As many of my wonderful readers know, I absolutely loathe the draft process from the agent’s perspective. I hate recruiting. I hate the BS. I hate the lies between the teams and players, the intentional ones and the more subtle avoidances of truth. I hate watching kids fall in the draft. The only good things about the draft are when the player is selected and when the draft is over.
And yet, despite the fact that I have spent zero dollars and zero time recruiting draft prospects, I have been referred prospects each of the past three years. This year, I helped three seniors, and all three ended up in great situations.
Alex Mateo was the ace at Nova Southeastern, who ended up winning the D2 World Series. Alex trains with several of my clients who also played at Nova, and I started helping him a month or so before the draft. Hilariously, the Marlins scout who ended up taking him is a family friend. Adrian Puig was a great high school and college pitcher and, not shockingly, is a terrific scout. His father as once my father’s boss and I have known the family going back to 2003. So to have a client drafted by a guy I used to work for was a very new experience for me. Alex is signed, happy and is about to get started in the GCL before, hopefully, finishing the year in short season.
Reggie McClain, from Mizzou, is one of my favorite clients I have ever worked for. Reggie had a miserable draft experience as a junior and hired me soon after that draft. I attempted to get him signed as a free agent, but it was just better off for him to go back for his senior year. When I got to watch Reggie throw early this year I was blown away. The Mariners got a steal of a pick, because Reggie has a real chance to be something like Michael Fiers. (Full disclosure, I totally whiffed on Fiers in college after watching almost every one of his starts in 2009. Bruce Seid, the late Brewers scouting director, even told me to take a shot on him before the draft and I was too stubborn to listen. I won’t ever make a mistake like that again.) Reggie has a similar repertoire, is bigger, and throws harder than Fiers, and in my opinion is further along than Fiers was at this stage in his development. If he stays healthy, I really believe he has as good a shot as anyone to get up there. Funny note, before the draft Reggie asked me where I thought he'd go. I told him no later than 13 and hopefully to Seattle. He went in the 13th round to Seattle. That’s only the second time I have ever guessed a round/team combo for a client.
Lastly and certainly not least is Tim Lynch, ninth round by the Yankees. Not only is Tim a legitimate prospect, his backstory and his relationship with me was covered in-depth by Ken Rosenthal last week. The ESPN and ESPN Collectibles interviewed him, Topps had him on their podcast, and MLB Network covered the story. I met Tim when he was probably 13 years old. Tim was one of the regular autograph kids back in 2007 at Roger Dean Stadium right after I had left Tallahassee and moved back home. I was building up my career at that point and had many future big leaguers as clients on that Brevard team: Lorenzo Cain, Darren Ford, Alex Periard, Angel Salome, Luis Pena, Omar Aguilar, and Jeremy Jeffress. Mat Gamel and Alcides Escobar were also on that club. Tim was there every day trying to get his Bowman baseball card set signed. Over the years I would always see Tim there ‘graphing, and we would trade autograph stories. As I’ve mentioned many times before here, I’m a diehard autograph collector, with about 25,000 signed cards. But for every Miguel Cabrera or Brett Hull there’s a Mark Mangum and Steve Colver—tons of cool stuff, tons of filler. I told Tim and all the kids there, jokingly, that if they ever need an agent sometime, just let me know and I’ll check it out.
Flash forward to 2015. Tim finds me on Facebook (I still was friends with him on Facebook; his number was still saved on my phone as “Tim Auto Collector), and he said a major-league club was interested in signing him. My first response was, "You play baseball?" I was stunned. Tim eventually settled on going back for his senior year, and that was it. Two days before the draft this year he messaged me again and asked if I wanted to help out with his draft. I have never prepped a draft in 48 hours and I maybe talked to two scouts at best. Tim went in the ninth round to the Yankees, to which I screamed like mad given all the history we had.
On the happiest of endnotes Tim is definitely getting a baseball card deal. One has already been secured and I am hoping for one or two more. Tim was just as happy to get a card deal as he was to get drafted, and it is definitely one of the coolest stories I have ever been a part of.
All three kids fit the mold of what I look for when representing someone. They all can play at a high level, they work hard, and they're all tremendous makeup kids. It wouldn’t surprise me at all if all three played in the big leagues some day. The first step is getting drafted, and if you have a uniform you have a chance. These three have a chance and I can’t wait to see how they all unfold. Res Ipsa Loquitor
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