New Draft Rules Make Callis' Draft A Tough Task

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CHICAGO—Scouting directors told me all spring that the new draft rules made their jobs more difficult than ever. The new Collective Bargaining Agreement prescribes strict budgets for the first 10 rounds and severe draft-pick penalties for teams that exceed them by more than 5 percent.

I now feel their pain. I've conducted a mock top-10-rounds draft since 2003, and I take pride in trying to make good selections. I wince when someone brings up my choice of Jon Zeringue with the hypothetical 21st overall pick in 2004, though I can counter with Jason Heyward and Will Middlebrooks from my pretend 2007 draft haul.

My approach always has been simple: Grab the best guy on my board with my first selection and be aggressive. This year, I couldn't do that.

Randomly assigned the 22nd spot in the draft rotation and one sandwich pick, I just missed out on two of BA's top dozen prospects: Texas A&M righthander Michael Wacha (19th, Cardinals) and Duke righty Marcus Stroman (22nd, Blue Jays). At No. 23 overall, that led me to the next player on our list, Florida high school righty Lance McCullers Jr.

A mid-90s fastball, a power slider and big league bloodlines all work for me. But what doesn't is McCullers' perceived asking price, which could eat up more than half of my $4.96 million assigned bonus pool. Under the new rules, if I take McCullers, I severely limit what I can do afterward.

So I passed on McCullers and took Oklahoma high school righthander Ty Hensley (30th, Yankees). He's an athletic 6-foot-5, 220-pounder with a pair of weapons in his 92-97 mph fastball and a hard curveball. Though that's a nice package, he wasn't my first choice.

Loading Up On Bats

My best-talent-available philosophy led me to hitters with my next four selections. At No. 53, I knew I'd have a hard time signing Mississippi high school outfielder Anthony Alford (third round, Blue Jays) and Florida prep righty Walker Weickel (sandwich, Padres), so I opted for Tanner Rahier (second, Cardinals). A California high school shortstop, Rahier probably has to move to second or third base but has the bat for it, along with quality makeup.

When I chose again at No. 87 in the second round, Alford was still available, but I didn't believe I can buy him away from a Southern Miss football scholarship. Next on the board were two more expensive high schoolers, North Carolina righthander Ty Buttrey (fourth, Red Sox) and Oregon third baseman/righthander Carson Kelly (second, Cardinals). I take the plunge with Kelly, whose power and arm profile well at the hot corner.

With a 10-round budget well below the MLB average of $6.33 million, I'm essentially out on any more high schoolers or tough signs. That doesn't mean I can't find some talent, and I'm pleased with the college outfielders I land in rounds three and four.

Brandon Thomas (fourth, Pirates) played left field at Georgia Tech in deference to speedster Kyle Wren, but I think he can play center. I like the body (6-foot-3, 205 pounds), the plus speed and the possibility of average power from both sides of the plate. Texas-Arlington's Preston Beck (fifth, Rangers) gives me a right fielder who can hit for power and average while also providing average speed and plus arm strength.

I was pleasantly surprised to find St. Edward's (Texas) righthander Stephen Johnson (sixth, Giants) available in the fifth round. He may be an NCAA Division II reliever who was diagnosed with a partial elbow tear in high school, but he regularly pitched at 98 mph and peaked at 101 this spring.

Virginia high school Damion Carroll (sixth, Rays) should be signable through the sixth round, so I went the prep route one more time and took him there. While he's raw, he's a 6-foot-4, 205-pounder who can run his fastball up to 95 mph and draws comparisons to a young Lee Smith.

Michigan State third baseman Torsten Boss (eighth, Orioles) gives me good value as a quality college bat in the seventh round. He has solid tools across the board and I think he'll hit enough, even if he has to move to the outfield.

I hadn't drafted a lefthander yet, so I rectified that in the eighth round with Daniel Stumpf (ninth, Royals), named most outstanding pitcher at the Junior College World Series after leading San Jacinto (Texas) JC to a second-place finish. He has nice run on an 88-91 mph fastball that touches 94, an average changeup and good mound savvy.

To ensure that I could sign all these guys, I looked for deep discounts with college seniors with my final two selections. Jacksonville State first baseman Ben Waldrip (10th, Rockies) offers big lefthander power and feel for hitting. Trinity (Texas) righthander Ben Klimesh (15th, Reds) used his 90-95 mph fastball to lead NCAA Division III in wins (13) and strikeouts (154 in 111 innings) this spring.

I like my draft. I also liked the old draft rules better than the new ones.

Past picks from Jim Callis' hypothetical drafts:

2011 Hypothetical Draft (Picking 10th Each Round)
Round Player, Pos, School Real Life Draft
1st Taylor Jungmann, rhp, Texas Mil, 1st
Supp. 1st Daniel Norris, lhp, HS/Tennessee Tor, 2nd
2nd Andrew Susac, c, Oregon State SF, 2nd
3rd Aaron Westlake, 1b, Vanderbilt Det, 3rd
4th Tyler Marlette, c, HS/Florida Sea, 5th
5th Brandon Loy, ss, Texas Det 5th
6th Charlie Lowell, lhp, Wichita State Fla, 6th
7th Senquez Golson, of, HS/Mississippi Bos, 8th
8th Burch Smith, rhp, Oklahoma SD, 14th
9th Colton Murray, rhp, Kansas State Phi, 13th
10th Lance Jeffries, of, HS/Missouri StL, 10th
Note: Supplemental first-rounder was 44th overall choice.

2010 Hypothetical Draft (Picking 22nd Each Round)
Round Player, Pos, School Real Life Draft
1st Zack Cox, 3b, Arkansas StL, 1st
Supp. 1st Ryan LaMarre, of, Michigan Cin, 2nd
2nd Chad Bettis, rhp, Texas Tech Col, 2nd
3rd Garin Cecchini, 3b, HS/Louisiana Bos, 4th
4th Drew Cisco, rhp, HS/South Carolina Cin, 6th
5th Kendrick Perkins, of, HS/Texas Bos, 6th
6th Ben Wells, rhp, HS/Arkansas ChC, 7th
7th Tyler Green, rhp, HS/Texas Ari, 8th
8th Tyler Holt, of, Florida State Cle, 10th
9th Tyler Burgoon, rhp, Michigan Sea, 10th
10th Josh Richmond, of, Louisville Tex, 12th
Note: Supplemental first-rounder was 45th overall choice.

2009 Hypothetical Draft (Picking 15th Each Round)
Round Player, Pos, School Real Life Draft
1st Shelby Miller, rhp, HS/Texas StL, 1st
Supp. 1st Everett Williams, of, HS/Texas SD, 2nd
2nd Garrett Gould, rhp, HS/Kansas LAD, 2nd
3rd Max Stassi, c, HS/California Oak, 4th
4th Angelo Songco, of, Loyola Marymount LAD, 4th
5th Ryan Schimpf, 2b, Louisiana State Tor, 5th
6th Josh Fellhauer, of, Cal State Fullerton Cin, 7th
7th Ryan Buch, rhp, Monmouth CWS, 8th
8th Jabari Blash, of, Miami Dade CC Tex, 9th
9th Del Howell, lhp, Alabama Mil, 15th
10th Neil Medchill, of, Oklahoma State NYY, 11th
Note: Supplemental first-rounder was 41st overall choice.

2008 Hypothetical Draft (Picking 18th Each Round)
Round Player, Pos, School Real Life Draft
1st Christian Friedrich, lhp, Eastern Kentucky Col, 1st
Supp. 1st Brett DeVall, lhp, HS/Florida Atl, supp. 1st
2nd Dennis Raben, of, Miami Sea, 2nd
3rd Blake Tekotte, of, Miami SD, 3rd
4th Pete Hissey, of, HS/Pennsylvania Bos, 4th
5th Justin Parker, ss, Wright State Ari, 6th
6th Brett Hunter, rhp, Pepperdine Oak, 7th
7th Tim Federowicz, c, North Carolina Bos, 7th
8th Gabe Jacobo, 3b, Sacramento State LAA, 10th
9th Justin LaTempa, rhp, Golden West (Calif.) JC Ari, 22nd
10th Mikie Mahtook, of, HS/Louisiana Fla, 39th
Note: Supplemental first-rounder was 40th overall choice.

2007 Hypothetical Draft (Picking 11th Each Round)
Round Player, Pos, School Real Life Draft
1st Jason Heyward, of, HS/Georgia Atl, 1st
Supp. 1st Justin Jackson, ss, HS/North Carolina Tor, supp. 1st
2nd Nevin Griffith, rhp, HS/Florida CWS, 2nd
3rd Sam Demel, rhp, Texas Christian Oak, 3rd
4th T.J. McFarland, lhp, HS/Illinois Cle, 4th
5th Will Middlebrooks, 3b/rhp, HS/Texas Bos, 5th
6th Matt Angle, of, Ohio State Bal, 7th
7th Tim Smith, of, Arizona State Tex, 7th
8th Colby Shreve, rhp, CC of Southern Nevada Atl, 8th
9th Kade Koewen, of, Louisiana State-Eunice JC Bos, 9th
10th Dan Rohlfing, c, HS/Missouri Min, 14th
Note: Supplemental first-rounder was 41st overall choice.

2006 Hypothetical Draft (Picking 19th Each Round)
Round Player, Pos, School Real Life Draft
1st Brett Sinkbeil, rhp, Missouri State Fla, 1st
2nd Wes Hodges, 3b, Georgia Tech Cle, 2nd
3rd Matt Sulentic, of, HS/Texas Oak, 3rd
4th Ryan Morris, lhp, HS/North Carolina Cle, 4th
5th Chris Archer, rhp, HS/North Carolina Cle, 5th
6th Zach Daeges, of, Creighton Bos, 6th
7th Luke Gorsett, of, Nebraska StL, 7th
8th Kent Gerst, of, HS/Missouri CWS, 8th
9th Kyle Gibson, rhp, HS/Indiana Phi, 36th
10th Justin Woodall, lhp/of, HS/Mississippi NYM, 19th

2005 Hypothetical Draft (Picking 17th Each Round)
Round Player, Pos, School Real Life Draft
1st Luke Hochevar, rhp, Tennessee LA, supp. 1st
Supp. 1st Michael Bowden, rhp, HS/Illinois Bos, supp. 1st
2nd Bryan Morris, rhp, HS/Tennessee TB, 3rd
3rd Jordan Schafer, of, HS/Florida Atl, 3rd
4th Seth Johnston, ss, Texas SD, 5th
5th Aaron Cunningham, of, Everett (Wash.) CC CWS, 6th
6th Jeremy Slayden, of, Georgia Tech Phi, 8th
7th Paul Phillips, rhp, Oakland Tor, 9th
8th Daniel McCutchen, rhp, Oklahoma StL, 12th
9th Mark Wagner, c, UC Irvine Bos, 9th
10th Mike Bell, 3b, Grayson County (Texas) CC Mil, 15th
Note: Supplemental first-rounder was 35th overall choice.

2004 Hypothetical Draft (Picking 21st Each Round)
Round Player, Pos, School Real Life Draft
1st Jon Zeringue, of, Louisiana State Ari, 2nd
2nd Erik Cordier, rhp, HS/Wisconsin KC, 2nd
3rd Andrew Dobies, lhp, Virginia Bos, 3rd
4th Mike Butia, of, James Madison Cle, 5th
5th Brad McCann, 3b, Clemson Fla, 6th
6th Jason Quarles, rhp, Southern Pit, 7th
7th Grant Plumley, ss, Oral Roberts NYY, 9th
8th Richard Mercado, c, Arizona Ari, 12th
9th Jeff Gogal, lhp, Montclair State (N.J.) Fla, 12th
10th Micah Owings, rhp, Georgia Tech ChC, 19th

2003 Hypothetical Draft (Picking 31st Each Round)
Round Player, Pos, School Real Life Draft
1st Ryan Sweeney, of, HS/Iowa CWS, 2nd
2nd Tony Richie, c, Florida State ChC, 4th
3rd Cliff Davis, rhp, HS/Mississippi Hou, 6th
4th Justin James, rhp, Missouri Tor, 5th
5th Clark Girardeau, rhp, South Alabama SD, 7th
6th Andy D'Alessio, 1b, HS/Florida Cin, 10th
7th Matt Maniscalco, ss, Mississippi State TB, 8th
8th Chris Durbin, of, Baylor Bos, 10th
9th Michael Brown, of, William & Mary Det, 13th
10th Myron Leslie, ss, South Florida Phi, 11th