In the Oct. 25 Ask BA, I discussed the flaws in the free-agent compensation process. I suggested some remedies, such as reducing compensation for relievers (who are overvalued by the statistical rating system MLB uses) and eliminating it all together for Type B free agents (those who rank in the 21-40 percent group at their position).
From what we’re hearing, both of those changes may be part of the new collective bargaining agreement, the details of which should be revealed tomorrow. Once we learn exactly what we’re dealing with, I’ll update the list of potential compensation free agents. Be sure to check out BaseballAmerica.com, as we’ll break down exactly how the CBA changes will affect the draft and player development.
We have less than a month before we send the 2012 Prospect Handbook to the printer, so Ask BA is going into its annual winter hibernation. I’ll do one more Ask BA between now and Christmas, most likely on the Monday after the Winter Meetings conclude, which would be Dec. 12. Please keep the questions coming.
- First-round picks sometimes pass on signing and choose a different route. Most of these players re-enter the draft and sign down the road. What has been the success rate of unsigned first-round picks, and is it any better or worse than the rate for those who sign?
There have been 48 players who didn’t sign after getting selected in the first round of the June draft. Here’s the complete list:
|Year||Player, Pos.||Pick, Team||Signed|
|1965||Eddie Leon, ss||No. 9, Twins||2nd round, Indians, 1967 (June sec.)|
|1965||Mike Adamson, rhp||No. 18, Phillies||No. 1, Orioles, 1967 (June sec.)|
|1966||John Curtis, lhp||No. 12, Indians||No. 10, Red Sox, 1968 (June sec.)|
|1966||Rick Konik, 1b||No. 14, Tigers||never signed pro contract|
|1968||Pete Broberg, rhp||No. 2, Athletics||No. 1, Senators, 1971 (June sec.)|
|1969||Alan Bannister, ss||No. 5, Angels||No. 1, Phillies, 1973 (January)|
|1969||John Simmons, ss/rhp||No. 23, Royals||never signed pro contract|
|1970||Randy Scarbery, rhp||No. 7, Astros||No. 23, Athletics, 1973|
|1970||Jimmy Hacker, 3b||No. 16, Red Sox||5th round, Braves, 1974|
|1970||George Ambrow, ss||No. 23, Mets||never signed pro contract|
|1971||Danny Goodwin, c||No. 1, White Sox||No. 1, Angels, 1975|
|1971||Condredge Holloway, ss||No. 4, Expos||never signed pro contract|
|1971||Mike Miley, ss||No. 24, Reds||No. 10, Angels, 1974|
|1972||Dick Ruthven, rhp||No. 8, Twins||No. 1, Phillies, 1973 (January sec.)|
|1974||Jerry Johnson, c||No. 22, Athletics||No. 11, Cardinals, 1975 (January sec.)|
|1976||Bill Bordley, lhp||No. 4, Brewers||free agent, Giants, 1979|
|1976||Jamie Allen, 3b/rhp||No. 10, Twins||2nd round, Mariners, 1979|
|1976||Mike Sullivan, rhp||No. 24, Athletics||No. 22, Reds, 1979|
|1979||Juan Bustabad, ss||No. 5, Athletics||No. 1, Red Sox, 1980 (January sec.)|
|1979||Steve Buechele, ss||No. 9, White Sox||5th round, Rangers, 1982|
|1979||Rick Luecken, rhp||No. 18, Giants||27th round, Mariners, 1983|
|1979||Mike Stenhouse, of||No. 26, Athletics||No. 4, Expos, 1980 (January sec.)|
|1983||Tim Belcher, rhp||No. 1, Twins||No. 1, Yankees, 1984 (January sec.)|
|1986||Greg McMurtry, of||No. 14, Red Sox||never signed pro contract|
|1987||Brad DuVall, rhp||No. 15, Orioles||No. 23, Cardinals, 1988|
|1988||Alex Fernandez, rhp||No. 24, Brewers||No. 4, White Sox, 1990|
|1989||Charles Johnson, c||No. 10, Expos||No. 28, Marlins, 1992|
|1989||Calvin Murray, of||No. 11, Indians||No. 7, Giants, 1992|
|1989||Scott Burrell, of||No. 26, Mariners||5th round, Blue Jays, 1990|
|1991||Kenny Henderson, rhp||No. 5, Brewers||5th round, Padres, 1995|
|1991||John Burke, rhp||No. 6, Astros||No. 27, Rockies, 1992|
|1993||Jason Varitek, c||No. 21, Twins||No. 14, Mariners, 1994|
|1995||Chad Hutchinson, rhp||No. 26, Braves||2nd round, Cardinals, 1998|
|1997||J.D. Drew, of||No. 2, Phillies||No. 5, Cardinals, 1998|
|1997||Tyrell Godwin, of||No. 24, Yankees||3rd round, Blue Jays, 2001|
|2000||Matt Harrington, rhp||No. 7, Rockies||free agent, Cubs, 2006|
|2001||Jeremy Sowers, lhp||No. 20, Reds||No. 6, Indians, 2004|
|2001||Alan Horne, rhp||No. 27, Indians||11th round, Yankees, 2005|
|2002||John Mayberry Jr., of||No. 28, Mariners||No. 19, Rangers, 2005|
|2004||Wade Townsend, rhp||No. 8, Orioles||No. 8, Devil Rays, 2005|
|2008||Aaron Crow, rhp||No. 9, Nationals||No. 12, Royals, 2009|
|2008||Gerrit Cole, rhp||No. 28, Yankees||No. 1, Pirates, 2011|
|2009||Matt Purke, lhp||No. 14, Rangers||3rd round, Nationals, 2011|
|2009||LeVon Washington, of||No. 30, Rays||2nd round, Indians, 2010|
|2010||Barret Loux, rhp||No. 6, Diamondbacks||free agent, Rangers, 2010|
|2010||Karsten Whitson, rhp||No. 9, Padres||eligible again in 2013|
|2010||Dylan Covey, rhp||No. 14, Brewers||eligible again in 2013|
|2011||Tyler Beede, rhp||No. 21, Blue Jays||eligible again in 2014|
The general rule of thumb is that one-third of first-rounders become successful big leaguers, one-third make it to the majors but aren’t significant players and one-third fall short. The unsigned first-rounders haven’t lived up to that standard.
Excluding the last seven players on the above list because they’ve barely begun their pro careers or have yet to re-enter the draft, 26 of the 41 unsigned first-rounders have reached the majors. But only five have been all-stars (Crow, Drew, Johnson, Ruthven, Varitek), which matches the number who never signed a pro contract (Ambrow, Holloway, Konik, McMurtry, Simmons). There have been nearly as many unsigned first-rounders who played professionally in other sports: Burrell in the NBA, Holloway in the Canadian Football League and Hutchinson and McMurtry in the NFL.
Sixteen of the players became June first-rounders again, including Cole, the No. 1 overall pick in 2011. Nine more went in the first round of different phases of the draft, as MLB held multiple drafts annually until consolidating into one draft in 1987. All five of the all-stars were redrafted in the first round, including Ruthven, the top choice in the secondary phase of the 1973 January draft.
- On your Twitter feed, you mentioned that you had done some research for a column that showed the Cardinals led all clubs with 24 big leaguers from the 2005-07 drafts. Can we please see the team-by-team totals?
Kansas City, Mo.
So far, 375 players have reached the big leagues after signing out of the 2005-07 drafts. That works out to an average of 12.5 team, with totals ranging from the Cardinals (24) on the high end to the Astros (four on the low end). Here’s how many major leaguers each club signed, along with their most productive player to date:
|Team||No.||Most Productive Big Leaguer|
|Cardinals||24||Colby Rasmus (No. 28, 2005)|
|Padres||22||Chase Headley (2nd round, 2005)|
|Marlins||21||Mike Stanton (2nd round, 2007)|
|Tigers||18||Matt Joyce (12th round, 2005)|
|Diamondbacks||17||Justin Upton (No. 1, 2005)|
|Reds||17||Jay Bruce (No. 12, 2005)|
|Yankees||17||Brett Gardner (3rd round, 2005)|
|Giants||14||Tim Lincecum (No. 10, 2006)|
|Rangers||14||Tommy Hunter (supp. 1st round, 2007)|
|Red Sox||14||Jacoby Ellsbury (No. 23, 2005)|
|Brewers||13||Ryan Braun (No. 5, 2005)|
|Mets||13||Mike Pelfrey (No. 9, 2005)|
|Twins||13||Matt Garza (No. 25, 2005)|
|Angels||12||Peter Bourjos (10th round, 2005)|
|Athletics||12||Trevor Cahill (2nd round, 2006)|
|Orioles||12||Matt Wieters (No. 5, 2007)|
|Blue Jays||11||Ricky Romero (No. 6, 2005)|
|Braves||11||Yunel Escobar (2nd round, 2005)|
|Mariners||11||Doug Fister (7th round, 2006)|
|Phillies||11||Josh Outman (10th round, 2005)|
|Indians||10||Josh Tomlin (19th round, 2006)|
|Nationals||10||Ryan Zimmerman (No. 4, 2005)|
|White Sox||10||Clayton Richard (8th round, 2005)|
|Pirates||9||Andrew McCutchen (No. 11, 2005)|
|Cubs||8||Darwin Barney (4th round, 2007)|
|Royals||8||Alex Gordon (No. 2, 2005)|
|Rays||7||Evan Longoria (No. 3, 2006)|
|Dodgers||6||Clayton Kershaw (No. 6, 2006)|
|Rockies||6||Troy Tulowitzki (No. 7, 2005)|
|Astros||4||Bud Norris (6th round, 2006)|
Of course, quantity is not the same as quality. The Rays rank just 27th with seven big leaguers, but they might have the best 2005-07 draft crop when all is said and done, thanks to Longoria, David Price and Matt Moore. The Dodgers and Rockies are tied for next to last with sixth, but there would be more than a few teams that would offer up their entire 2005-07 drafts for Kershaw or Tulowitzki.
- In your column on the best picks from each draft
, your referred to Roy Oswalt being a "draft-and-follow" What is that? Does it still exist?
The draft-and-follow process referred to players who were drafted but chose to attend junior college rather than turn pro. Teams still controlled the rights to those players the following spring, and were able to sign them between the end of their juco season and one week before the next draft.
The rule existed from 1987, when baseball eliminated the January draft and went to one draft, through 2006. It was eliminated when MLB negotiated an Aug. 15 signing deadline in the subsequent collective bargaining agreement.
The process allowed teams to selected raw players and watch them develop for another year before having to place a value on them. The Astros took Oswalt in the 23rd round after his freshman year at Holmes (Miss.) CC in 1996, then signed him for $475,000 the following spring. If they hadn’t, he might have been a first-round pick in the 1997 draft.
Other draft-and-follow success stories include Mark Buehrle, Travis Hafner, Mat Latos, Andy Pettitte, Jorge Posada and Jordan Walden.