Teams still can negotiate with draftees if they were college seniors with no eligibility remaining, with Mariners first-round pick Joshua Fields the most notable example. But for the most part, the Aug. 15 signing deadline closed the book on the 2008 draft. Below is the total spending by team.
The Royals ($11,148,000), Red Sox ($10,515,000), Rays ($9,921,000) and Pirates ($9,780,000) all exceeded the previous record for bonus payments by a single team: the $9,745,000 spent by the Diamondbacks on the 2005 draft. The 30 clubs combined for $186.5 million in bonuses, up 23 percent from the $151.8 million they spent in 2007.
|Draft Expenditures By Club|
|Team||Signed||First||Supp.||2008 Total||2007 Total|
|*Didn't sign first-round pick (Mariners still in negotiations).
First = First-round picks. Supp. = Supplemental first-round picks.
The White Sox plan on keeping Beckham at shortstop for the immediate future. He'll also see time at second and third base in the Arizona Fall League, but that's because he signed too late for Chicago to request a priority roster spot for Beckham on the Peoria Saguaros. It appears that Ian Desmond of the Nationals will get the bulk of the starts at shortstop for the Saguaros.
Beckham should hit for a solid average with well above-average power for a middle infielder, while playing steady defense at shortstop. His hands are the biggest question for him defensively, but he covers enough ground and has plenty of arm for shortstop. His big league ETA is mid- to late 2010.
Ultimately, where Beckham fits with the White Sox depends on where Alexei Ramirez winds up. Ramirez likely will shift from second base to shortstop next season. If Ramirez looks good defensively there, then Beckham probably slides over to second base. If Ramirez leaves something to be desired, he could return to second base or even move to center field when Beckham is ready.
No. 12 is the Royals' worst top pick since they had the No. 14 selection in 2004 and will mark just the second time in 13 drafts that they haven't had a top-10 choice. If the first 10 picks unfold like I projected in my column, the best candidates for Kansas City would seem to be pitchers: righthander Jacob Turner (HS/St. Charles, Mo.) and lefthanders Andrew Oliver (Oklahoma State) and Mike Minor (Vanderbilt). The best position prospect would be Tennessee outfielder Kentrail Davis.
If the Royals opted for Turner or Davis, that would make it four straight drafts in which they spent their first choice on a Scott Boras Corp. client, following Luke Hochevar (2005), Mike Moustakas (2006) and Eric Hosmer (2007).
There shouldn't be too many changes in the Royals' draft philosophy. Ladnier came from the Braves, as did Picollo and GM Dayton Moore. None of them are afraid to put the extra time into developing high schoolers, and I believe you'll continue to see Kansas City focus on taking whomever they think is the best player in each round, rather than looking for a quicker fix.
Regardless of the circumstances, a team receives a compensation pick for failing to sign any first-round pick (or any selection in the first three rounds, for that matter). So under your scenario, yes, a club could just walk away from the No. 1 overall choice for whatever reason, knowing it could recoup the No. 2 overall pick in the following draft.
Jeremy Sowers was one of the top high school lefthanders in the 2001 draft, but he was strongly committed to Vanderbilt and teams believed there was next to no chance that he'd turn pro. At the same time, the Reds had ongoing scouting budget problems that had led them to sign their 2000 first- and second-round choices to major league contracts that included no bonuses.
That made for a perfect fit, and Cincinnati selected Sowers 20th overall. He followed through on his desire to attend Vanderbilt and the Reds straightened out their budget. They also got a 2002 supplemental first-round pick as a consolation prize—the compensation rules were different then—and used it on Texas-Arlington third baseman Mark Schramek.