Draft Signing Day/Draft Critique/Open Thread

Wanted to open up a thread to talk about the draft, as the signing deadline is just about 24 hours away – 5pm EST on Friday. My impression is that the Phils had a decent draft, with their top four picks being pretty intriguing, but lacking the upside that gets one excited about a draft. If three of the four turn into serviceable big league regulars, the draft will be a success, so it’s very hard to judge at this point. Here’s the draft tracker:

Draft Tracker 2014

Aaron Nola may see Reading yet this year, and may see Philly next summer. He seems like he’ll be a solid player, and one who could be hitting his stride in the big leagues the next time this club has any semblance of a chance to contend. Matt Imhof just got bumped up to Lakewood, and should start 2015 at Clearwater. His profile is a fast riser who might take the Adam Morgan career path if he has success, (hopefully without the injuries, of course). I’d peg his big league ETA as between mid-2016 and early 2017, but if he’s good next year, he might just contend for a rotation spot in spring training, 2016.

Aaron Brown has been pretty good for Williamsport, and I’d be surprised if he didn’t start 2015 in Clearwater, maybe as part of a five man rotation where three corner guys try their hand at first base a couple times a week and Brown or Tocci plays left or right most every day. And Chris Oliver, off-field problems aside, could turn out to be a steal in the fourth round. He could have been a 2nd to third rounder if not for a DUI not long before the draft.

I like Emmanuel Marrero. He could be a fast rising utility type if he hits a little. Damek Tomscha was crushing the ball in GCL for a little while, but he’s cooled. He could be a Lakewood candidate who never sees WIL, especially if they don’t promote Jan Hernandez because he needs too much work on his bat. Austin Davis apparently signed for just $100k, which is a little surprising. (note – I struck a comment about Scott Tommasetti – turns out he is not a high schooler, rather a junior from UNLV. Wherever I grabbed his bio info had him as a high schooler. Not cool, place that I grabbed that from). Jim Callis told me on Twitter that he “knew of” no 11-40th rounders who signed for above $100k. My quotes highlight his wiggle room.

So if none of the late round guys that signed are over $100k, it leaves the Phils with ~$111k to work with, plus the standard $100k per man, before paying the penalty. Add in the penalty number, and you have over $450k+$100k. Does $550k buy Murray out of his strong college commitment? I doubt it. Gamble? Doubt it. My take is you might see one or two of the lower-profile guys at $150k or so, or one of them around $200k. I don’t have a guess.

If they somehow manage to land Murray or Gamble, it would certainly bump up my opinion on what was otherwise a pretty pedestrian draft. Lots of college guys, hardly any prep guys. They did manage to sign their first 21 picks, which is better than they’ve done for a while. Ben Wetzler may be behind them, though I wonder how much they scouted Michael Conforto. He should have been in their sites as a college guy who could move quickly up the ranks, but OSU had said the Phils scouts weren’t invited into their facilities. Luckily, Nola seemed to be the guy they really wanted. Would be nice to be allowed into OSU, though. Hate to lose a pipeline to that kind of talent, especially in a region the Phils have seemed to work well in the recent past.

53 thoughts on “Draft Signing Day/Draft Critique/Open Thread

  1. It does seem like a decent draft. I like Marrero too; it’s nice to see a glove first prospect have some success at the plate.

    Of the unsigned guys it seemed like they had a shot with, Wiggins was the most interesting to me.

  2. I was fairly pleased with the way the draft went. They probably played it a little too safe and took one too many college kids this year. However, with the shape of the big league club and farm system they needed to get some talent that they could rely on getting to the big leagues. I would like to see them mix in some more high school kids in the next few years. Finding a good balance between safe picks and high upside toolsy guys is important. Hopefully they can make their farm system a strength of their organization so they can take a few more risks come draft day. I am really hoping they can add some prospects at the deadline or by trading lee in august. I would love for them to pry Pederson from LA. Would the combination of Hamels and Papelbon with a bag of cash get a deal including Pederson done? I am not so sure it does, but it is an interesting scenario. The rays have such a high asking price of david price that hamels may be a backup plan for some teams. While hamels contract isn’t great I would assume that trying to lock up price will cost a lot more than what hamels is making the next 4 years or so.

    1. Hey everyone, I moved the general discussion stuff to the trash. no offense. if i could move it to general discussion, i would. I’m going to open you all a second weekly general discussion thread right now.

  3. I know that he is considered a soft tosser, but Brandon Leibrandt is a guy that I always think about in this draft. Throws 86-90, is considered to have an above average changeup and a nice breaking ball. Tonight is a good example in his Williamsport debut. 6.0IP 3H 1R 1ER 1BB 7K

    1. This is from @IanCatherine27, one of Williamsport’s great beat writers: “I really liked his fastball. Thought the location was good with good velo. Worked well down and in as well. Very aggressive. The motion looked to stay consistent. I think the FB was the pitch they wanted to focus on tonight. The change looked good.”

      No radar gun readings, but I like the early reviews.

  4. Via this assessment, it does look like this team is in no position to retain Hamels with their being so empty of good prospects; the need to fill OF positions and the starting pitcher staff. only by trading Hamels could they get back people like Pederson , plus.

    Take a good hard look at the Cubs. They are stacked with seemingly awesome prospects who are not far away from the Bigs. We can remember that it was 2-3 years ago that they went heavily in signing several highly rated Latin Free Agents at a high cost. The dividends will arrive in the next year or two. We can expect the Cubs to be perennial post-season contenders into the late teens.

    The Phillies, were it not for management clinging to “guidelines” of the MLB franchise, could now take the same route so as to provide a viable MLB future before fans lose their patience and stiff baseball as a “no thanks” attraction in town.

    The other out for wee fans is to promote the sale of the franchise to a group that isn’t afraid to spend in a manner similar to Cub’s example.

    Otherwise, we are in for a long, extended time before we see any kind of change from the present superb mediocrity. Would you continue to go to their games to watch such crap?

    The owners are their own worst enemies…and ours, too.

    1. Cubs are very thin in young pitching and their top pitchung prospect is on the DL. Not a great example to use.

  5. Today is a big day. Hopefully, Phils can sign a couple of these HS guys. If they don’t get Murray, I hope they can sign Wiggins. They were the 2 that kinda stood out to me out of that group. After that I think we got a bunch of players like Biter and Golden. Guys who may still develop but really weren’t really highly regarded coming out of HS. Not that I wouldn’t wanna take a shot with them but they seem to be a step down.

  6. Let’s just be happy that we are talking about potentially signing a 20-something round pick, and not the overall #1 pick. If I were an Astros fan, today would be a tense day.

    1. There pick is refunded next year, so they lose essentially nothing. If you’re going to fail to sign a draft pick, make it one in the first three rounds.

      1. The move down to #2 overall, which ain’t nothing. Also, the way this all shook out, there might be trouble for them from the league if Aiken is not signed and the league feels the club did not act in good faith, though I doubt it would result in forfeiting a pick.

        1. And if the league determines that the Astros didn’t act in good faith (which they clearly aren’t) they could make Aiken a Free Agent.

          1. Possible. Travis Lee was brought up the other day as an example of a guy who was declared a FA after the draft. I forget his story, though. Have to look it up.

            1. I think that there were 2, maybe 3 guys in that class that were declared Free Agents. Lee got $10 million, and that was what, 15 years ago? Aiken easily gets double that today.

            2. 1996
              Loophole Forever Changes The Draft: Four players were declared free agents because they did not receive contract within 15 days of being drafted. All received huge contracts: Travis Lee ($10.2 million, Phillies), Matt White ($10 million Devil Rays), John Patterson ($6.075 million Diamondbacks), Bobby Seay ($3 million, Devil Rays). The rule was later amended to allow clubs 15 days to send out a contract after they are notified of a rule violation, but the large contracts provided ammunition to agents in subsequent years and caused signing bonuses to skyrocket

        1. and they would also lose Jacob Nix, their 5th round pick, who apparently has a $1.5MM agreement to sign with the Astros, This deal requires Aiken to sign, and sign under the $7.xMM slot to free up the money to sign him. The Astros also are (supposedly) trying to sign Mac Marshall, another highly touted arm, who also is said to be looking for $1.5MM (perhaps the reason the Astros are trying to ‘shortchange’ Aiken, if you believe in conspiracy theories).

          So, at stake are Keith Law’s #1 2014 draft prospect (Aiken), #47 (Marshall), and #87 (Nix). So, I would not classify this as ‘nothing’.

          Now – here would be in interesting scenario. Let’s say a team has pick #1 (or top 3 for that matter), and the top talent is perceived to be less than most years. Say there are perceived studs the next year (say like a Harper or Strasburg, etc). With the current system, any chance that a team does not make a real effort to sign an early #1 pick, just to know that they will get a super-stud the next year?

          1. I don’t see a team doing that. If there’s a special player in the draft he’ll go 1 overall. The best a team can do is pick 2 the next year. The guy that everyone seems to be excited about next yr is Dez Cameron. I’ve read that some scouts say he’s the best prospect to come in to draft since Harper. It I’d an interesting scenerio but I don’t see a team doing that on purpose.

          2. MLB would have to severely punish Houston if that were the case. They’re not acting in good faith with either Nix or Marshall – especially Marshall who they had announced a deal with only to say “whoops, not so fast. We’ve royally screwed up our Aiken negotiations so now your deal is on hold”.

            You have to offer a certain percentage of the slot to that pick (40%??). So what happens if you make that qualifying offer and the player in question accepts it? Now you’ve got your player at a low cost, but not the extra pick in the following year’s first round.

            You’re better off just being the Astros and sending out a Double A team every night and guaranteeing yourself the first pick for half a decade straight.

            1. It depends on whether there is any medical doubt about his arm. If there is, how is this any different than the Phillies severely slashing MAG’s bonus.

            2. First of all – there’s no injury. They’ve no voiced “concern” over the elbow’s ability to hold up long term. Well that’s the price of doing business when drafting a pitcher. And do you really think that the instant he was declared a FA he wouldn’t be signed by someone for $20 million?

              Second, they’ve “agreed” to deals with other draft picks that they’re now reneging on due to the Aiken negotiations. In no way could the Astros defend this as “negotiating in good faith” with their other draft picks. They should absolutely be taken to task by the league for this.

          3. Also, if you are Aiken, do you take a risk and hope that if you do not sign, you go to court, get ruled a free agent, and then have the open market bidding on your talents? Who knows what he would get, but I saw a series of tweets by ‘baseball people’ that were consistently in the 10-20MM range.


            There is some high-stakes negotiating going on.

            1. There’s no way MLB can let that happen. If he doesn’t sign for slot, he absolutely sues and they can’t let the courts get involved with the draft b/c there’s no way that a draft is legal. The repercussions of the suit could/ would be enormous.

            2. How interesting would it be if MLB allowed teams to trade Rule 4 draft picks like every other professional sport?.

      2. How can you say the Astros lost nothing? Their reputation has been damaged even more than the Phillies debacle with Wetzler. They also lost three years of player development because of their not signing Aiken, Nix and another.

  7. Was an OK draft. Nola seems to be doing what he should though I certainly wouldn’t say hes be dominant so mar. I’d let him stay in Clearwater and try to dominate for the rest of the season. Imhof has been very good. Oliver has been pretty disappointing so far. Frankly, I am a little disappointed in Aaron Brown too. His walk rate has been atrocious. Marrero has been a pleasant surprise and Hoskins has been bouncing back from the slow start. Good starts from Campbell (though again an atrocious walk rate) and Tomscha. I saw your twitter inquiry to Callis. Good job. I had been wondering the same thing. That being said, I don’t expect to sign anyone today let alone go into the penalty tax range.

  8. Solid draft. Nothing spectacular but it doesn’t have the bust potential some of the other drafts have had. And that’s not a bad thing. The farm has been lacking in depth and they filled a lot of that depth with this draft.

    1. I think that’s true. Nola, barring injury, seems to be at least a solid #3 starter, which makes him at least a tad better than MLB average starting pitcher. Imhoff, with the same injury caveat a very high probability #4. Oliver looks to be a solid future reliever, maybe a #4 starter. I’m not as sold on the earliest round position players.

      1. Agreed on position players. Brown has some patience issues that could expose him at the plate. Hoskins hasn’t set the world on fire thus far, though it’s very early to judge these guys on performance.

      2. isn’t a solid draft a heck of a lot better than the Hewitt, Collier ones? I will take solid over horrid.

            1. Five guys from 2008 were big pieces in trade. That value alone means that yes, from the Phillies’ perspective, it was a huge success. That’s true even ignoring a couple guys either still with the organization or who contributed before they left the organization.

              Now, most of the guys traded have been disappointments (so far, at least) with their new teams. So, while the jury is still out, from a “career value produced” perspective it may turn out to be a medicore draft. Though not a BAD one. If Cosart and May end up having solid plus careers, then it will have been a huge success even from this perspective.

            2. Hewitt was a total mistake and obvious one. Collier less obvious but still a bust. However, Gose, Worley, Pettibone, Stutes, Schwimer, Cloyd, Rosenberg and Cosart have all made at least a token Major League appearance which is way way above average. Gose was part of Oswalt Trade. Knapp was a key piece in getting Cliff Lee. Cosart obviously was part of Pence trade. Worley and May given away for awful Revere.

        1. It is so funny how misinformed people are. The 2008 draft was one of the greatest in Phillies history. 9 players made the majors. Amazing.

      3. Allentown I am really stump. how in gods name can you say olivers looks to be a solid future reliever, oh you mean another aumont, sorry wasn’t thinking.

    1. Guy is in classes already per his Twitter, so I doubt it. Though offer me a couple hundred K and I’ll promise never to educate myself about anything ever again, so it could happen.

      1. Yeah. Didnt they sign B. Colvin like that? He was at orientation for college classes and signed with Phils at last minute. Granted it didn’t work out but it can happen.

  9. Well, doesn’t look like anything happened with Phils. A little dissapointed we couldn’t get a couple of the lesser guys if we couldn’t sign Murray or Wiggins.

      1. True but most of that stuff is reported by guys like Callis and Law. They seem pretty on top of that stuff. I remember last yr when Keyes signed we knew by the deadline.

        1. Yeah, and Biter we heard about on social media the following morning, before anyone else had it. I’ll be checking in on a couple of the draftees twitter today to be sure.

  10. I am disappointed that there appear to be no last day siginings. It’s always nice to read that they signed a tough sign player late.

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