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June 5, 2012

Future Shock

First Round Recap

by Kevin Goldstein

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There is no question that the first round of the 2012 draft was a weird one, but the question is why. The eight players expected to be the first eight players selected turned out to be just that, just not in the order anyone expected. An anticipated college-heavy teens turned into a run on high school talent, but we might never know if that was because of a flattened ranking of talent, or (more likely) because teams were scrambling during their five-minute windows to assess signability. Regardless, here's how everything went down.

1. Houston Astros: Carlos Correa, SS, Puerto Rico Baseball Academy
There were some rumblings on Sunday that the Astros had backed off a bit on Appel after making some initial feelers as to his signability. That seemed to make Buxton the obvious pick by default, but Correa was always in play here after his lights-out private workout. A surprise, but a pleasant one, as the Astros selected who I had as the No. 1 talent in the draft. The question remains as to whether the Astros genuinely preferred Correa, or if they think they can shave a little cash off the $7.2 million suggested slot, a theory that received a boost when Houston selected hard-to-sign Lance McCullers with the 41stoverall selection.
Accompanying Pixies Song: “I'm Amazed”

2. Minnesota Twins: Byron Buxton, OF, Minnesota Twins
This seemed like it would be a binary decision all along: the Twins would select who was left between Appel and Buxton. But suddenly both players were available. The Astros passing on Appel reinforced the tough negotiation rumors, and in the end, Appel might as well have not even been on the board. Buxton is the kind of high-ceiling, toolsy talent the system needs, but he does not project as a quick mover, so Twins fans will have to exercise patience.
Accompanying Pixies Song: “La La Love You”

3. Seattle Mariners: Mike Zunino, C, Florida
The Mariners were favored to take Correa by many in the industry, but those that thought otherwise all bet on Zunino, who might have had his biggest fan in scouting director Tom McNamara. With such a lopsided system in favor of pitching, Appel just wasn't in the cards, and Zunino is the perfect fit. He allows the Mariners to give up the ghost that is Jesus Montero at catcher; beyond Zunino's baseball talent, there's not another catcher in this draft you'd rather have your top prospects throwing to.
Accompanying Pixies Song: “Head On”

4. Baltimore Orioles: Kevin Gausman, RHP, LSU
The Orioles loved Buxton, but knew that was never a realistic possibility. This was another poor spot for Appel to slot, as there was reason to believe that the Orioles actually had Gausman as the number one pitcher on their board.
Accompanying Pixies Song: “Lovely Day”

5. Kansas City Royals: Kyle Zimmer, RHP, San Francisco
The Royals seemed like a wild card leading up to this selection, much of that revolving around speculation that when GM Dayton Moore saw Zimmer late in the season, he saw the bad, injured version. In the end, Moore trusted his scouts for this pick. As for Appel, the further he fell, the more difficult it became to select him. If the Astros were turned off of selecting him at a slot of $7.2 million, how could the Royals think about it with a slot figure at less than half of that?
Accompanying Pixies Song: “Trompe Le Monde”

6. Chicago Cubs: Albert Almora, OF, Mater Academy (FL)
There was no pick in my—and I'm guessing anyone's—mock draft that inspired more confidence. In the last 72 hours leading up to the draft, there wasn't even a whisper of another name here, even under a strange scenario where Correa would also be available. 
Accompanying Pixies Song: “Here Comes Your Man”

7. San Diego Padres: Max Fried, LHP, Harvard-Westlake HS (CA)
The Padres had visions of Correa and Almora dancing in their head on Sunday night, but it was always a pipe dream. Fried was always the backup plan, and not one the Padres would be disappointed in. Once the Padres passed (as expected) on Appel, the amazing speculation began that he could fall as far as 16 to the Nationals, or even 31 to the Yankees.
Accompanying Pixies Song: “I've Been Waiting For You”

8. Pittsburgh Pirates: Mark Appel, RHP, Stanford
And let the shenanigans begin. Speculation about Appel plummeting ended quickly, but while teams scrambled to figure out their own picks, they also wondered how a deal would get done. If Appel was going to be problematic at No. 1 overall, what happens to a team with a slot of $2.0 million in a system where creativity isn't anywhere close to as easy as it once was? We already have drama, as Appel released a statement that said, in its entirety: “I'm currently concentrating on winning a national championship & finishing my academic endeavors at Stanford. I will address the possibility of a professional career in due time.” Does that sound like somebody excited about getting going in professional baseball, or does it sound like a first shot across the bow? Expect shenanigans here, folks. Major shenanigans.
Accompanying Pixies Song: “Something Against You” or “Gouge Away”

9. Miami Marlins: Andrew Heaney, LHP, Oklahoma State
The weirdness in the first eight picks might have created some conservative thinking in the picks right below, as the Marlins went from targeting high school outfielders to taking arguably the safest pick in the draft.
Accompanying Pixies Song: “Levitate Me”

10. Colorado Rockies: David Dahl, OF, Oak Mountain HS (AL)
At this point a lot of talk started about Texas high school outfielder Courtney Hawkins dropping, for reasons that are not quite clear yet. Dahl was the Rockies' first choice anyway after a monster private workout.
Accompanying Pixies Song: “Blown Away”

11. Oakland Athletics: Addison Russell, SS, Pace HS (FL)
And this is where things get a little bit weird. The A's were in reaction mode all along, hoping for weird scenarios that had a player dropping to them. That didn't happen, and Oakland's board featured players of every type, but few thought they would take a player like Russell. Not only is he being advised by Scott Boras, but he's the first high school up the middle player for Oakland to tab with their first pick since Lee Tinsley in 1987.
Accompanying Pixies Song: “Oh My Golly!”

12. New York Mets: Gavin Cecchini, SS, Barbe HS (LA)
The Mets seemed pretty fixated on taking a high school player here, and had a willingness to spend as well. That led to some Lucas Giolito rumors, but in the end they went with Cecchini, who was liked by plenty of teams, but had a price tag that was seen as a bit ahead of his talent.
Accompanying Pixies Song: “Dig For Fire”

13. Chicago White Sox: Courtney Hawkins, OF, Carroll HS (TX)
The Hawkins drop was mysterious, but the White Sox couldn't pass on him after seemingly focusing on college arms. The second he signs, Hawkins becomes the No. 1 prospect in the system by a wide margin, and general manager Kenny Williams did the right thing by telling Hawkins to knock it off with the back flips.
Accompanying Pixies Song: “No. 13 Baby”

14. Cincinnati Reds: Nick Travieso, RHP, Archbishop HS (FL)
This was the first real eye-opener, and the first indication that teams in the mid-to-late teens were spending most of the five-minute allotments focused on signability. Either that, or the tier two college arms just weren't as enticing as originally thought.
Accompanying Pixies Song: “Is She Weird?”

15. Cleveland Indians: Tyler Naquin, OF, Texas A&M
This was the biggest surprise of the draft. Naquin certainly has a plus hit tool, but he could fit in a corner, where his power doesn't profile well. It looked like his most optimistic landing spot was with Atlanta at 21, and it's easy to think the Indians might have been looking to cut a deal in order to save money elsewhere.
Accompanying Pixies Song: “Weird At My School”

16. Washington Nationals: Lucas Giolito, RHP, Harvard-Westlake HS (CA)
Heading into the final hours before the draft, it became clear that Lucas Giolito was going to be selected in the first round. Washington makes sense due to their history of aggressive drafting, as well as their track record of not shying away from pitchers with injury histories, but there are questions about how the Nationals are going to sign him with a budget cap of just under $4.5 million for all of their picks in the first ten rounds. Either Giolito's price fell, or the Nationals have something creative in mind. They didn't just take him on a lark.
Accompanying Pixies Song: “Stormy Weather”

17. Toronto Blue Jays: D.J. Davis, OF, Stone HS (MS)
With three supplemental first-round picks, the Blue Jays decided to spread their risk, and went conservative with their first pick in order to spend a little more money later, with a likely candidate needing an over-pay being supplemental first-round pick Matt Smoral.
Accompanying Pixies Song: “Dig For Fire”

18. Los Angeles Dodgers: Corey Seager, 3B, Northwest Cabarrus HS (NC)
The Dodgers seemed to be focused on high school arms, but made a statement with Seager, who has a rumored price tag well over the slot of $1.95 million here. This is the first good sign for Dodgers fans about how things will work under new ownership.
Accompanying Pixies Song: “The Happening”

19. St. Louis Cardinals: Michael Wacha, RHP, Texas A&M
When doing the mock draft on Sunday night, it was hard to find a home for Wacha. It didn't make sense to me at the time, but in the end, there really wasn't a home for him. This is a great find for St. Louis at 19, but he won't be an easy sign here, which likely led to their selection four picks later.
Accompanying Pixies Song: “Brick Is Red”

20. San Francisco Giants: Chris Stratton, RHP, Mississippi State
The second of the college arms expected to go in the teens, Stratton's age (he turns 22 this summer) possibly worked against him, as scouts had problems projecting him out, and his secondary pitches still need development.
Accompanying Pixies Song: “Tame”

21. Atlanta Braves: Lucas Sims, RHP, Brookwood HS (GA)
After an uninspiring, college-based draft in 2011, the Braves returned to predictable form by taking the best high school arm from their back yard.
Accompanying Pixies Song: “The Thing”

22. Toronto Blue Jays: Marcus Stroman, RHP, Duke
Stroman seemed to be the Plan B player for any number of teams in front of this pick, and this could be a steal here. If the Blue Jays sign him quickly and commit to a bullpen role, Stroman could be pitching important big league innings by September.
Accompanying Pixies Song: “Isla De Encanta”

23. St. Louis Cardinals: James Ramsey, OF, Florida State
While the Cardinals where surely happy to get Wacha, it forced a budget-conscious pick here. Ramsey has no weakness, but just average to slightly-above tools across the board. His makeup gives him a chance to exceed scouting expectations.
Accompanying Pixies Song: “Down To The Well”

24. Boston Red Sox: Devin Marrero, SS, Arizona State
Marrero was initially expected to go eighth, and then 16th, and ultimately 24th. He was just too good to pass up here as a plus defensive shortstop, despite the questions about his bat.
Accompanying Pixies Song: “The Sad Punk”

25. Tampa Bay Rays: Richie Shaffer, 3B, Clemson
It's rare to find the best college hitter in the draft at 25, and despite being linked to athletes like Davis and Lewis Brinson, Tampa Bay ended Shaffer's slide. If he's a third baseman, he's a steal here. If he has to move to first, he belongs here.
Accompanying Pixies Song: “Vamos”

26. Arizona Diamondbacks: Stryker Trahan, C, Acadiana HS (LA)
Arizona was expected to be focusing on youthful upside from position players and, with power at a premium, Trahan was their selection. Whether he's a catcher or not is an open debate.
Accompanying Pixies Song: “The Navajo Know”

27. Milwaukee Brewers: Clint Coulter, C, Union HS (WA)
Coulter was connected to the Brewers for a long time, and ultimately landed here. He's a big, physical, immensely strong player, with some questions about his pure hit tool.
Accompanying Pixies Song: “Winterlong”

28. Milwaukee Brewers: Victor Roache, OF, Georgia Southern
The Brewers decided to double-dip on power with their second pick. With a healthy 2012 season, Roache would have been a mid first-round pick, but his severe wrist injury scared off too many teams. A risky pick, but there's a potential payoff here as well.
Accompanying Pixies Song: “Break My Body”

29. Texas Rangers: Lewis Brinson, OF, Coral Springs HS (FL)
With a packed system and late picks, the Rangers tend to focus on upside athletes, regardless of the risk. Brinson's upside rivals that of some Top 10 talents, but there is sushi-grade tuna that is less raw.
Accompanying Pixies Song: “Build High”

30. New York Yankees: Ty Hensley, RHP, Sante Fe HS (OK)
The Yankees decided to also focus on upside, and Hensley offers plenty of that. He's a massive right-hander with plenty of size and plenty of right-now velocity, but his mechanics will need some refinement, and there are concerns about his conditioning long-term.
Accompanying Pixies Song: “Gigantic”

31. Boston Red Sox: Brian Johnson, LHP, Florida
As he's being advised by Scott Boras, Deven Marrero is not going to come cheaply, so the Red Sox balanced their first pick with some safety here. Johnson is an athletic and polished left-hander, but his stuff doesn't excite.
Accompanying Pixies Song: “Velvety Instrumental Version”

Kevin Goldstein is an author of Baseball Prospectus. 
Click here to see Kevin's other articles. You can contact Kevin by clicking here

Related Content:  Prospects,  2012 Draft

75 comments have been left for this article. (Click to hide comments)

BP Comment Quick Links


Kevin, What is Appel's future ceiling in a rotation, 2? The Pirates haven't been shy spending money in the draft. Any way that Boras and Pirates work together to circumvent draft rules and get Appel the most money allowed?

Jun 05, 2012 05:52 AM
rating: 1
BP staff member Kevin Goldstein
BP staff

Like I said, shenanigans. Figure what those will be? Good luck.

Jun 05, 2012 11:25 AM

Great article, though considering the A's seemed to totally overreach for a Boras client, I would have used the Pixies "Where is My Mind".

Jun 05, 2012 06:24 AM
rating: 6


Jun 05, 2012 08:51 AM
rating: 0

Since they didn't pick until the supplemental is there any way we could get your opinion on one of the Phillies picks as a treat.

Jun 05, 2012 07:18 AM
rating: 1

Kevin: The Orioles are saying that they had Gausman above Appel on their board (as you indicate). Is that a reasonable position, based on talent, or do you think that the O's passed on Appel for signability reasons?

Jun 05, 2012 07:18 AM
rating: 1
BP staff member Kevin Goldstein
BP staff

I have every reason to believe that Baltimore had Gausman as their No. 1 pitcher on the board.

Jun 05, 2012 11:27 AM

So I'm curious how people think the signability problem is going to play out--it seems like it might be a problem, but might it also be the case that players are just going to have to accept what they're offered, or go back into the pool next year?
In previous years you could hold out, hoping someone would sign you for big bucks the next year, but now, unless you seriously improve your stock for the next year and move up the draft board, you don't have much leverage, it seems.

Jun 05, 2012 07:30 AM
rating: 0
BP staff member Kevin Goldstein
BP staff

Everyone is curious how it's going to work out. You are seeing today that a lot of teams are balancing their picks and finding signability guys later to save some money here and there.

Jun 05, 2012 11:28 AM

I was not aware there are so many Pixies songs I have never heard.

Jun 05, 2012 07:31 AM
rating: 3

Can someone help me understand how Appel could possibly be a signing risk for the Astros at #1 overall (I understand why he became a risk the further he dropped)? With a slot system in place and no more major league deals, how much better can he hope to do than taking slot money at #1 overall? What leverage does he have? He's a college junior, so he goes back for his senior season and risks injury, degraded performance, or a stronger competing draft class just to get drafted #1 again next year with the same slot system in place? That seems like a terrible risk/reward. Or is it actually likely that teams will blow through slot and offer $10+ mm to a late first rounder and eat the luxury tax? Or does Boras have something up his sleeve to foil the new slot system (e.g. playing independent league ball for a year until becoming a free agent)?

Jun 05, 2012 07:38 AM
rating: 5

I guess the risk that his demands outweigh what the draft pool the Astros have. If he won't sign for less than 9 million (just a random number) then the Astros have to pool funds from other picks. Plus, I think Boras is the agent most likely to try and find and force loopholes in the new CBA. Regardless of Appel's apparent lack of leverage why risk losing pick 1.1 and enduring the Boras induced headaches, when there are at least two other guys who are suitable talents for top overall pick?

Now that the Astros seem to be playing closer to their true talent I can start dreaming about them having 1.1 or 1.2 next year!

Jun 05, 2012 08:40 AM
rating: 3

"Now that the Astros seem to be playing closer to their true talent I can start dreaming about them having 1.1 or 1.2 next year!"

Not if the Padres have anything to say about it!

Jun 05, 2012 09:12 AM
rating: 5

Don't forget the Cubs and Twinkies!

Jun 05, 2012 09:39 AM
rating: 2

I understand why the Astros wouldn't want to mess with a signing risk, but why would Appel ever send the signal that #1 slot money wasn't good enough? The risk/reward seems terrible for him, as outlined in my previous comment. Put it this way - if merely signalling a signing risk slid him from 1st to 8th, he's now got to convince the Pirates to go $4.3 mm over slot just to match what he would have gotten as slot money at #1 overall to Houston. And his only leverage to extract that is threatening to go back for his senior year of college, which is a risk, also outlined above. How does that make any sense? It seems more likely to me that the Astros simply preferred Correa, the Twins preferred Buxton, and for the next five teams any small preference they might have had for Appel over their actual draft choices, if any, was outweighed by increasing signing risk as the slot amount quickly stepped down. I assume Kevin has more information than I do and the Astros really were worried about signability, but I still don't understand the strategy from Appel/Boras. The cynic in me thinks Boras is using Appel as a guinea pig to figure out a way to keep the new draft rules from restricting his clients' paydays (and, by extension, his own).

Jun 05, 2012 10:17 AM
rating: 4

Agree with what you said, but you should also consider that Boras simply misplayed his hand. Maybe he is fallible after all.

Jun 05, 2012 10:45 AM
rating: 0

When they are talking about signability at 1.1, they don't mean whether they can get someone to sign, it's about how much it will cost. Looking at Houston picking McCullers at 41, it seems that they feel they can get Correa to sign significantly below 1.1 slot, which will allow them to get McCullers as well. If Appel was asking for full slot + 5%, then you could see why they might go with Correa if it allows them better picks later on.

Jun 05, 2012 13:30 PM
rating: 2

No doubt. That is why if your product is viewed as interchangable with the other alternatives, it makes little sense to increase the price. It was a buyers market for the Astros as Appel was just one of many agreeable choices. Boras should have recognized that.

Jun 05, 2012 14:50 PM
rating: 1
Mtn Jam

KG, are you ready for all the Marrero/Iglesias questions?

Jun 05, 2012 07:49 AM
rating: 1

I'm confused about something. The "signability" issue seems to revolve around the penalties teams will pay if they offer draftees contracts that, in aggregate, exceed their allocations. Maury Brown once said, apparently quoting from an MLBPA release, that those penalties could range up to loss of draft choices in future years. However, I've read through the relevant parts of the CBA, and I don't see where these penalties are mentioned for the Rule 4 draft. They're there for the "International" draft if one ever occurs, and have counterparts in the "pool" for International signings if the countries don't get their act together for an International draft, but I simply don't see it for Rule 4, particularly this year.

So what are the penalties for a team significantly overspending this year? Because they don't appear to be as I had previously understood them to be. Cite language from MLB, please; people's "opinions" on this seem to be predicated on some assumptions that I don't think are valid.

Jun 05, 2012 08:29 AM
rating: 1


Jun 05, 2012 11:29 AM
rating: 1
BP staff member Kevin Goldstein
BP staff

1. Exceed the signing budget less than 5%: 75 percent tax on money over the budget.
2. Exceed by 5-10%: 75 percent tax on money over and loss of first-round pick in the next year's draft.
3. Exceed by 10-15%: 100 percent tax and loss of first and second-round pick.
4. Exceed by more than 15%: 100 percent tax and loss of first-round picks in the next TWO drafts.

Jun 05, 2012 11:55 AM

Right, this is consistent with what Maury says on his bizofbaseball site too. However, I am unable to find anything in the CBA that confirms this until the International draft starts (and I've looked about five times). Was this penalty worked out in some side document rather than in the CBA itself, or what? Lacking an International draft in 2013, there will be other penalties for international signings (prohibition of high bonuses), but that doesn't affect the Rule 4 draft.

Jun 05, 2012 12:19 PM
rating: 0
BP staff member Kevin Goldstein
BP staff

It's in the CBA. The entirety of the CBA is not available to the public.

Jun 05, 2012 12:27 PM

Thanks. I'd wondered about exactly that point.

Jun 05, 2012 13:12 PM
rating: -1
Richard Bergstrom

What determines who has what level of access to the CBA? Do agents have full access, for example? What about writers/broadcasters? What if I'm a law student doing research on sports unions?

Jun 05, 2012 13:40 PM
rating: 1

I would have figured "Wave of Mutilation" for Roache, but "Break My Body" certainly works.

Jun 05, 2012 09:22 AM
rating: 3

Did any of the picks get Lasik recently? Because "Debaser."

Jun 05, 2012 10:20 AM
rating: 3
Pat Folz

I was thinking a lefty with a good pick-off move. Or perhaps a pitcher with a double play-inducing sinker...

Jun 05, 2012 17:01 PM
rating: 0
Karl Hungus

I was trying to figure out how you would work Wave of Mutilation into the Pixie mix, as it were, and I am glad you took a pass.

Jun 05, 2012 10:21 AM
rating: 2
BP staff member Kevin Goldstein
BP staff

Also took a pass on Where Is My Mind? in the end.

Jun 05, 2012 11:56 AM

Is there any truth to the rumor that Stratton has hips like Cinderella?

Jun 05, 2012 10:34 AM
rating: 1

Kudos to KG for resisting the temptation of using "Monkey Gone to Heaven" for any of the picks. I know it was late at night.

Jun 05, 2012 10:51 AM
rating: 1

Appel will be a tougher sign than Josh Bell and 10x tougher than Pedro Alvarez. Boras will go in with the position that #8 money is essentialy Worst Case Scenario. Appel could disappoint or get hurt (not seriously) in his senior season and still be a Top 10 pick next June. So they will hold the Pirates hostage.

I see zero chance that the Pirates have Appel AND their first round pick next year. Boras will force them to go > 5% above the bonus pool. Guaranteed.

More likely, the Pirates will balk and Appel will return for his senior season. Boras, horseshoe lodged firmly in hind quarters, will find a team like the Cubs to pay up next year, and he'll come out shining once again.

Shenanigans indeed.

Jun 05, 2012 11:15 AM
rating: 0

The most Boras could realistically extract from anyone next year is 5% above #1 slot, i.e. 5% more than he could have gotten with a straight slot bonus from Houston this year with no fuss. Why? Whoever drafts first isn't going to be convinced he's worth both the first overall pick AND loss of the next year's first rounder (especially since said team will likely have another high pick). And any pick below #1 overall would require > 15% over slot just to match the #1 slot amount, triggering the forfeiture of TWO first round picks (not to mention the luxury tax). I can't see anyone doing that for a guy who was not even a clear cut #1 overall in a weak draft class. So how is Boras going to get materially more than he could have gotten just by playing it straight and taking #1 slot money from Houston? And how is that worth the risk? The only way it makes sense to me is if he goes indy league, becomes a free agent, and signs for substantially more than the draft will allow in 2 years.

I think Boras will definitely make the arguments you guys outline to the Pirates and try to force them to pay up, but that's still going to net Appel maybe $3.2 mm, which is less than half what he'd get signing for #1 slot money. I just can't figure out how this math would lead Boras to signal signability challenges to Houston, or for that matter why signability would ever really come into play at the #1 overall pick under the new rules.

Jun 05, 2012 12:21 PM
rating: 0

Replying to myself, apparently the Pirates would get a #9 pick next year if unable to sign this years #8 pick.

Seems fairly low risk for the Pirates - offer slightly above slot money to Appel. If he takes it you've gotten a bargain with the #8 pick. Otherwise you've got an extra first round pick next year.

Jun 05, 2012 13:24 PM
rating: 1

So what do the Pirates lose if Appel refuses to sign and returns to Stanford? Do they get any compensation for the lost draft pick?

Jun 05, 2012 13:01 PM
rating: 0

I believe they get to pick after the eighth pick, and get an appropriate amount added to their cap, so it isn't catastrophic if they can't sign.

Jun 05, 2012 13:26 PM
rating: 1

Thing is, by being a college senior, Appel will lose all leverage. So does he take the $2MM now and risk being drafted by some team next year that says, "I'm only paying you $1.5MM. Take it, or go play in the independent leagues."

Appel appears screwed (comparatively speaking), and from the rumor mills, one can blame his agent.

Jun 06, 2012 08:50 AM
rating: 1

Re: Boras/Appel can see his argument now - this guy was expected to be 1.1 and you got him at 8, so of course he's worth losing a first round pick for. Plus the Pirates are currently playing better than expected, so they'd be sacrificing pick 1.15 instead of 1.1 (so the argument goes).

Jun 05, 2012 11:38 AM
rating: 2

I hope Appell has a good lawyer. The more money a guy demands, the farther he slips in the draft, making him virtually unsignable as the amount that can be spent continues to decline. It could have been much worse; in fact, I think the Pirates did MLB a favor by taking Appell at #8. I see lawsuits coming. That's an unfair restraint of trade and violates public policy re worker mobility. The whole purpose of the new CBA is to make rich owners even richer, and their "solution" stinks like a Bombay whore.

Jun 05, 2012 13:10 PM
rating: 0

This is basically the same system as the NFL implemented - except that we haven't yet seen any NFL draft picks or their agents indicate that they might refuse to sign for the designated slot value.

And BTW, there is no evidence that the courts will intervene, because of (1) anti-trust exemptions granted by Congress and (2) these rules were put in place due to a negotiated contract between the management and players.

Jun 05, 2012 13:33 PM
rating: 0

You may be right, especilly with the current SCOTUS. I don't know diddly about the NFL. But as I watched what happened to Appel, I could not escape the feeling that it was wrong, wrong, wrong . . . just wrong.

Jun 05, 2012 14:08 PM
rating: 0

Why? That ignores the point that maybe these teams weren't as high on Appel as the media was? There certainly were beaucoup conflicting scouting reports and opinions on him.

One guy loves the velocity of his fastball, another guy hates that it comes in flat.

One guy loves his breaking pitches, another guy wants to know why he doesn't generate more swinging strikes.

I can't remember another (arguable) first overall pick that opinions were more varied on than Appel. To my unconnected-from-MLB eyes, Appel has more bust risk attached to him than any of the other college pitchers he's been compared to, and less upside than the hitters who were taken in front of him.

This wasn't done TO Appel. This was a business, and for financial AND talent reasons, seven teams decided to let him be somebody else's gamble.

Let's not turn him into a victim.

Jun 06, 2012 08:55 AM
rating: 2
Andrew G.

Yes, but the draftees were not a part of that agreement.

Jun 05, 2012 14:14 PM
rating: 0

There's no right to a union card.

Jun 05, 2012 16:00 PM
rating: 0
Richard Bergstrom

In previous drafts, "The more money a guy demands, the farther he slips in the draft." has generally been true, so little has changed.

Now, if someone gets drafted 4th as a junior and reenters the draft as a senior to try to get drafted 1st through 3rd, that could cause some problems as the team picking fourth would've wasted their pick.

Jun 05, 2012 14:15 PM
rating: 0

How do you figure it is illegal? The player's union and the owners agreed to it. There's nothing in labor law that says a profession has to have free entry. Try pulling that line about being a stagehand on Broadway, for example!

Jun 05, 2012 15:59 PM
rating: 0
Pat Folz

I think the illegality argument is that in order to have the anti-trust exemption, the CBA must be bargained "fairly and in good faith," or something, and the CBA covers amateur players (via the draft) whom both the owners and the players, the two parties in the CBA negotiation, have a vested interest in screwing, and is therefore not really 'fair.'

So challenging the draft has at least some legal merit, but it's tantamount to challenging the anti-trust agreement, and the League will fight that with the fury of 1000 suns. Plus, the player who challenges it would almost certainly be blackballed from ever actually playing in the Majors, so it's in each amateur's individual best interest to play along.

(I am not a lawyer, I just play one on baseball comment threads)

Jun 05, 2012 16:48 PM
rating: 0
BP staff member Kevin Goldstein
BP staff

Anti-trust exemption says hi.

Jun 05, 2012 17:43 PM

Was that Marvin Miller's cue to just throw up his hands and give up? There was an antitrust exemption back then, too. I think the more unfairness you can show, the more likely it is that the antitrust exemption gets reviewed by Congress and/or the courts.

Jun 06, 2012 17:21 PM
rating: 0

As someone mentioned earlier, could these draft choices not play in an Independent League next year and then be free agents next year?


Jun 05, 2012 13:16 PM
rating: 0

No, they are still subject to the draft, in the same way as Aaron Crow was a few years ago when he did that.

Jun 05, 2012 13:26 PM
rating: 0

Has BP (or anyone else) done a study on whether players who do not sign with the team that drafted them come out ahead or behind as a result? For example, would Crow have made more than the ~$4M BP estimate thru 2012 if he had signed with the Nats?

And is there any way Appel recovers the $5M or so he lost by having Boras portray him as a signability concern?

Jun 05, 2012 13:59 PM
rating: 3

I love the Yankees pick as while I grew up a fan, Ive come to admire the Rays and Redsox a lot more due to their drafting and overall strategy. I loved in the Pixies in the 80s but always wondered what the heck "Gigantic" is about: "And this I know, His teeth as white as snow, What a gas it was to see him, Walk her every day, Into a shady place, With her lips she said, She said." Granted, the Pixies' songs were always more about the energy and feeling of the songs rather than meaning.

Jun 05, 2012 13:55 PM
rating: 0
Pat Folz

It's about a gentleman with a dark complexion and, ahem, "a big, big love."


Jun 05, 2012 17:02 PM
rating: 0

When did price-fixing become legal? What need did MLB have to impose it? I think we're in for a lot of litigation and Congressional attention until this CBA abomination is abolished. Meanwhile, careers will be ruined. Appell v. MLB, coming soon to a theater near you. If not Appel, someone else will be this generation's Curt Flood or Andy Messersmith.

Jun 05, 2012 14:01 PM
rating: 0
Richard Bergstrom

You know we don't live in a free market right? It's controlled capitalism where businesses/teams are allowed to compete, but they're not allowed to "win" and form a monopoly/dynasty.

Jun 05, 2012 14:03 PM
rating: 0

Just the fact that there is a draft is a problem. Kids can't play where they want to and have to take what is being offered or miss a year or more of development. That's bad enough. Throw in arbitrary bonus and salary caps and what have you got? Indentured servitude? The money saved goes straight into the pockets of peope who have never had such restrictions imposed upon them and who are already obscenely wealthy. And this is necessary to have competitive baance? Please . . . it is for me to laugh. I'm fine with minimum and maximum payrolls. I'm not fine with taking away all of the contract leverage of the performers we pay to see.

Jun 05, 2012 14:24 PM
rating: 0
Richard Bergstrom

Yes, it's a crying shame when millionaries are subjected to a system of indentured servitude to billionaires and are forced to play a recreational game for a few years before deciding who will pay them better.

Oh, and for those poor souls who never make it to the big leagues, they'll only maybe about 20k a year for part time work.

Though, I think you're talking about the wrong sport when you're discussing arbitrary bonuses and salary caps.

Jun 05, 2012 14:36 PM
rating: 0

20 K for part time work...Ok - 20 k for part time work that precludes other work, and potentially makes impossible (or at least severely complicates) the ability to receive an education.

It isn't about whether or not they are more fortunate then you or I, it is about whether they are compensated fairly, relative to the revenue they generate for people far wealthier than they are. I would much rather see money in the hands of a prospect than in the owner's pockets.

If playing professional baseball becomes a financial risk relative to attending school/ taking a scholarship/ pursuing another sport, it hurts everyone except the owners

Jun 05, 2012 22:27 PM
rating: 2

Prospects don't generate revenue. They cost money. Only MLB players generate revenue.

Jun 05, 2012 23:44 PM
rating: 2

Well, that seems to miss the point somewhat in that MLB players don't spontaneously generate from nothing somewhere around the on deck circle, that's kind of like saying, freshman don't get degrees, graduating seniors do....well yes.

Jun 06, 2012 07:24 AM
rating: 0

But your argument is that the players producing the revenue should be rewarded, which is exactly what this CBS does. We don't compensate kids while in college--they have to earn their degree and get a job before that happens.

Jun 06, 2012 11:46 AM
rating: 0
Richard Bergstrom

In theory, this new CBA should encourage high schoolers to remain in college instead of, for example, becoming a late first round pick since their draft bonuses are capped and an extra few years at college could pump up their draft value.

Jun 06, 2012 17:47 PM
rating: 0
Richard Bergstrom

As mentioned below, prospects don't generate revenue.

Also, there are quite a few prospects who go to school and play baseball. A senior at my high school played for the Pirates during the spring and summer and went to Harvard for law school in the fall and winter.

There are many people, non-baseball players, who don't make 20k in a full-time job, perhaps have families or are single parents, and still manage to go to school. A college graduate with a Bachelor's in Education teaching in elementary skill might make as little as 25k a year while working 50+ hours a week and teaching summer school, yet still would need to go to school for a Master's Degree and a higher pay grade (up to 32-35k)

Is it harder to go to school and play ball at the same time than just play ball? Of course. But again, I'm not crying over baseball prospects. Capitalism deals with exploitation, making money in part by buying low, producing a product, and selling it high. Whether that product's a razor or a baseball team, it's the same spiel. Yet, of all the occupations in this great nation of ours, athletes are among the least exploited and the most privileged. Our mythical VORP replacement player makes around 500k a year. Make an All Star team and you can rack up DUIs and domestic violence cases to your hearts content and still get out of it with a few hours of community service. Yet, goof up in another profession and no matter how many degrees you have, you might never work in it again.

Yet you seem to want to hand athletes another silver spoon?

Jun 06, 2012 17:57 PM
rating: 0

I don't get the hand wringing over the CBA. Sure, the rules change the economics from what they were, but the previous economics were also artificial. The only reason people would pay 7 million for someone who most likely won't help them for years is that there are rules which give the club control over the player for X years and control costs through arbitration. Take that "artificial structure" away and the prices for draftees (or below entry level labor) would completely plummet.

At the end of the day, there will always be an artificial structure imposed on the industry, presumably for the greater good of the industry, with the benefits shared by both labor and ownership. They could have settled on a number of structures, none of which are any more "unfair" than others. Using the law to make it all a truly free market would collapse the industry, and both parties realize this. Thus the agreement.

Jun 05, 2012 15:11 PM
rating: 2

The real issue with the CBA is not whether it is fair or not.

A. It does not address what it is supposed to address (at least publicly), which is redistribution of talent - it clearly does not. Whether it does this better or worse than the previous deal is somewhat immaterial, the object is to do it correctly.

B. Late round talent that could be head for overslot (the Josh Bell's and Nicky Delmonicos) won't sign.

These things are very hand-wring-worthy

Jun 05, 2012 22:30 PM
rating: 1

I'm not so sure about your claim. The Astros presumably needed the most talent, and this system might well allow them to acquire more than everyone else. In that was the goal, the new system may have been a big success. To your other point, time will tell. Those types of players may not sign out of high school, but out of college instead. From an industry's point of view, why would it care? Hopefully, those players won't avoid baseball altogether, but my suspicion is that concern is a bit over-hyped, but we'll see.

Jun 06, 2012 06:10 AM
rating: 1

fair point

Jun 06, 2012 07:25 AM
rating: 1

Hey, it could have been worse: Courtney Hawkins could have tried to do a mortal.

Jun 05, 2012 14:11 PM
rating: -1

Ken Williams got a bargain in round 1; but he made up for it by picking a 3rd round talent with pick 48.

Jun 05, 2012 15:12 PM
rating: 0

I know you can't trade draft picks, but what is to prevent the Pirates from signing Appel for slot and then turning around and trading him shortly thereafter? The acquiring team could then just decide TNSTAAPP, put Appel on the 25 man and then negotiate a deal through his free agency years for much beyond draft slot bonuses. It's not like Appel is ever going to throw much harder than the mid-90s .Tim Lincecum and Stephen Strasburg were pretty much just killing time during their minor league careers, such as they were, is there any reason to think Appel will be much different?

Jun 05, 2012 15:32 PM
rating: 0

Well, the first thing is that you're not allowed to trade players until a year after their signing date, so he'd have to be traded as a PTBNL.
The second thing is that Appel isn't Strasburg or Lincecum. Nobody seems to think that he's ready to pitch in the majors right now. There is more to it than throwing hard.

Jun 05, 2012 17:27 PM
rating: 0

"I am really proud to be selected by the Pittsburgh Pirates in the first round of the MLB draft. It has always been a dream of mine to play professional baseball. I feel grateful and honored to be one step closer to that dream." -Mark Appel

What he could have said... and THEN played hardball behind the scenes.

Jun 05, 2012 16:47 PM
rating: 3
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