See also: 2014 BA 500 Draftees Who Did Not Sign
Earlier, Aaron Fitt looked at the top unsigned high school players in the 2014 draft who will make it to campus and have a chance to impact college baseball.
So how does this crop stack up against historic standards, and what is the track record for these top unsigned high school players who enter college as the most talented players in the class?
Using the Baseball America Top 200 Draft Prospects (which became the Top 500 in 2012), we can compare the top unsigned players to previous classes. The BA 500 provides a consistent means for ranking the top draft players by talent, not signability.
From this year’s Top 200, 38 players will reach campus, which is the most of any year in the sample that dates back to 2008. By that measure, this year’s crop of incoming freshmen is an above-average infusion of talent into the college game. The second-highest total belongs to last year with 35. The average of the seven-year sample is 31.5. Nearly one-fifth (19.0 percent) of all top 100 high school players have reached campus dating back to 2008.
Player value is not linear, as top 100 prospects are much more likely to become impact players than those ranked in the 101-200 range. This year there are 12 players from the top 100 that didn't sign, which is the second-largest total only to last year (14). The average before this year was 8.8 players per draft.
Unsigned top 100 prospects often emerge as top draft prospects again in three years. From 2008-2011 (the last class that the high school players have had time to advance through college and become draft eligible), 29 top 100 prospects didn't sign. 11 (38 percent) went on to become first-round or supplemental first-round picks, including a No. 1 overall pick (Gerrit Cole) and a pair of No. 2 overall picks (Kris Bryant and Danny Hultzen). Another seven (24 percent) went in the top three rounds.
On the other end of the spectrum, seven (24 percent) went after the 10th round following their college careers. Another three (10 percent) were not drafted. Dane Williams (2009) had an abbreviated college career because of injuries. DeAndre Smelter (2010) returned to football after walking nearly as many as he struck out at Georgia Tech. Connor Barron (2011) went undrafted last month as a junior but will likely be drafted next year.
|HS Year||BA Top 500 Rank||Player||Round|
|2008||17||Gerrit Cole, rhp||1.01|
|2008||25||Alex Meyer, rhp||1.23|
|2008||48||Daniel Webb, rhp||18|
|2008||52||Sonny Gray, rhp||1.18|
|2008||70||Nick Maronde, lhp||3|
|2008||72||Zack Cox, inf||1.25|
|2008||78||Brett Mooneyham, lhp||3|
|2008||79||Dan Hultzen, lhp||1.02|
|2008||80||Zach Cone, of||3|
|2008||94||Donnie Roach, rhp||3S|
|2008||95||Austin Dicharry, rhp||24|
|2009||29||LeVon Washington, of||2|
|2009||65||Brian Goodwin, of||1S|
|2009||68||Dane Williams, rhp||Not Drafted|
|2009||81||Austin Maddox, rhp||3|
|2010||15||Karsten Whitson, rhp||11|
|2010||18||Dylan Covey, rhp||4|
|2010||27||Austin Wilson, of||2|
|2010||42||Ryne Stanek, rhp||1.29|
|2010||46||A.J. Vanegas, rhp||11|
|2010||50||Kevin Gausman, rhp||1.04|
|2010||53||Kris Bryant, 3b||1.02|
|2010||72||DeAndre Smelter, rhp||Not Drafted|
|2010||91||Eric Jaffe, rhp||11|
|2010||92||Randy LeBlanc, rhp||10|
|2010||95||Stefan Sabol, c/of||17|
|2011||66||Derek Fisher, of||1S|
|2011||82||Connor Barron, ss||Not Drafted|
|2011||35||Tyler Beede, rhp||1.14|
The distribution of potential outcomes for top 100 position players is smaller than for pitchers, offering less flameout risk. More than three-fourths (78 percent) of the position players went in the top three rounds, with four picks in the first or supplemental first round (Bryant, Zack Cox, Brian Goodwin, Derek Fisher).
While the 101-200 group may not provide bring as much notoriety as the top 100 players when they begin their college careers, that group provides considerable depth, as a much greater proportion of this group reaches campus (48.9 percent) compared to the top 100 (19.0 percent).
What can we learn about the top 200 players who were in a similar situation three years ago?
Below is a list of every top 200 high school player from the 2011 draft, with what round the player was drafted out of high school, drafted out of college and their signing bonus. Three years later, this group combined to sign for nearly $20 million in bonuses in the draft last month. This group is highlighted by three first-round pitchers—Carlos Rodon (No. 3), Aaron Nola (No. 7) and Tyler Beede (No. 14)—and a supplemental first-rounder in Derek Fisher. Three others went on to become second-rounders (Taylor Sparks, Nick Burdi and Andrew Suarez) and two became third-rounders (Michael Cederoth and Aaron Brown).
|2011 Player Rank||Draft HS Rd||Player, Pos.||Round (Year)||Team||Bonus|
|35||1.21||Tyler Beede, rhp||1.14 (2014)||Giants||$2,613,200|
|66||6||Derek Fisher, of||1S.37 (2014)||Astros||$1,534,100|
|82||3||Connor Barron, ss||Not Drafted|
|104||20||Dillon Peters, lhp||10 (2014)||Marlins||$175,000|
|107||8||Senquez Golson, of||Not Drafted|
|124||25||Billy Flamion, of||15 (2013)||Dodgers||$100,000|
|131||24||Taylor Sparks, 3b||2 (2014)||Reds||$972,800|
|132||30||John Curtiss, rhp||6 (2014)||Twins||$266,900|
|133||3||Kevin Cron, 1b||14 (2014)||D’Backs|
|134||24||Nick Burdi, rhp||2 (2014)||Twins||$1,218,800|
|137||19||Hawtin Buchanan, rhp||20 (2014)||Mariners|
|139||15||Kody Watts, rhp||Not Drafted|
|148||41||Dante Flores, 2b||Not Drafted|
|149||17||Aaron Brown, of/lhp||3 (2014)||Phillies||$750,000|
|150||21||Riley Moore, c||Not Drafted|
|155||9||Andrew Suarez, lhp||2 (2014)||Nationals||Did Not Sign|
|163||22||Aaron Nola, rhp||1.07 (2014)||Phillies||$3,300,900|
|169||41||Michael Cederoth, rhp||3 (2014)||Twins||$703,900|
|170||38||Pat Connaughton, rhp||4 (2014)||Orioles||$428,100|
|185||41||Chris Mariscal, ss||14 (2014)||Mariners|
|189||39||Ricky Jacquez, rhp||25 (2013)||Mets|
|192||14||Cole Wiper, rhp||10 (2013)||Rangers||$700,000|
|196||11||Richard Prigatano, of||11 (2014)||Rockies|
|198||16||Carlos Rodon, lhp||1.03 (2014)||White Sox||$6,582,000|
The 2011 class had only three top 100 players, which makes the 2010 crop a more accurate comparison because it had 12 top 100 players, the same total as 2014. The 2011 crop produced two players that went in the top five (Bryant and Kevin Gausman) along with two other first-rounders (Ryne Stanek and Jason Hursh) and a supplemental first-rounder (Michael Lorenzen). Lefthander Kevin Ziomek and outfielder Austin Wilson both went in the second round.
|2010 Player Rank||Draft HS Rd||Player, Pos.||Round (Year)||Team||Bonus|
|15||1.09||Karsten Whitson, rhp||11 (2014)||Red Sox||$100,000|
|18||1.14||Dylan Covey, rhp||4 (2013)||Athletics||$370,000|
|27||12||Austin Wilson, of||2 (2013)||Mariners||$1,700,000|
|42||3||Ryne Stanek, rhp||1.29 (2013)||Rays||$1,755,800|
|46||7||A.J. Vanegas, rhp||11 (2014)||Dodgers||$100,000|
|50||6||Kevin Gausman, rhp||1.04 (2012)||Orioles||$4,320,000|
|53||18||Kris Bryant, 3b||1.02 (2013)||Cubs||$6,708,400|
|72||14||DeAndre Smelter, rhp||Not Drafted|
|85||5||Scott Frazier, rhp||6 (2013)||Cubs||$267,600|
|91||10||Eric Jaffe, rhp||11 (2012)||White Sox||$100,000|
|92||16||Randy LeBlanc, rhp||10 (2014)||Twins||$90,000|
|95||17||Stefan Sabol, c/of||17 (2012)||Mets||$100,000|
|117||16||Adam Duke, rhp||Not Drafted|
|118||39||John Simms, rhp||11 (2013)||Nationals||$100,000|
|131||6||Adam Plutko, rhp||11 (2013)||Indians||$300,000|
|132||10||Zack Weiss, rhp||6 (2013)||Reds||$180,000|
|133||6||Gabriel Encinas, rhp||Not Drafted|
|139||30||Brian Ragira, of||4 (2013)||Giants||$415,000|
|140||7||Michael Lorenzen, of||1.38 (2013)||Reds||$1,500,000|
|142||43||Jimmy Hodgskin, lhp||Not Drafted|
|148||26||Daniel Gibson, lhp||7 (2013)||D’Backs||$178,600|
|153||7||Austin Kubitza, rhp||4 (2013)||Tigers||$401,200|
|163||11||Tyler Kuresa, 1b||16 (2014)||Twins|
|165||18||Zach Alvord, ss||Not Drafted|
|166||19||Jacoby Jones, 3b||3 (2013)||Pirates||$612,000)|
|167||15||Sean Dwyer, of||11 (2013)||Rockies||$100,000|
|169||38||Matt Roberts, c||Not Drafted|
|173||6||Jason Hursh, rhp||1.31||Braves||$1,704,200|
|175||45||Krey Bratsen, of||Not Drafted|
|178||13||Kevin Ziomek, lhp||2||Tigers||$956,600|
|195||19||Austin Southall, of/1b||Not Drafted|
The 2009 class had five first-rounders (Goodwin, Deven Marrero, Mike Zunino, Mark Appel and Brian Johnson), as did the the 2008 class (Zack Cox, Alex Meyer, Sonny Gray, Danny Hultzen, Taylor Jungmann).
With an average of nearly five unsigned top 200 players out of high school who become first-round or supplemental first-round picks, how many will the 2014 high school class produce and who will emerge as a first rounder in three years? Only time will tell.