I think at this writing its safe to assume there are no more announcements coming. The Phillies big move of the day was, as previously discussed, signing RHP Brody Colvin, the team’s 7th round pick, and this turned out to be the only move of the day. The Phillies ended up signing 34 of their 49 picks, and based on the calculations I discussed earlier, they spent about $2.745M on their reported bonuses. Colvin’s bonus, $900K, was the largest bonus the team gave out, and was one of the more sizable bonuses given by any team after the 5th round. Check below for more…
As I documented earlier, the Phillies spent about $3.6M in 2007, about $6.5M in 2008, and now about $2.75M in 2009. One of the big storylines going into this draft was going to be how the Phillies would approach the draft under Amaro, as most of the draft figureheads (sans Arbuckle) were still in the fold. The Phillies seemed to continue the trend of targeting raw athletes and mixing that in with college seniors who could step in and help fill the organizational depth charts. They targeted pure athletes and projectable pitchers, and things basically played out in similar fashion. Last year represented an extremely aggressive draft in terms of dollars spent and players targeted, this year they appeared to back off a bit, but at first glance, this draft is better than the 2007 draft was. I say this when thinking about how I felt the day after the signing deadline in 2007, as to how I felt at this time last year, and how I feel today. Last year we got the big Cosart surprise, this year we got the Colvin signing, which to be honest, didn’t look all that promising earlier today. The Phillies didn’t really go “cheap” in the first 10 rounds this year. Dugan and Buschini basically signed for slot, Hudson signed for $475K, which was $175K more than the recommended bonus. Way was a big under slot deal, saving the team about $115K, but they immediately gave it back with the Inch pick, signing him for $300K, double the recommended slot and 3 times more than your “average” 6th-10th round pick is normally going to receive. Colvin’s $900K bonus was 6 times the max recommendation of $150K after the 5th round, Singleton got $50K more than the max recommendation, and Altherr signed for the number exactly, both bonuses were more than the $100K estimated average. Zeid, a senior sign, came very cheaply in the 10th round, but that’s hardly a misstep considering everything else.
This draft class, as a whole, wasn’t very deep. My gut reaction to the first set of guys (Dugan, Hudson, Buschini and Way) was muted at best. I warmed up to them slightly, but I still think more could have been done here. I loved the Colvin pick at the time, I love it just as much now, and he’s obviously the centerpiece of this draft right now. Singleton has hit well in the GCL, that looks promising. Inch, well, he’s going to be a project, so give him time. And really give all of these guys at least a year before you jump to conclusions one way or the other. Almost everyone hated the Hewitt pick last year, and so far, you can kind of see why people were down on the pick. But even he’s got plenty of time to figure it out. The Phillies ended up with 6 high school guys in their first 9 picks. With prepsters, you really don’t know. Look at Trevor May from last year. I was more excited about May than just about anyone else, his signing didn’t get a ton of publicity or excite a lot of folks, but he’s tearing up Lakewood and looks worth the investment.
My takeaway from this draft is pretty simple. The Phillies aren’t going to just draft college seniors anymore and spend nothing on the draft. They’re going to continue to draft premium athletes and focus on guys who are big projects going forward. And they’re likely going to bust slot selectively, grab the guys they like, try and work out deals with others, and if they can get guys for a reasonable return, they’ll spend the money. They won’t emulate the Red Sox, Yankees and Tigers by completely dominating a draft and grabbing 6 or 7 elite talents, but that doesn’t mean they won’t be successful.
I’m planning on writing a longer piece focusing on the value of draft picks, why bonuses are merited for “unproven amateurs”, and why the decisions on these concepts are really much more difficult than people make it seem. Today (the 17th) was the busiest day in the site’s history, cracking 25,000 hits for the first time ever. Thank you to everyone who found this place for the first time, I hope you’ll come back. Thanks also to the regulars for continuing to come back, and thanks to those of you who tracked down info and posted articles/tidbits as they became available.
I was thinking about one more thing too. I’ve read a lot of stuff recently in a lot of places bashing Scott Boras. I’d just like to say, I think that’s completely misguided. Boras has one job; get the best deal for his client. Amateur players use agents as “advisors” until they officially turn pro, then the advisor becomes the agent. At the end of the day, the person being advised can simply choose to do what he wants. In the case of Strasburg, if it was 11:57 (and this is all just hypotheticals) and Boras was still saying that he wanted $20M, and the Nats said the final offer is $15.5M, Scott Boras can’t stop Strasburg from taking that deal. If you look at his client list, you see a lot of really well paid athletes. The Boras haters will scream “look at Matt Harrington!”, and they have a point, until you realize that Matt Harrington is an adult, and he could have easily canned Boras and signed the first time he was drafted, the second time, or the third time. He didn’t sign, and that’s ultimately his call. If I was a pro baseball player with elite ability, I’d take Boras as my advisor from Day One. When it came time to make a decision, I’d take his advice on one hand, look at my offer on the other hand, and then make my decision. But just as you wouldn’t enter a gun fight with a knife, you’d be doing yourself a disservice by not trying to have the best representation possible. Boras represents the players’ interest in this game of cat and mouse. I’m more likely to side with the players than cloak and dagger ownership groups, ownership groups that have a legal monopoly which has basically allowed them to print money over the last 10-15 years.
Anyway, that was just something else I wanted to comment on. Discuss the Phillies 2009 draft here. I already can’t wait for the 2010 draft.