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Don’t Sell These Guys Short

Jerry Crasnick -Premium Content

When draft time rolls around, short righthanders find themselves fighting a bias. Given a chance, most scouts would much rather take a chance on the tall pitcher than the short one. But this year's draft crop features several undersized righthanders who will tempt teams.

Draft | #2006#Draft Preview

Signing Bonuses Year-By-Year

Allan Simpson -Premium Content

Signing bonuses have grown exponentially since 1965, when the draft was instituted ostensibly to . . . curtail the growth of signing bonuses. From a first-round average of less than $50,000 in the first several years of the draft, the average bonus grew to more than $2 million a few years ago before leveling off and actually declining. Following is a year-by-year breakdown of average first-round signing bonuses, the annual percentage change, the first overall pick in the June regular phase and his bonus, and the player who received the largest bonus (if other from the No. 1 pick), as compiled by BA founding editor Allan Simpson. The signing bonus average for first-round picks from 1965-82 includes the value of college scholarship plans and incentive bonus plans, in addition to the cash bonus paid. From 1983-2004, the amount represents only the cash bonus paid.

Draft | #2005#Draft Preview

Bonus Concerns Created Draft; Yet Still Exist

Allan Simpson -Premium Content

Two weeks before the 2000 draft, Sandy Alderson, then Major League Baseball's executive vice president of baseball operations, called a meeting of scouting directors in Dallas. Disturbed with the runaway inflation of signing bonuses in the 1990s, he sought to curtail the game's age-old problem of reckless spending on untried amateur players.

Draft | #2005#Draft Preview

Development Of A Hotbed

Will Kimmey -Premium Content

Virginia has produced plenty of firsts. America's first permanent settlement came in Jamestown in 1607. The College of William & Mary opened the nation's first law school in 1779, started the first educational honor system and founded Phi Beta Kappa. Virginia native George Washington served as the nation's first president from 1789-97, and seven more presidents have come from the state. In the sports world, NFL franchises have drafted Virginia natives first overall three times: Bill Dudley (1942), Bruce Smith (1985) and Michael Vick (2001) while Ralph Sampson (1984) and Allen Iverson (1996) became No. 1 picks in the NBA draft. Yet for all its firsts and abundant athletic talent, Virginia has never produced the first pick of the baseball draft. Expect that to change this year. Chesapeake's Justin Upton rates as the favorite to go from Great Bridge High in Chesapeake to the Diamondbacks with the first selection, one pick earlier than his brother B.J. went to the Devil Rays in 2002. Old Dominion righthander Justin Verlander (2004) and James Madison righthander Jay Franklin (1971) give Virginia three No. 2 overall picks in draft history.

Draft | #2005#Draft Preview

Fast Hands In Fort Meade

Alan Matthews -Premium Content

With a population of less than 5,000, it's easy to miss Fort Meade, Fla. But baseball scouts have gone out of their way to find it this spring, in search of the righthanded-hitting center fielder who has shot up the draft charts. Fort Meade is right in the center of the state, about 70 miles east of St. Petersburg. Phosphate mines employ many of the town's residents, including most of Andrew McCutchen's living and past relatives. It's the kind of place where high school athletes are icons and everyone knows everyone.

Draft | #2005#Draft Preview

Iowa Product Fights Northern Bias

Alan Matthews -Premium Content

isten closely as names are called June 7. And it might not be a bad idea to have an atlas handy. This year's draft crop features players from all corners of the country. Towns like Phenix City, Ala., New Richmond, Ohio, Aurora, Ill., and University Place, Wash., are all likely to produce high-round picks. Crosscheckers and scouting directors have booked flights to several unlikely destinations this spring, and Des Moines, Iowa, features another unlikely prospect with impact potential.

Draft | #2005#Draft Preview

Fate Lies In Critical Call

Jason Becker -Premium Content

Two years ago, Jordan Danks was known in scouting circles simply as "Little Danks" or "John Danks' little brother." While the elder Danks was mowing down hitters, guiding Round Rock High to the Texas Class 5-A state championship game as a senior before being drafted ninth overall by the Rangers, Jordan was hitting near the bottom of the lineup, a tall, slender sophomore playing right field. Much as he had throughout the first 14 years of his life, he was the little guy, tagging along behind his big brother and playing up with John's classmates.

Draft | #2005#Draft Preview

Rancho Bernardo Keeps Rolling

John Maffei -Premium Content

The key to success is simple, Rancho Bernardo High coach Sam Blalock says: "It all comes down to the kids." And over the past decade, the Broncos have had a lot of great kids, including five first-round draft picks—Jaime Jones (1995), Matt Wheatland and Scott Heard (2000), Cole Hamels (2002) and Danny Putnam (2004, drafted out of Stanford)—11 players drafted in the first 10 rounds and more than two dozen draftees overall.

Draft | #2005#Draft Preview

Power Drop Clouds Mayberry’s Status

Casey Tefertiller -Premium Content

It was the unthinkable, in these modern times. John Mayberry Jr. turned down first-round money—not to bargain for more cash, not to get a better deal—to attend college and get himself educated. That happened with some regularity a couple of decades ago, but with the big money being thrown at this generation's high picks, education becomes a lower priority against the immediate gratification of a huge paycheck.

Draft | #2005#Draft Preview