And then there were three. The signings of Francisco Cordero, Prince Fielder and Dan Wheeler last week left Raul Ibanez, Edwin Jackson and Derrek Lee as the only potential compensation free agents who still could affect the 2012 draft order. The Brewers picked up the Tigers' first-rounder and a sandwich pick after Fielder (Type A) left for Detroit, while the Reds got a sandwich pick when Cordero (Type B) inked with the Blue Jays and the Red Sox got nothing for Wheeler (Type B) because he signed a minor league deal with the Indians.
The updated draft order is below, with the first 53 selections finalized.
13. White Sox
17. Blue Jays
19. Cardinals (from Angels for Albert Pujols, Type A)
22. Blue Jays (for failure to sign 2011 first-rounder Tyler Beede)
24. Red Sox
27. Brewers (from Tigers for Prince Fielder, Type A)
31. Red Sox (from Phillies for Jonathan Papelbon, Type A)
Supplemental First Round
32. Twins (for Michael Cuddyer, modified Type A, to Rockies)
33. Padres (for Heath Bell, modified Type A, to Marlins)
34. Athletics (for Josh Willingham, modified Type A, to Twins)
35. Mets (for Jose Reyes, Type A, to Marlins)
36. Cardinals (for Pujols)
37. Red Sox (for Papelbon)
38. Brewers (for Fielder)
39. Rangers (for C.J. Wilson, Type A, to Angels)
40. Phillies (for Ryan Madson, modified Type A, to Reds)
41. Astros (for Clint Barmes, Type B, to Pirates)
42. Twins (for Jason Kubel, Type B, to Diamondbacks)
43. Cubs (for Aramis Ramirez, Type B, to Brewers)
44. Padres (for Aaron Harang, Type B, to Dodgers)
45. Pirates (for Ryan Doumit, Type B, to Twins)
46. Rockies (for Mark Ellis, Type B, to Dodgers)
47. Athletics (for David DeJesus, Type B, to Cubs)
48. White Sox (for Mark Buehrle, Type B, to Marlins)
49. Reds (for Ramon Hernandez, Type B, to Rockies)
50. Blue Jays (for Frank Francisco, Type B, to Mets)
51. Dodgers (for Rod Barajas, Type B, to Pirates)
52. Cardinals (for Octavio Dotel, Type B, to Tigers)
53. Rangers (for Darren Oliver, Type B, to Blue Jays)
54. Cubs (for Carlos Pena, Type B, to Rays)
55. Padres (for failure to sign 2011 sandwich-rounder Brett Austin)
56. Reds (for Francisco Cordero, Type B, to Blue Jays)
57. Blue Jays (for Jon Rauch, Type B, to Mets)
58. Blue Jays (for Jose Molina, Type B, to Rays)
60. Athletics (for Willingham)
68. Padres (for Bell)
69. Mets (from Marlins for Reyes)
70. Twins (for Cuddyer)
75. Phillies (for Madson)
81. Rangers (from Angels for Wilson)
89. Yankees (for failure to sign 2011 second-rounder Sam Stafford)
Supplemental Third Round
124. Mariners (for failure to sign 2011 third-rounder Kevin Cron)
125. Marlins (for failure to sign 2011 third-rounder Connor Barron)
126. Rockies (for failure to sign 2011 third-rounder Peter O'Brien)
Remaining Compensation Free Agents
Cardinals: Edwin Jackson (B).
Phillies: Raul Ibanez (B).
Pirates: Derrek Lee (B).
Our grades reflect a player's realistic ceiling and are based on the 20-80 scale similar to the one scouts use. With the BA Grades, a 50 (right in the middle) represents a player who straddles the line between a first- or second-division regular, or between a No. 3 or 4 starter. We gave out one 80 in the Handbook, to Bryce Harper.
Our risk factors represent a player's chance of reaching that realistic ceiling, and run the spectrum from Safe to Low to Medium to High to Extreme. We made Harper an 80/Low, while fellow überprospects Matt Moore and Mike Trout got 75/Safes, and those grades are roughly equivalent. We could have lowered Harper's ceiling and risk and made him a 75/Safe.
Darvish is a frontline starter who has a proven track record in the Japanese major leagues. I'd give him a 70/Low (and rank him as baseball's fourth-best prospect behind Trout, Moore and Harper), and I also could see him as a 75/Medium.
Cespedes is a center fielder with well above-average power and speed, though he has not faced the same quality of competition that Darvish has and the track record of hyped Cubans pales in comparision to that of Japanese players (which isn't sterling in its own right). I'd put a 70/Medium on Cespedes, which would put him in the 7-15 range on our overall Top 100 Prospects list, which we'll unveil in a couple of weeks.
Cespedes would be an easy No. 1 prospect for any of the teams that J.P. mentioned. On my personal list of the game's Top 50 Prospects in the Prospect Handbook, the first No. 1 prospect from those clubs was Tigers righthander Jacob Turner at No. 23. The others to make it were Blue Jays catcher Travis d'Arnaud (No. 26), Cubs outfielder Brett Jackson (No. 28), Marlins outfielder Christian Yelich (No. 33) and Yankees lefthander Manny Banuelos (No. 38), while righthanders Trevor May (Phillies) and Addison Reed (White Sox) missed the cut.
If Cespedes had signed, he would have ranked somewhere in the 10-15 range on my list. The only systems in which he wouldn't be a slam-dunk No. 1 would be the Angels (Trout), Rays (Moore), Nationals (Harper), Rangers (Darvish), Mariners (Jesus Montero) and Orioles (Manny Machado).
Molina's rankings demonstrate the disparity in the depth between the two systems. So does the fact that righthander Myles Jaye, who didn't make our Jays Top 30 in the Handbook and was subsequently included in the Jason Frasor trade in January, would have ranked in the middle of our Chicago Top 30 had the deal occurred in time.
Besides Jaye, other prospects who couldn't crack the Toronto Top 30 but would have been prime candidates for the Chisox list include: first basemen Mike McDade and J.C. Hobson; shortstop Dawel Lugo; outfielders Eric Arce, Wilmer Becerra, Darin Mastroianni and Brad Glenn; lefthanders Griffin Murphy, Sean Nolin and Mitchell Taylor; and righties Manuel Cordoba, Jesus Tinoco, Joel Carreno and Trystan Magnuson.
Another way of looking at this is to see how many White Sox Top 30 prospects would have made our Toronto list. Only nine Chicago farmhands would have been locks: righthanders Reed, Molina, Simon Castro, Jacob Petricka and Jhan Marinez; outfielders Trayce Thompson and Keenyn Walker; shortstop Tyler Saladino; and third baseman Juan Silverio.