Ask BA

If you have a question, send it to Please include your full name and hometown if you'd like your letter to be considered for use in an upcoming column. Also, please understand that we can't respond to every question.

On our Draft Blog, we've presented several charts that break down all of the activity at the signing deadline. Our latest analysis shows how much teams spent versus how much MLB recommended for their slots in the first 10 rounds.

Thanks to Zach Lee's stunning $5.25 million bonus providing the spark, the Dodgers ranked first by spending 224 percent of their bonus allowance. Right behind Los Angeles came the Red Sox at 195 percent and the Tigers at 191 percent. Boston signed four players to seven-figure bonuses, while Detroit gave sandwich pick Nick Castellanos $3.45 million, the largest bonus ever outside of the first round.

The Brewers (52 percent) and Diamondbacks (66 percent) brought up the rear, in large part because they failed to sign their first-round picks. Among clubs who did land their first-rounders, the White Sox and Phillies (both 87 percent) ranked the lowest.

While the Nationals set a record for overall draft spending at $11,927,200, they came in eighth at 165 percent.

    The Pirates Top 10 Prospects list has seen its share of movement this year with graduations to the majors, draft signings, injuries, etc. What would the list look like after the signing deadline? I would guess that Jameson Taillon and Stetson Allie would rank first and second, but who would round out the Top 10?

    Chris Gaul

    What would the Pirates Top 10 Prospects list look like now with both Jameson Taillon and Stetson Allie signed? Where would Luis Heredia rank?

    Rob Maxwell

After the Pirates signed Taillon and Allie at the deadline and then added Heredia out of Mexico three days later—total cost for the three pitchers: $11.35 million—I did an interview with Pittsburgh radio host Rocco DeMaro. Rocco wondered if it was the best week for the franchise since it played in the 1992 National League Division Series, and he might just be right. The Pirates grabbed three potential aces who are exactly the kind of difference-makers that their rotation has lacked for a long time.

With those three players joining the organization, and Pedro Alvarez, Brad Lincoln and Jose Tabata graduating to Pittsburgh, an updated Pirates Top 10 would look dramatically different than it did at the start of the season. Here's how I see it:

1. Jameson Taillon, rhp
The next Josh Beckett signed for a franchise-record $6.5 million.
2. Stetson Allie, rhp
He and Taillon had the two best arms in the 2010 draft.
3. Tony Sanchez, c
Broken jaw in June has been lone setback for 2009 first-rounder.
4. Luis Heredia, rhp
Projectable 6-foot-6, 185-pounder already throws 92-93 mph.
5. Starling Marte, of
Speedster has hit .319/.388/.432 in full-season ball.
6. Jeff Locke, lhp
Part of the Nate McLouth trade, he has a solid four-pitch mix.
7. Andrew Lambo, of
Former Dodgers No. 1 prospect just arrived in the Octavio Dotel deal.
8. Bryan Morris, rhp
Flashes a low-90s fastball and downer curve; needs to stay healthy
9. Chase d'Arnaud, ss/2b
Not having his best year, but profiles as a steady middle infielder.
10. Rudy Owens, lhp
He keeps succeeding with very good command of fringy stuff.

    Who had the best draft out of the fiscally conservative teams?

    Will Woodward

Will asked a good financially related draft question in the last Ask BA, and he's back with another. Of the teams that didn't spend the $6.5 million all 30 clubs averaged in bonus outlays in the 2010 draft, the Rockies, Reds and Braves got the most talent.

Colorado ($4.8 million in bonuses, which ranked 18th) landed a promising power hitter and athlete in outfielder Kyle Parker (first round), who will become a full-time baseball player after he quarterbacks Clemson this fall. The Rockies also landed righthanders Peter Tago (sandwich) and Chad Bettis (second), who were borderline first-round talents. Josh Rutledge (third) was one of the better defensive shortstops in the draft, and Will Swanner (who cost $490,000 in the 15th round) is a catcher with all-around potential.

Cincinnati ($5.7 milllion, 16th) got creative, signing Yasmani Grandal (first) to a big league contract with a reduced $2 million bonus, which freed up the money to spend $975,000 on Drew Cisco (sixth) and $500,000 on Kyle Waldrop (12th). Grandal was the best catching prospect in the draft, while Cisco had the best command of any high school pitcher and Waldrop is an explosive outfielder. Potential five-tool outfielder Ryan LaMarre was a steal in the second round.

Atlanta ($3.9 million, 28th) did the most with less. Despite giving up their first-round pick to sign free agent Billy Wagner, the Braves still came away with athletic middle infielders Matt Lipka (sandwich) and Andrelton Simmons (second), plus productive college hitters Todd Cunningham (second) and Joe Leonard (third).

    I read the scouting report on Tyrell Jenkins Premium, the righthander the Cardinals signed in the supplemental first round. The biggest point that keeps coming across is that he was the most athletic pitcher in this year's draft class. But how does he project in terms of his pitches? And is being the most athletic pitcher a key selling point? Or is that more like being the first baseman with the best curveball?

    T.J. Crawford

Jenkins, who starred in four sports (baseball, football, basketball, track) at Henderson (Texas) High, earned his $1.3 million bonus with his stuff as much as his athleticism. The Baylor quarterback recruit has a quick, whippy arm that delivers fastballs that sit at 92-93 mph and touch 95. He also shows good aptitude for spinning a curveball, while his slider and changeup are in the early stages of development.

Athleticism matters a lot with pitchers. The more athletic the pitcher, the more likely that he'll be able to repeat his delivery, which should result in better consistency with his pitches and command. Athleticism also should lead to a sounder delivery with less effort, which should help keep a pitcher healthier in the long run.

« Aug. 10 Ask BA