Today is the first day of the international signing period, and Ben Badler is on top of all the action. Just check out our Prospect Blog, where he details all of the important signings. He also ranked the top 20 available prospects and broke down each team's projected targets .
Beating the July 2 date when new limitations for signing international players would take effect, the Dodgers gave Puig a seven-year, $42 million contract on Friday. As our international baseball maven Ben Badler reported, that deal left officials from several other teams in shock.
The Dodgers call the Cuban defector a five-tool outfielder and compare him to Sammy Sosa. Other teams praise his bat speed and raw power but worry about his hitting approach, defensive instincts and conditioning. He didn't play in Cuba's top league, the Serie Nacional, last season. His inactivity may have been punishment for his desire to defect, or for his arrest on shoplifting charges at a tournament in the Netherlands in June 2011.
I asked Ben where Puig would have fit on our International Top 20 Prospects list, and he said he would have ranked Puig at No. 11. Ben added that it's difficult to compare a 21-year-old to 15- and 16-year-old players. As for the draft, Ben says based on his talks with other teams, the consensus would have put Puig in the third round.
The Astros' $11,177,700 bonus pool (the second-highest in baseball), combined with their aggressiveness and willingness to use it, has resulted in a draft haul that infused a lot of much-needed talent into their farm system. Beyond No. 1 overall pick Correa, Houston also landed a mid-first-round talent in McCullers plus two other players who ranked among BA's top 100 draft prospects (Nolan Fontana, Ruiz) and two more who just missed (Brett Phillips, Brady Rodgers).
Though Ruiz's $1.85 million bonus dwarfed Fontana's $875,000, the latter can stay at shortstop and should get the job done offensively and defensively. Ruiz has a higher ceiling, but Fontana has a higher floor and will play a position that's harder to fill, so I gave him the last spot on my updated Astros Top 10 below:
1. Jonathan Singleton, 1b/of
Average down a little, power up as 20-year-old in Double-A.
2. Carlos Correa, ss
Draws comparisons to Troy Tulowitzki, Alex Rodriguez.
3. George Springer, of
Potential five-tool center fielder if he makes more consistent contact.
4. Lance McCullers Jr., rhp
Though he lasted 41 picks, his stuff matches up with anyone's in the 2012 draft.
5. Delino DeShields Jr., 2b
Showing the igniter ability that led Houston to draft him eighth overall in 2010.
6. Domingo Santana, of
Benefiting from Lancaster but also having solid high Class A season at age 19.
7. Jarred Cosart, rhp
Stock slipping as more scouts question whether he can remain a starter.
8. Jonathan Villar, ss
Still just 21, still has the tools to be an impact shortstop.
9. Mike Foltynewicz, rhp
Has improved velocity, changeup while repeating low Class A.
10. Nolan Fontana, ss
Steady if unspectacular tools, may move to second base alongside Correa.
Eight eligible and undrafted high school All-Americans is an unusually high amount, nearly matching the total from 2010 (four) and 2011 (five) combined.
I asked Nathan Rode, who spearheads all of our high school coverage, what happened this year. Nathan noted that our preseason All-America teams are selected by scouting directors and focus on pro potential, while the postseason squads are picked by BA staff after coaches nominate players and are based more on performance relative to level of competition. The position players who went unpicked mostly weren't ready physically for pro ball, while the pitchers lacked pro-caliber velocity.
Below are Nathan's breakdowns on the undrafted All-Americans:
Luke Eubank, rhp, Newbury Park HS, Thousand Oaks, Calif. (first team): Eubank was a better hitter than pitcher as a junior. His fastball sits in the mid-80s but has good movement, and he throws a lot of strikes and has room to grow. He has committed to Cal State Los Angeles, an NCAA Division II progam, but D-I schools are showing some interest.
Chris Chinea, c, Gulliver Prep, Miami (second team): Chinea has decent catch-and-throw skills and some power. He didn't get a lot of buzz from scouts during the spring, so they'll see how he develops in college. After originally committing to Miami, Chinea now will attend Louisiana State.
Scott Kingery, ss, Mountain Pointe HS, Phoenix (second team): At 5-foot-8 and 150 pounds, Kingery was too small for scouts. Nevertheless, he hit .495 for his career and Mountain Pointe coach Brandon Buck says Kingery is the best defensive shortstop in school history. He'll attend Central Arizona CC and is getting interest from several Division I programs on the West Coast.
Chase Domino, of, Fairhope (Ala.) HS (third team): Also a quarterback at Fairhope, Domino has some pull-side power and shows the ability to make two-strike adjustments. Scouts opted to evaluate him further at East Central (Miss.) CC next year rather than draft him in June.
Andrew Stevenson, of, St. Thomas More HS, Lafayette, La. (third team): Another Louisiana State signee, Stevenson has plus speed but needs to get stronger and develop offensively.
Conner Alford, rhp, Tattnall Square Academy, Macon, Ga. (third team): Though Alford went 11-0, 0.76 with a 116-9 K-BB ratio, his fastball usually sat in the mid-80s and topped out at 89 mph. He could add more velocity if he fills out his 6-foot-3, 185-pound frame while at Middle Georgia JC.
Adam Schaly, lhp, Ashland (Ohio) HS (third team): Like Alford, Schaly is polished but pitches at 84-86 mph with his fastball. He'll attend Stetson.
Toby Thomas, rhp, Fairhope (Ala.) HS (third team): Domino's teammate at Fairhope has a high-80s fastball and an upper-70s slider. He's ticketed for Pensacola State (Fla.) JC.