Gurriel Brothers, Including Star Yulieski, Leave Cuba For MLB
Yulieski Gurriel, long considered both the best major league prospect and the best player in Cuba, has left the island with his brother Lourdes Jr., also a strong MLB prospect […]
Draft And Follow Update
By Allan Simpson and John Manuel
May 30, 2005
San Jacinto (Texas) Junior College righthander Stephen Marek was set to become one of the hardest throwers in the 2005 draft class.
But the Angels wouldn’t let that happen.
The Angels, who drafted Marek last year in the 40th round, signed him in the last week of May to a bonus of $800,000. It’s the largest bonus given to the approximately 35 draft-and-follows who had signed out of junior colleges this year.
Marek was named the most outstanding pitcher at the 2004 Junior College World Series, where the Gators finished second, and has plenty of arm strength. He hit 98 mph with his fastball during fall ball and spent most of the spring working at 92-94 mph and touching 96. His curveball often gives him a second plus pitch.
A reliever at San Jac, Marek figured to go in the second or third round if he had re-entered the 2005 draft. The only juco player who is believed to have received a comparable signing bonus was Pirates draft-and-follow Brad Clapp, a righthander drafted in the 19th round out of Bellevue (Wash.) Community College last year. Clapp signed for a reported $350,000 bonus.
Juco players who get significant signing bonuses frequently have one significant tool, such as Chipola (Fla.) Junior College outfielder Darren Ford, who signed for $200,000. The Brewers' 18th-round pick in 2004 completed a .306-1-32 season with 45 stolen bases for the Indians. Ford's speed is no secret, as the Major League Scouting Bureau rates him as an 80 runner on the 20-80 scouting scale.
Other DFE tidbits:
• North Carolina’s top JC players, righthanders Marcus Covington (Braves) and Woods Fines (Devil Rays), both signed out of Louisburg JC. Covington was one of six DFEs the Braves signed, including athletic outfielder Trevion Griffin (Wallace, Ala., JC) and hard-throwing righthander Josh Ward (Chipola, Fla., JC).
• The Nationals locked up hard-hitting catcher Brian Peacock out of Manatee (Fla.) JC, who was expected to be picked in the first 10 rounds next week had he not signed.
• The Devil Rays signed shortstop Jimmy Scholzen out of Dixie State (Utah), and Scholzen will now go out on a two-year Mormon mission before playing for the Rays.
• Technically, because they didn’t go back to college, Stephen Drew and Jered Weaver count as draft-and-follow signees.
Following are players who were under control from the 2004 draft and have signed this spring. Players had until midnight on May 31, the start of the closed period, to sign--unless they were involved in postseason play, in which case they are given a 72-hour window to sign.