As we wrote during the draft, teams targeted seniors in the early rounds at a significantly higher rate than in other recent drafts, now we can point out exactly how significant it was. In the previous four drafts from 2008-2011, an average of 30 college seniors were drafted in the first 10 rounds. This year that number nearly doubled to 57. From 2008-2011, the most seniors drafted in a single round was eight, which occurred in the ninth round in 2010. In rounds 7-10 of the 2012 draft, nine or more seniors were drafted in each of those rounds. The number of seniors drafted in rounds 8-10 of the 2012 draft surpasses or ties the total from every draft since 2008.
After a strong junior season at Stetson, righthander Tucker Donahue had several second-day draft offers in 2011. However, the finance major didn’t get the signing-bonus offer he was looking for and fell to the 38th round. He decided to return for his senior season and earned his degree; on the field, a disastrous opening weekend helped inflate his numbers. He finished 2-1, 5.20 with 27 strikeouts and 19 walks in 28 innings.
That’s not usually a recipe for moving up 34 draft rounds. But Donahue, whose fastball at times sits in the 92-95 mph range with boring action, was the Blue Jays’ fourth-round pick in 2012. He’s already signed for a four-digit bonus; Donahue declined to give the exact amount.
Welcome to the new draft.
“I talked to a good amount of teams, probably 15 teams, and I knew this was a possible play; it was pretty cut and dried,” Donahue said. “I’d say 10 of the 15 all asked if I would sign for something like that. As a senior, I knew it could happen. I figured the high draft round sticks with you. I thought it was worth trading a few grand to be a higher-round pick. Money disappears, but I will forever be a fourth-round pick.”
Righthander Kyle Barraclough of St. Mary's said his scout meetings were somewhat similar to those of Donahue, but he held out for a bit more money.
The Cardinals' seventh-rounder hasn't signed yet; he said the two sides were "waiting for the dust to settle once the draft is all the way over," he said Wednesday. But he said he was "pretty sure" his bonus would reach the five-figure barrier. The senior was a starter for most of his four seasons at St. Mary's, going 2-9, 3.95 in 2012. He has a power arm with command issues and walked 50 in 84 innings while striking out 80.
"I told scouts I was looking for a win-win situation," he said. "I wanted to get more than a senior would have gotten under the previous rules, but I was willing to help a club save some money as well.”
A 40th-round pick of the Twins in 2011, Barraclough said he had no regrets about coming back to his senior season, even if he or St. Mary's didn't have its best season. He graduated last month with a business administration degree and is ready to start his pro career.
"I was willing to take a deal," he said, "but I thought I needed to have something of a bonus to help support myself through the minor leagues," he said. "I tried to make that clear. It's a business."
A couple weeks ago South Mountain (Ariz.) Community College righthander Taylor Kaczmarek went in to see his doctor about swollen lymph nodes. Dealing with what appeared to be a case of mono, the 20-year-old Kaczmarek was sent home with antibiotics. When those antibiotics were ineffective, tests were done to see if Kaczmarek was facing something more serious.
“I had gotten a call and they said I had abnormal blood work and that I needed to go to the ER,” Kaczmarek said. “I just thought that something was faulty in the blood test and they were just having me go get tested again.”
On May 26 Kaczmarek and his family were told that he had leukemia. The sophomore from Mesa, Ariz. said that there were no warning signs about his illness.
“I really didn’t have any feeling about the cancer itself,” Kaczmarek said. “It was kind of a shock.”
In his second season at South Mountain this year Kaczmarek batted .343 and hit two home runs while playing first base. But it was his pitching that drew the attention of scouts, as Kaczmarek threw 81 innings and recorded 88 strikeouts while posting a 2.67 ERA. He was drafted in the 40th round by the Royals.. As a senior at Desert Ridge HS in 2010 Kaczmarek was named Gatorade Player of the Year in Arizona. He was drafted by the Dodgers in 2010 in the 50th round before deciding to attend South Mountain.
[...] Continue Reading »
If you were a college senior hoping to be drafted, Tuesday was your day. You may not be offered a whole lot of money, but with the new collective bargaining agreement, there was plenty of chances to be picked. To give a better idea, we compiled a list of every college senior taken in the top 10 rounds. [...] Continue Reading »
We knew the new draft rules would create some unexpected twists, and the second day of the draft did not disappoint.
The draft rules set up in the new Collective Bargaining Agreement were designed to hold down signing bonuses and get teams to line up their draft boards based more on talent and less on a player's signability.
On Monday night, that ideal held true. Players were largely picked based on where teams saw them on their draft boards. And while Stanford righthander Mark Appel's slide added drama, the draft didn't see a Jacob Turner, Josh Bell or Nick Castellanos-like slide, where a premium talent fell a long way to a team willing to meet his significant asking price. The draft board largely lined up based on talent.
That wasn't true on Tuesday as the draft wore on, however. It became clear that for many teams, the second half of the top 10 rounds was less about best player available and much more about the best player willing to accept a small bonus. [...] Continue Reading »
• The fifth round started off with a couple interesting up-the-middle college players. The Astros took outfielder Andrew Aplin from Arizona State. Aplin was regarded as one of the best defensive center fielders on the West Coast. The defensive ability comes more from above-average instincts instead of pure tools. Aplin has good bat control but profiles best as a fourth outfielder.
Two picks later, the Mariners took Virginia shortstop Chris Taylor at pick No. 161. Taylor is a solid defensive shortstop and has some speed, but there are questions about how much he’ll hit, as well. If he signs, Taylor will join fellow Cavaliers Danny Hultzen, John Hicks and Steven Proscia, whom the Mariners took in last year’s draft.
• A pair of interesting junior college pitchers went in the fifth round. The Pirates took Bellevue (Wash.) JC righthander Adrian Sampson, who throws his fastball in the low 90s, topping out at 94 and mixing in an above-average curveball.
The Indians—who are in the middle of putting together a very interesting draft class—went with Western Nevada JC righthander Dylan Baker. Baker grew up in Alaska, spent last year at Tacoma (Wash.) CC and dominated this year for the Wildcats, using mostly a fastball in the 90-95 mph range and a hard slurve.
• Some big velocity guys went off the board in the fifth round, but all the pitchers come with serious question marks. The Cubs chose Texas high school lefthander Anthony Prieto, who was up to 97 in the fall, but he’s just 5-foot-11 and missed time this spring with an elbow injury.
JC of the Canyons (Calif.) righthander Cory Jones went to the Cardinals and has also touched 97 mph, but his breaking ball is inconsistent and his fastball command is spotty at best.
Oklahoma righthander Damien Magnifico has shown the biggest numbers of all, touching triple digits with regularity this spring. But his fastball is straight, he already has screws in his elbow after a stress fracture and he didn’t dominate hitters this spring, even with the crazy velocity.
• The best hitters picked in the fifth round would be Baylor first baseman Max Muncy (Athletics), Texas-Arlington outfielder Preston Beck (Rangers), Arizona second baseman Robert Refsnyder (Yankees) and Centralia (Wash.) High outfielder Andrew Pullin (Phillies). Beck rated highly on the BA 500.
• The Astros continue to play their board by going with high school third baseman Rio Ruiz from Bishop Amat High in La Puente, Calif. Ruiz was projected to be picked a couple of rounds higher entering the year, but missed most of the season with a blood clot in his right shoulder. When healthy, Ruiz has profile tools at third base, including a strong arm and some lefthanded power at the plate. If he signs away from his commitment to Southern California, Ruiz would join former high school teammate Wallace Gonzalez in the Astros’ system.
• The Royals snatched up Stanford second baseman Kenny Diekroeger, and if Cardinal righthander Mark Appel thinks he slipped, Diekroeger is a guy who went in the second round to the Rays out of high school. He has some athleticism and defensive skills, but most scouts see him as a gap hitter who profiles best as a utility player and there’s no way he’ll come close to the $2 million he reportedly turned down out of high school. The slot value for pick No. 133 is $346,600.
• If the Red Sox are able to save some money with their five picks before him, they could have a steal with North Carolina high school righthander Ty Buttrey, who touched 96 mph earlier in the spring. Buttrey works extremely fast and shows a good curveball and a solid changeup. Already 19 years old, Buttrey would be draft-eligible again as a sophomore if he heads to Arkansas.
• The fourth round saw a run on several pitchers who project best in the bullpen, starting with San Jose State righthander Zach Jones (Twins) to Xavier converted righthander Seth Willoughby (Rockies), Oklahoma lefthander Steven Okert (Giants), Utah righthander Tyler Wagner (Brewers) and Faulkner (Ala.) righthander Corey Black (Yankees).
• Expect to see some below-slot deals in the fourth round with players such as Hawaii high school shortstop Branden Kaupe (Mets), Samford senior outfielder Brandon Miller (Nationals), Stetson righthander Tucker Donahue (Blue Jays), Missouri high school first baseman Justin Chigbogu (Dodgers) and Arizona shortstop Alex Mejia (Cardinals).
Donahue is a sinker-slider pitcher who made our Florida state list in 2011 but not in 2012, when he pitched fewer than 30 innings. Miller is a college senior who led Division I in home runs this spring with 23.
Highlights from Round Three:
• The Blue Jays continued an aggressive draft by taking Mississippi prep outfielder Anthony Alford, who ranked No. 36 on the BA 500. He may have been the best athlete available in this year's draft, and he's a two-sport guy with a commitment to Southern Mississippi to play quarterback. He's raw as might be expected, but he has power and speed to spare. He's considered a very tough sign.
• The Dodgers nearly selected Cuban lefthander Onelkis Garcia last year but he was declared ineligible just before the draft. Garcia has fought to become a free agent, and the signability rumors on him have involved very high numbers. At the same time, it's hard to imagine him becoming a free agent at this point, and Garcia has little bargaining power as a 22-year-old playing in Sunday adult leagues in L.A. this spring.
• The Angels made their first selection at No. 114, having lost their first two selections for signing free agents Albert Pujols and C.J. Wilson. They went for a college closer in hard-throwing righthander R.J. Alvarez out of Florida Atlantic. No one was shocked that the Angels went to scout Tom Kotchman's area for their first pick . . . [...] Continue Reading »
61. Astros: Nolan Fontana, ss, Florida: Reliable glove with patient offensive approach, college shortstop who could stay there if it all works out
62. Athletics: Bruce Maxwell, c/1b, Birmingham-Southern (Ala.): Nation's top Division III prospect has strength and lefthanded power; more bat than catcher
63. Twins: Mason Melotakis, lhp, Northwestern State: Hard-throwing college reliever with lefty power, short arm stroke precludes move to rotation
64. Mariners: Joe DeCarlo, ss/3b, Garnet Valley HS, Glen Mills, Pa. Below-average runner has bat control, potential power for third-base move
65. Orioles: Branden Kline, rhp, Virginia. Thrived as a reliever in 2011, lacked consistency for 2012. Has a feel for spin.
66. Royals: Sam Selman, lhp, Vanderbilt. Late bloomer flashes plus fastball-slider combination; inconsistent
67. Cubs: Duane Underwood, rhp, Pope HS, Marietta, Ga.: High-risk HS RHP with big upside; inconsistent quality of fastball, curve, performance
68. Padres: Jeremy Baltz, of, St. John's: Righthanded power slugger who will have to hit; LF profile; grinder
69. Pirates: Wyatt Mathisen, c, Calallen HS, Corpus Christi, Texas: Mostly played shortstop in high school, but profiles best behind the plate.
70. Padres: Dane Phillips, c/of, Oklahoma City: Not a great bet to catch, but LH bat could play at any position.
71. Mets: Matt Reynolds, 3b, Arkansas: Polished college defender with Mark Grudzielanek offensive upside
72. Twins: J.T. Chargois, rhp, Rice: Some scouts aren’t sold on his arm action and effort, but they all like 98 mph.
73. Rockies: Max White, of, Williston (Fla.) HS: Athletic, lithe center fielder with plus speed, sneaky power
74. Athletics: Nolan Sanburn, rhp, Arkansas: Big power arm up to 99 mph at times; inconsistent command, secondary
75. Mets: Teddy Stankiewicz, rhp, Fort Worth Christian HS, North Richland Hills, Texas: Arkansas signee has projectable frame, up to 94 mph at times with slider, curve
76. White Sox: Chris Beck, rhp, Georgia Southern: Down year from last summer; at his best, flashes 94-95 mph heat, plus cutter/slider; not that good this spring
77. Phillies: Dylan Doens, of/1b, Chapparal HS, Scottsdale, Ariz. Surprising pick this high, but lefthanded power gets him run up the board
78. Reds: Tanner Rahier, ss, Palm Desert (Calif.) HS: Baseball rat plays with a ton of energy. Knack for squaring it up with wood.
79. Indians: Mitchell Brown, rhp, Century HS, Rochester, Minn.: Top player in Minnesota, scouts love his size, stuff, projection and makeup. Video here.
80. Nationals: Tony Renda, 2b, California: Pac-12's top hitter the last two years, grinder with modest other tools
81. Blue Jays: Chase DeJong, rhp, Wilson HS, Long Beach: Solid, athletic build with potential for three plus pitches
82. Dodgers: Steve Rodriguez, lhp, Florida: Lefty reliever with deception, good cutter, 91-92 mph fastball, plus command
83. Rangers: Jamie Jarmon, of, Indian River HS, Dagsboro, Del.: Good body, could be power-speed corner fielder
84. Giants: Martin Agosta, rhp, St. Mary's: Added pitchability this spring, fastball at 92-94 at his best, chance to start?
85. Braves: Alex Wood, lhp, Georgia: Hard-throwing lefthander with fastball command, funk; delivery, breaking ball below-average
86. Cardinals: Carson Kelly, 3b, Westview HS, Portland, Ore. Draws David Wright comparisons for bat and makeup. Video:
87. Red Sox: Jamie Callahan, rhp, Dillon, S.C. Solid-bodied RHP who touches 93-94, chance for four pitches
88. Rays: Spencer Edwards, of/ss, Rockwall (Texas) HS: Switch-hitting 19-year-old with speed
89. Yankees: Austin Aune, of, Argyle (Texas) HS: TCU football recruit has plus raw power and arm strength
90. Diamondbacks: Joe Munoz, 3b, Los Altos HS, Hacienca Heights, Calif. Physical frame, flashes plus tools, inconsistent spring
91. Tigers: Jake Thompson, rhp, Rockwall-Heath HS, Heath, Texas: Physical TCU recruit, 6-foot-4, 235 pounds, touches 94 [...] Continue Reading »
The first day is complete with 60 players off the board. As you get ready for the second round and beyond, here's a look at the 10 best available players from the BA 500 with quick scouting reports:
34. Tanner Rahier, ss, Palm Desert (Calif.) HS
Baseball rat plays with a ton of energy. Knack for squaring it up with wood.
36. Anthony Alford, of, Petal (Miss.) HS
Southern Mississippi football recruit has excellent athleticism.
38. Ty Buttrey, rhp, Providence HS, Charlotte
Older prep righty started hot but wore out from heavy workload. Video
43. Cubs: Pierce Johnson, rhp, Missouri State: Has a lively fastball (up to 96 mph), but was dinged up some this year.
44. Padres: Travis Jankowski, of, Stony Brook: Speedy center fielder shined in the Cape but lacks power. Video here.
45. Pirates: Barrett Barnes, of, Texas Tech: Will get a shot in center field and has some power potential.
46. Rockies: Thin, slight righthander with live, quick arm, 96 mph fastball. Needs better secondary.
47. Athletics: Matt Olson, 1b, Parkview HS, Lilburn, Ga.: All about the bat for Vanderbilt commit. Nice LH swing built for average and power.
48. White Sox: Keon Barnum, 1b, King HS, Tampa: Big power, 1B profile; similar to Olson selected one step ahead of him.
49. Reds: Jesse Winker, of, Olympia HS, Orlando: All-bat pick like Olson and Barnum; has arm strength, may stay in LF, has short, strength-oriented swing.
50. Blue Jays: Matt Smoral, lhp, Solon (Ohio) HS: Lanky lefty has plus fastball and SL, missed most of year with broken foot. Video.
51. Dodgers: Jesmuel Valentin, ss, Puerto Rico Baseball Academy: Son of ex-big leaguer Jose Valentin has line-drive swing and good defensive abilities.
52. Cardinals: Patrick Wisdom, 3b, St. Mary's: Most scouts like Wisdom's defense and makeup; this spring has raised questions about how much he'll hit.
53: Rangers: Collin Wiles, rhp, Blue Valley West HS, Stillwell, Kan.: Projectable at 6-foot-4, 180; athleticism, clean delivery allow him to command three pitches.
54: Phillies: Mitch Gueller, rhp, West HS, Chehalis, Wash.: No. 107 on BA 500; flashes three average-to-above pitches, touches 94 mph, athletic.
55. Padres: Walker Weickel, rhp, Olympia HS, Orlando: Was great last summer, went backwards this spring. Steep 92-mph fastball at his best.
56. Cubs: Paul Blackburn, rhp, Heritage HS, Brentwood, Calif.: Consistent performer touches 94 mph with chance for three plus pitches and command.
57. Reds: Jeff Gelalich, of, UCLA: Big junior season for Bruins No. 3 hitter. Simple swing, lots of tools, could play CF, more likely a corner bat.
58. Blue Jays: Mitch Nay, 3b, Hamilton HS, Chandler, Ariz.: Power bat got hot as spring progressed. Needs more reps at 3B; split camp player.
59. Cardinals: Steve Bean, c, Rockwall (Texas) HS: Attractive profile because of plus arm strength and LH bat.
60. Blue Jays: Tyler Gonzales, rhp, Madison (Texas) HS: Fastball up to 97 and SL 89-90, but has some effort and could wind up in bullpen.
Here's the comp round picks 32-42:
Minnesota: J.O. Berrios, rhp, Papa Juan XXIII HS, Bayamon, P.R.: Added 25 pounds since this summer and pushed fastball up to 96 mph.
San Diego: Zach Eflin, rhp, Hagerty HS, Oviedo, Fla.: Slowed by biceps tendinitis, but was up to 97 mph early with plus changeup.
Oakland: Daniel Robertson, 3b, Upland (Calif.) HS: Polished line-drive machine draws Will Middlebrooks comparisons.
New York (NL): Kevin Plawecki, c, Purdue: Physical college receiver with fringy to average tools across the board.
St. Louis: Stephen Piscotty, 3b, Stanford: Polished hitter, but defensive questions without power for corner outfield.
Boston: Pat Light, rhp, Monmouth: Lanky, projectable Northeast arm needs to improve breaking ball; fastball has touched 96-97
Milwaukee: Mitch Haniger, of, Cal Poly: Physicality and power potential make him a top prospect; 13 homers this spring
Texas: Joey Gallo, 3b, Bishop Gorman HS, Las Vegas: Biggest raw power in the draft. Questions about swing/miss. Also up to 98 off the mound.
Phillies: Shane Watson, rhp, Lakewood (Calif.) HS: Barrel-chested hard-thrower is still trying to harness command of plus stuff.
Astros: Lance McCullers, rhp, Jesuit HS, Tampa: Son of big league power reliever is physical and some scouts see two 80 pitches. No. 13 on BA 500.
Twins: Luke Bard, rhp, Georgia Tech: Daniel’s little brother had 92-95 mph velo before torn lat muscle interrupted season
With their second first-round pick, the Boston Red Sox picked lefthander Brian Johnson from Florida with the 31st-overall pick, the last of the first round.
Johnson has a physical build and pounds the strike zone with four average offerings. He has plenty of big-game experience and should move through the minor leagues quickly.
Johnson joins the Red Sox other first-rounder Deven Marrero as Florida prep products who were also teammates with Team USA's College National Team this summer.
The Yankees have a farm system loaded with position players at the lower levels. They were expected to seek lefthanded pitching this spring, but Oklahoma prep righthander Ty Hensley was too attractive for them to pass on at No. 30.
Hensley has baseball bloodlines and has a fastball that has touched 97, helping him rank No. 23 on the BA 500. He also has a plus curveball that might be a better pitch than his fastball. He'll need some time to add some polish and improve his command but he has more than just big stuff. He's bilingual (he speaks Spanish) and scouts like his work ethic and makeup.
We have Hensley video here.
With the 29th-overall pick, the Rangers went off the board a little bit, snatching up outfielder Lewis Brinson from Coral Springs (Fla.) High.
At 6-foot-4 and 185 pounds, Brinson has a body that draws comparisons to Cameron Maybin. His long levers give him the ability to cover a lot of ground in center field and intriguing power potential, but he's still raw at the plate.
Click here to see video of Brinson from last summer at the Under Armour All-American Game.
The Brewers took Georgia Southern outfielder Victor Roache with their second first-round pick, at No. 28 overall.
Roache missed most of the season with a broken left wrist, a serious injury that kept him out of the season after March. Roache hit 30 home runs in 2011, the first college hitter at Division I to hit 30 since 2003. He did it in the first year of the weaker BBCOR bats. We had more on his injury here.
Roache's other tools are solid, not spectacular, so all his value is in the bat. If healthy, the Brewers got perhaps the best college power bat in the draft.
With the 27th-overall pick, the Brewers chose catcher Clint Coulter from Union High in Camas, Wash.
Coulter has tremendous strength in his 6-foot-3, 200-pound frame. A former state wrestling champ, Coulter has big-time righthanded power. He'll need some work to remain behind the plate, but has excellent work ethic and leadership on the field.
Coulter was rumored before the draft to have a deal in place with the Brewers and is not expected to honor his commitment to Arizona State.
The Diamondbacks went for physical high school athlete Stryker Trahan with the 26th overall selection.
Trahan has a big offensive ceiling with above-average power potential and plenty of strength in his 6-foot-1, 220-pound frame. Trahan's power comes from powerful hands, wrists and forearms. He's probably going to have to loosen up a bit down the line to stay behind the plate, though. Some scouts believe he has a shot to catch, but others filed him away as a right fielder this spring thanks to his average speed and plus arm.
Video of Trahan can be found here.
With the 25th-overall pick, the Rays picked Clemson third baseman Richie Shaffer. Shaffer is the best all-around college bat in the draft and provides good value for Tampa Bay. He's blocked at third base by Evan Longoria, but that position is going to be a work in progress for him anyway and he could move to right field.
From a lean, 6-foot-3, 210-pound frame, Shaffer has big-time power that hasn't been affected by college baseball's less-potent bats. He also hits for average, succeeding even against premium velocity, and can use the whole field.
Here is video of Richie Shaffer facing Duke righthander Marcus Stroman this spring.
The Red Sox have two first-round picks, and with the first at No. 24, they went for a shortstop from Arizona State.
That worked out well for the Red Sox in 2004 with Dustin Pedroia, and they hope it works again with Deven Marrero. The Red Sox scout South Florida heavily and liked Marrero at American Heritage High in 2009, and take him again after back-to-back sub-.800 OPS seasons at Arizona State.
However, Marrero hit with wood in two summers with Cotuit in the Cape Cod League and also with USA Baseball's college national team. He also has smooth infield actions and above-average defensive ability. His power will be below-average, but if he hits, he'll be a regular thanks to his glove.
We'll have a feature on Marrero's long road to pro ball from a troubled high school background shortly on BaseballAmerica.com.
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