Another week, another compensation free-agent signing. But just one. The Tigers agreed to a one-year, $4.25 million contract with Brandon Lyon, a Type B free agent for whom the Diamondbacks will receive a sandwich pick. Twelve compensation free agents remain unsigned, including seven Type A's. Below is the updated draft order.
10. Nationals (for failure to sign 2008 first-rounder Aaron Crow)
20. Blue Jays
21. Mariners (if they fail to sign 2008 first-rounder Joshua Fields)
24. White Sox
25. Angels (from Mets for Francisco Rodriguez, A)
26. Angels (from Yankees for Mark Teixeira, A)
28. Mariners (from Phillies for Raul Ibanez, A)
29. Yankees (for failure to sign 2008 first-rounder Gerrit Cole)
30. Red Sox
33. Rockies (from Angels for Brian Fuentes, A)
Supplemental First-Round Picks
34. Mariners (Ibanez)
35. Rockies (Fuentes)
36. Dodgers (Derek Lowe, A, to Braves)
37. Blue Jays (A.J. Burnett, A, to Yankees)
38. Brewers (C.C. Sabathia, A, to Yankees)
39. Angels (Teixeira)
40. Angels (Rodriguez)
41. Reds (Jeremy Affeldt, B, to Giants)
42. Rangers (Milton Bradley, B, to Cubs)
43. Diamondbacks (Brandon Lyon, B, to Tigers)
49. Pirates (for failure to sign 2008 second-rounder Tanner Scheppers)
51. Dodgers (from Braves for Lowe)
68. Brewers (from Yankees for Sabathia)
76. Yankees (for failure to sign 2008 second-rounder Scott Bittle)
99. Blue Jays (from Yankees for Burnett)
Supplemental Third-Round Picks
106. Astros (for failure to sign 2008 third-rounder Chase Davidson)
Remaining Compensation Free Agents
Ari: Juan Cruz (A), Orlando Hudson (A).
Bos: Jason Varitek (A), Paul Byrd (B).
CWS: Orlando Cabrera (A).
KC: Mark Grudzielanek (B).
LAA: Jon Garland (B).
LAD: Manny Ramirez (A).
Mil: Ben Sheets (A), Brian Shouse (B).
Min: Dennys Reyes (B).
NYM: Oliver Perez (A).
Very interesting question. In the organization rankings in the 2009 Prospect Handbook, we tabbed the Rangers as having the best farm system in the game and the Astros as having the worst. Righthander John Bannister was the No. 30 prospect on our Texas Top 30 list, while catcher Jason Castro was No. 1 on our Houston Top 30.
Bannister signed as a nondrafted free agent in 2002 out of Tucson's Sabino High, where he played with J.J. Hardy. He moved to the bullpen after coming back from Tommy John surgery last year, and he impressed scouts by pitching at 93-96 mph and reaching 98 in the Arizona Fall League. He also has a hard 11-to-5 curveball, though he's still refining his command. He's similar to righty Felipe Paulino, who's No. 7 on our Astros list. Paulino worked just one inning last year while battling shoulder problems, so I'd put Bannister ahead of him for now.
Castro, the 10th overall pick in the 2008 draft, projects as an offensive catcher and a solid defender. He's similar to Taylor Teagarden, No. 6 on our Rangers list, though Teagarden is a stronger catcher and has a few more questions about his bat. Teagarden has proven himself at higher levels, so I'd put Castro behind him at this point.
Harrington was arguably the best prospect in the 2000 draft and went seventh overall to the Rockies. Negotiations between Colorado and Harrington's agent, Tommy Tanzer, famously unraveled, as detailed in a classic Baseball America story written by Alan Schwarz (which you can link to here). That sent Harrington on an odyssey that saw him get drafted four more times and play in four independent leagues. After the Cubs signed him for no bonus and released him in 2007, he made four appearances with the St. Paul Saints and concluded his career with a 16-18, 4.49 record in 124 indy league games.
But let's turn back the clock to when Harrington was starring at Palmdale (Calif.) High. Here's what Allan Simpson wrote about him in our 2000 Draft Preview:
On raw talent, Harrington is the top player in the country. He has an explosive fastball that he brought to the park every outing this spring. He routinely threw at 94-95 mph and frequently had his best velocity in the sixth and seventh innings, when he topped out at 98. He also showed excellent command, resulting in a 10-0, 0.59 record with 113 strikeouts and 20 walks in 59 innings. His breaking ball is erratic, but everything else scouts look for in a pitcher is there: outstanding body (6-foot-3, 180), outstanding arm action and excellent projection. Arizona State has long since abandoned hope that Harrington is keeping college as an option.
After his layoff during negotiations in 2000, Harrington never was the same pitcher again. He only showed his previous stuff and command in flashes. High school pitchers always require a lot of projection, and the best of them run the gamut from busts (Matt White) to stars (Josh Beckett), with stops at every point in between. Harrington wouldn't have been a sure thing, but he was as good as any prep pitching prospect between Beckett in 1999 and Rick Porcello in 2007. Before he lost his stuff and command, Harrington had the ingredients to become a frontline starter.
Strasburg would give the Nationals the most impressive pitcher in that group, but the Orioles' arms would be better as a whole. While Matsuz was the best pitcher in the 2007 draft, scouts consider Strasburg a cut above, a Mark Prior/David Price type who comes along only once every few years.
But for the rest of the matchups, the edge goes to Baltimore. Tillman and Zimmermann are very, very close, but if I had to pick one, I think Tillman has a little more upside. I prefer Arrieta to Balester because he has more swing-and-miss stuff, and I'd take Erbe over Detwiler for the same reason.