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Draft Report Card Best Tools

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Our annual Draft Report Cards kick off our offseason prospect coverage. Editor in chief John Manuel (most National League teams, plus the Twins and Yankees) and executive editor Jim Callis (most American League clubs, plus the Cubs and Dodgers) talked to scouting directors and other scouts in order to provide a detailed breakdown of each team's 2008 draft.

Draft | #2008#Draft Dish#Draft Report Cards

Early 2009 Draft Top 25 Prospects

Matt Blood, Aaron Fitt, John Manuel and Jim Callis -Premium Content

September marks the end of the summer scouting circuit, as high schools and colleges begin classes. Scouts used the three months in between the draft and the starting of school as an opportunity to get a jump on evaluating the talent in the 2009 class. BA was out on the road as well, and after covering college summer leagues, Team USA and the high school showcase circuit, we have compiled top 25 lists for both college and high school prospects eligible for next year's draft.

Draft | #2009#Draft Dish

Last-Minute Shopping

Jim Callis -Premium Content

There were almost as many bonus records set at baseball's Aug. 15 signing deadline as there were in the Water Cube at the Beijing Olympics. Before the clock struck midnight—and in one case, afterward—teams spent like never before. Three of the four largest up-front bonuses ever were paid out, led by the Giants giving No. 5 overall pick Buster Posey $6.2 million. The 27 first-round picks who signed received an average bonus of $2,484,963, more than $300,000 than ever before, and an increase of 18.4 percent from 2007, the biggest jump in the era of Major League Baseball's recommendations for bonus slots.

Draft | #2008#Draft Dish

Changing Their Ways

Jim Callis -Premium Content

After refusing to exceed MLB's slotting guidelines and spending just $1.6 million on their entire 2007 draft, the Astros have reversed course. Houston went over slot to sign a pair of Texas high school pitchers in late July and early August, giving supplemental third-rounder Ross Seaton $700,000 and eighth-rounder Brad Dydalewicz $425,000. Last year, Houston surrendered its first- and second-round choices as free-agent compensation and failed to sign its third- , fourth- and eight-rounders, a huge blow to a farm system already in decline. New general manager Ed Wade restructured the scouting department after coming aboard last September, hiring former Brewers crosschecker Bobby Heck as scouting director.

Draft | #2008#Draft Dish

Worth Following Up

Matt Blood -Premium Content

Though Major League Baseball did away with the draft-and-follow process by instituting an Aug. 15 signing deadline beginning with the 2007 draft, teams still pick players with the intention of evaluating them further in what is known as a summer follow. The summer follow usually arises for prospects who had performed well in the past but played poorly in the spring leading up to the draft, or for players who were hurt during the spring and were either unable to play or hampered by their injuries.

Draft | #2008#Draft Dish

Swing And A Miss

Will Lingo -Premium Content

Of all the teams and all the years of drafting players, these were the only six drafts we could find that produced absolutely zero big leaguers. For some teams there were extenuating circumstances, while for others it was just a case of picking the wrong players.

Draft | #2008#Draft Dish

Team-Changing Talent

Jim Callis -Premium Content

These are Baseball America's rankings of the 20 best drafts of all time, a subjective ranking but one based on a number of objective criteria. This chart includes the most notable players in each class, number of big leaguers, Win Shares (a Bill James statistic that measures the overall worth of a player), all-stars, All-Star Game appearances and significant awards won.

Draft | #2008#Draft Dish