Updates on Kyle Funkhouser, Brendan Rodgers, Dansby Swanson, and other potential draft targets.
This past weekend kicked-off the start of the Division I college baseball season, and so too does Baseball Prospectus’ prospect team kick-off our coverage of the 2015 draft with the first installment of our Draft Ten Pack series. Each week we will bring you updates on some of the top names and rising talents across the amateur landscape, beginning this week with updates from college baseball’s opening weekend and some prep notes from the Sunshine State and an early-season Midwest showcase.
An agents advice for amateur players wondering when to hire an advisor.
It's February, which means things are coming on like a freight train in the baseball world. I am in the process of closing deals on all my clients' endorsements, filing my 2014 MLBPA paperwork, finalizing spring training responsibilities, and just overall getting ready for game season. I say game season because I don't actually get to experience an "off"season. No agent ever does. The closest I ever came to an offseason was the 10 days I spent in the Bahamas with my wife on my honeymoon, and even there by Day Five I had to deal with a now-former client getting arrested! A vendor who didn't know I was out of the country (and out of the loop) sent me an email: “Sorry about your guy.” I responded accordingly, then proceeded to flip out after Google confirmed the story.
If you’ve followed the draft closely over the past few years, one of the major underlying themes has been the lack of quality collegiate bats. Teams generally covet position players who can help quickly, but since the star-studded 2005 class that saw four college sluggers go in the first seven selections, top picks have seldom been used on collegiate hitters. In the past three editions just four college hitters have gone in the top 10 selections, and Kris Bryant and Mike Zunino are the only collegiate hitters who have gone in the top three since the start of the decade.
The author remembers 'a Hall of Fame scout if there ever was one.'
This past week my friend Bruce Seid, the Milwaukee Brewers scouting director, passed away. This is not the first time I lost a friend who was a scout. Rolando Casanova of the Detorit Tigers passed away earlier this year, as well. Bruce and Caz were both under 60 and passed away suddenly and unexpectedly. We work in show business, and death rarely creeps into our thoughts, but when it comes it hits like a sledgehammer. I want to use this column to talk about my friend and give the world a behind-the-scenes look at what a failed draft situation looks like.
Writeups on Cody Ponce, a Cape League surprise who continued to shine in the All-Star game, and other prospects.
This year’s Cape League All Star Game was interesting from both a scouting and talking point perspective. The league and managers did a great job picking the best prospects, which hasn’t always been the case in previous years. The biggest name that scouts were excited to see was Kentucky’s Kyle Cody. Cody has been brilliant for Wareham and seems to be the consensus best arm on the Cape this summer. He showed some overpowering mid-90s heat on Sunday night.
It's in the agent's interest to get the most money for his players. That's true... mostly.
When the Astros last took us back to economics class, it was for what was generally regarded as a good thing on their end. They showed how a team can use not only their leverage, but the misaligned incentives of individual players and their collective to get what appeared to be a good deal for Jon Singleton. (Whether or not Singleton’s .179/.263/.340 start with a 37 percent strikeout rate changes your opinion of the deal now, the economics do not change.)
Now somehow, a month later, we’re back. It’s probably not a coincidence that it’s the Astros again. This is what they do. From the first pick of baseball’s new amateur economy, this is what they’ve done. They play with the rules, they use their leverage, and now they’re going to be one No. 1 overall draft pick short of a trio at Camp Kissimmee next year.
The Astros had a plan that was too good to fail. So good, in fact, that they left no room for what would happen when it did.
As the clock struck seven on the evening of June 5th, the Houston Astros stared with wide eyes at a deep draft board. The organization held a handful of early picks and $13,362,200 in available spending, the most of any team, putting it in an position to load up its minor-league system with high-level draft talent. But 42 days and 22 hours after the Astros announced the first selection of the 2014 draft, the front office somehow found itself with one of the lightest pulls of the draft, a bruised reputation, and public scorn from both the MLB Players’ Association and one of the game’s most high profile agents.
What explains the low success rate of amateur prospects from the Northeast?
The Cape Cod League is the premier summer baseball league for college players. A good summer on The Cape might just make you a million dollars at draft time. I’m told there’s also a local professional team in the New England area that has had some recent success too, so good for them. And yet, in scouting circles, New England is seen as something of a desert wasteland. The standard explanation is that sure, there are athletes good enough to play professional baseball in New England. The problem is that players in Stars Hollow, Connecticut just don’t get the reps that they do in Georgia, because there’s a lot more baseball weather (read: time that it isn’t snowing) in the South.
Who won, who lost, and who got left behind in the 2012 draft? Let's redraft and find out.
It's been just over two years since the 2012 draft, and we've gotten a good look at how that crop of highly touted amateurs has has performed in the pros. To see how much perceptions of those players have changed, we decided to do the draft over again (just as we did with the 2013 draft last week), assigning 30 picks to BP authors and re-drafting from scratch, selecting only from the pool of players who were picked last year. Here's how the first-round re-draft shook out.
1:1 Houston Astros Actual Selection:Carlos Correa, SS Re-Draft Selection:Mike Zunino, C, Mariners (2012 no. 3 pick) Draft Position Change: +2 Explanation: He's not only made the big leagues, but he's the Mariners’ no. 1 catcher. We've discovered that Zunino has special framing and blocking abilities, so he's already an impact player. If his on-base skills develop, he could be one of the hidden elite players in baseball, like Jonathan Lucroy or Brian McCann. —Harry Pavlidis
For fun, Nick picks his favorite selection in each of the first 10 rounds of the 2014 First Year Player Draft.
During my Draft Wrap Chat here at Baseball Prospectus, a reader asked me for my favorite draft picks by round. I thought that was a fun question, but wanted to answer in a manner that offered a little more explanation for my selections. That's what you see below---my favorite picks for the first ten rounds (with the first and second rounds, which were larger in scope, broken down into two sections each). Hope you have as much fun reading as I did putting it together!
Who won, who lost, and who got left behind in the 2013 draft? Let's redraft and find out.
It's been a year since the 2013 draft, and we've gotten a good look at how the last crop of highly touted amateurs has has performed in the pros. To see how much perceptions of those players have changed, we decided to do the draft over again, assigning 27 picks to BP authors and re-drafting from scratch, selecting only from the pool of players who were picked last year. Here's how the first-round re-draft shook out.
1:1 Houston Astros
Actual Selection: Mark Appel
Re-Draft Selection: Kris Bryant (2013 no. 2 pick)
Reason: What has Bryant done in pro ball? Rake. In his first full season, Bryant has a slash line of .346/.453/.682 with 19 HR, plenty of strikeouts but also plenty of walks. His stock has risen because he's proven he's simply the best player from the draft by hitting for average, power and even stolen some bases. As long as Bryant continues to rake I'll continue my love for him, as will everyone else. – CJ Wittmann Analysis: Bryant moves up one spot from where he was actually taken, claiming the coveted no. 1 overall selection. The 22-year-old is terrorizing minor-league pitching and looks to be a cut above the rest of his peers from the 2013 draft class.
Pick: 1:1 Team:Houston Astros Projected Selection:Brady Aiken Reason: Since Jeff Luhnow jumped behind the wheel of the Astros franchise, the team has been in the business of selling hope, which they cryptically bottle in their own process, and deliver from within by growing an infrastructure of young, cost-controllable talent. But up until now, this talent was merely physically impressive on the field and not all that aesthetically pleasing in the face. Things will change on that front, as I have it from a good source that the Astros’ Laboratory of Analytical Science Conclusions has discovered this weakness and will work to correct the deficiency by drafting Brady Aiken, a high school lefty with a tan that just won’t quit and a facial bone structure of an in-demand and slightly Scandinavian Tommy Hilfiger model. Bonus that he’s a lefty that can actually pitch.