHP (Connally HS, TX) – I have nothing on him at all. BA doesn’t list him among their 110 guys in Texas. Any info here would be appreciated.
R14 – Jacob Stewart, OF (Rocky Mountain HS, CO) – Ahh, Jacob Stewart. I posted a little note from Keith Law where he said the Phillies were one of the teams that heavily scouted Stewart, and they were considering him with their 2nd round pick. My guess is they got a dollar amount and realized it wasn’t happening there, so they passed and just took a flier on him later. He’s one of the best athletes in the draft but scouts have big questions about his hit tool, which is a central theme among Phillies draft picks. He’s committed to Stanford, Ruben Amaro’s alma mater and is likely a tough sign. I’d say it would probably take at least 2nd round money to buy him out of college. He was ranked the top prospect in Colorado and 74th overall in the country.
R15 – Austin Hyatt, RHP (Alabama) – Hyatt is similar to Hernandez, he’s a fastball/changeup guy and is a 5th year senior, so he’ll sign for a small sum. BA ranked him 16th in AL.
R16 – Andrew Susac, C (Jesuit HS, CA) – I don’t know what it is, but I like Susac a lot and was excited to see them grab him, even if he’s not really signable. He’s one of the best defensive catchers in the draft but his bat needs work. He’s got a commitment to Oregon State, which seems pretty likely, but he’ll be an interesting guy to follow in college for the next 3 years. If his bat develops, he’s a 1st/2nd round pick. Was ranked 24th in CA and 112th overall.
R17 – Michael Dabbs, OF (Oklahoma State) – I know nothing about Dabbs, is a senior out of Oklahoma State, so likely just filling out numbers, which is odd because he’s an OF, and the Phillies have like 300 OF in their system. BA had him 28th in OK.
R18 – Roy Uhl, OF (UC Riverside) – Uhl is also a senior, and also an outfielder, and again I know nothing about him. He’s undersized (5’8/170) and its hard to see where he fits in.
R19 – Stephen Batts, 1B (East Carolina) – Batts, another senior, is a left fielder with a decent stick, maybe kind of similar to Steve Susdorf last year. He’s just here to fill out the numbers. BA had him 38th in NC.
R20 – Darin Ruff, 1B (Creighton) – Ruf makes 4 seniors in a row, and I have no info on him. BA had him ranked 7th in Nebraska, but had nothing written on him.
R21 – Chase Johnson, RHP (Deer Valley, AZ) – Johnson is a JuCo guy with a big frame (6’4, 230) and good arm strength, but not a lot else. He’s got a bit of funk in his delivery which could create some deception. He’s in his second year of JuCo I believe, and I don’t know of a commitment to a D1 program. BA had him at #36 in Arizona
R22 – Kyle “Bronco” Lafrenz, RHP (Indiana State) – No info on him. But he goes by Bronco apparently. So there’s that, and he’s a senior, so nothing to really worry about. He was ranked #24 in Indiana.
R23 – Evan Porter, SS (Nebraska) – Porter was the 10th ranked out of 10 guys BA covered for Nebraska, and they wrote nothing about him. So I won’t either.
R24 – Justin Long, RHP (Bellevue, NE) – Long’s writeup sounds intriguing. Modest fastball, but a good slider/cutter combo and a good competitor. He’s a senior, like most of our picks. BA had him 4th in Nebraska. Apparently they owed favors to their crosschecker in charge of Nebraska, since they took 3 of the 10 guys BA even mentioned.
R25 – Eric Massingham, RHP (Cal Poly) – Another senior, another guy I know nothing about. Not ranked in CA.
R26 – Brian Gump, OF (UC Santa Barbara) – Gump makes 9 out of 10 picks being college seniors in a row. He’s got speed, and that looks like its about it. BA had him 97th in CA.
R27 – Marlon Mitchell, C (Hillsborough HS, FL) – Don’t have any info on him, but judging from his scouting video, he doesn’t quite have a cannon for an arm. But I don’t have anything here, BA didn’t rank him in FL.
R28 – Justin Beal, RHP (Missouri Southern State) – Another senior, another guy I have nothing on. Sorry
R29 – Mark Doll, RHP (Southern Polytechnic State) – See Beal, Justin.
R30 – Stephen Kohlscheen, RHP (Cowley County, KS) – Kohlscheen was the top JuCo guy in Kansas, 4th overall in the state. His dad is a Midwest crosschecker for the Phillies, so that explains it to a degree. He’s really tall (6’7), so if the Phillies think they can unlock more velocity, its not a bad shout.
What’s weird is, they took lots of uninteresting senior signs here in the 11-30 range. Susac and Stewart are really the only interesting guys here (from my point of view), which kind of makes me wonder what the plan is for tomorrow. Maybe they are planning on popping a whole lot of high school guys in their last 20 picks and knew they’d have time to make some phone calls tonight after they saw what happened in rounds 4-30. They’ve got a lot of projects in our 2-10, and then they’ve got 2 interesting guys after that. We’ll see what happens tomorrow.