Teams don't get compensation for Type A or B free agents if they sign minor league contracts with their new clubs. But when the Blue Jays signed former Athletics outfielder Shannon Stewart (a Type B) in February, an MLB source told me that the situation could be reviewed if Stewart made Toronto's Opening Day roster.
Stewart not only has done that, but he also has won the Jays' left-field job. However, the same source told me today that it's unlikely that Oakland will receive a supplemental first-round pick. The only compensation free agent whose situation remains unresolved is another former Athletic who's a Type B, Mike Piazza, and he may retire.
Unless Piazza signs a major league contract with a new club, the 2008 draft order is finalized, as listed below.
8. White Sox
17. Blue Jays
18. Mets (Tom Glavine, A, to Atl)
27. Twins (Torii Hunter, A, to LAA)
30. Red Sox
Supplemental First-Round Picks
31. Twins (Hunter)
32. Brewers (Franciso Cordero, A, to Cin)
33. Mets (Glavine)
34. Phillies (Aaron Rowand, A to SF)
35. Brewers (Scott Linebrink, A, to CWS)
36. Royals (David Riske, B, to KC)
37. Giants (Pedro Feliz, B, to Phi)
38. Astros (Trever Miller, B, to TB)
39. Cardinals (Troy Percival, B, to TB)
40. Braves (Ron Mahay, B, to KC)
41. Cubs (Jason Kendall, B, to Mil)
42. Padres (Doug Brocail, B, to Hou)
43. Diamondbacks (Livan Hernandez, B, to Min)
44. Yankees (Luis Vizcaino, B, to Col)
45. Red Sox (Eric Gagne, B, to Mil)
46. Padres (Mike Cameron, B, to Mil)
51. Phillies (Rowand to SF)
52. Braves (for failure to sign 2007 second-rounder Joshua Fields)
54. Brewers (Cordero to Cin)
55. Brewers (Linebrink to CWS)
68. Red Sox (for failure to sign 2007 second-rounder Hunter Morris)
Supplemental Third-Round Picks
109. Phillies (for failure to sign 2007 third-rounder Brandon Workman)
110. Astros (for failure to sign 2007 third-rounder Derek Dietrich)
111. Padres (for failure to sign 2007 third-rounder Tommy Toledo)
112. Angels (for failure to sign 2007 third-rounder Matt Harvey)
The Dodgers did buy Solano's rights from the Mexican League's Monterrey Sultans earlier this winter for $250,000. He's 17 years old but he's actually a righthander, not a lefty. Solano has a mature body at 6-foot-1 and 200 pounds, but he's more athletic than that build might indicate. Los Angeles loves his mechanics, pitchability and confidence.
His stuff is promising too. Solano's two best pitches are an 89-93 mph fastball that sits around 91 and a plus 75-78 mph curveball. He also has some feel for a changeup and uses a slider as his fourth offering.
Solano has been very impressive in minor league camp, pitching well enough to merit making the Dodgers' low Class A Great Lakes club. But given his age and inexperience, as well as the cold early-season weather in the Midwest League, Los Angeles will keep Solano in extended spring training for at least the first month of the season.
The Dodgers also paid $250,000 to the Sultans for the rights to another pitcher, 19-year-old righthander Freddy Quintero. Quintero, who's 6-foot-2 and 185 pounds, has an 89-92 mph fastball and a hard slider.
As Ben Badler reported, the Reds discovered that they didn't have to wait until July 2 to sign Duran, and they swooped in quickly to get the job done. He's young and huge (6-foot-5 and 205 pounds, with the room to add more strength), and Cincinnati believes he has top-of-the-line power potential. Reds director of Latin American scouting Tony Arias likened Duran to a more athletic version of young Giants slugger Angel Villalona.
As intriguing as Duran is, he wouldn't have made our Top 100 list. He's at least three or four years away from the majors and he has yet to prove himself against any kind of decent competition. I wouldn't rate him as highly as Braves righthander Julio Teheran, who signed last summer out of Colombia for $850,000, and Teheran didn't crack the Top 100 either.
Since we started doing the Top 100 in 1990, I believe the youngest player ever was Villalona, who was 17½ when he made the list this year.
With the offseason trades and resulting influx of talent to the mound and outfield, and Daric Barton taking over at first base, the Athletics' only future holes seem to be the left side of the infield. Will there be any prime third baseman available for Oakland in the 2008 draft?
The Athletics own the 12th pick in the draft, the highest they've picked since they took Barry Zito ninth overall nine years ago. Especially early in the first round, most teams subscribe to a best-player-available philosophy, though signability is obviously a factor.
If Oakland were to decide it wanted a third baseman in the first round, there's not a great fit. Vanderbilt third baseman Pedro Alvarez is the best college position player in the draft, but he'll go long before the A's pick. Braddock High (Miami)'s Harold Martinez projected as the top high school third baseman coming into 2008, but his stock is plummeting. Arizona State's Brett Wallace is having a huge spring after moving from first to third base, but whether the 6-foot-1, 245-pounder can stick at the hot corner in the majors remains to be seen.
Another player who's been crushing college pitchers is Georgia shortstop Gordon Beckham. Oakland returned to a college-heavy draft philosophy last year, and Beckham could be a fit for the A's at No. 12. Some clubs believe he can stay at shortstop, while others see him as an offensive second baseman or possibly a third baseman.
Other players who could be available and attractive to Oakland include catchers Kyle Skipworth (Patriot High, Riverside, Calif.) and Buster Posey (Florida State), lefthander Christian Friedrich (Eastern Kentucky) and outfielder/righthander Aaron Hicks (Wilson High, Long Beach).