June 2008

Draft news

I thought I’d take this opportunity to scan through the latest headlines and find out what’s being written about the top picks from the draft. Consider it a first-round link dump — here’s what I dug up — all things draft or MLB-related:

1. Tim Beckham: Princeton’s newest Ray ready for diamond
3. Eric Hosmer: Drawn-out negotiations not what Royals want
5. Buster Posey: Giants willing to let their pick ‘catch’ his breath
6. Kyle Skipworth: Marlins sign first pick
9. Aaron Crow: Bowden disappointed in negotiations
12. Jemile Weeks: A’s top pick should be in fold soon
13. Brett Wallace: Cards hope to ink Wallace; Quad Cities likely start
18. Ike Davis: Mets sign Ike
22. Reese Havens: Strained elbow keeps Havens out of lineup
25. Christian Friedrich: Dust Devils get Rox first pick
26. Daniel Schlereth: Top D-Backs pick says he’s healthy, near signing
30. Casey Kelly: Draftees looking for big payday

Skip is a Marlin

It’s official — the Marlins have signed their first-round pick, No. 6 overall, SoCal HS catcher Kyle Skipworth. Skipworth and his family are in South Florida today and he’s expected to take BP with the big-league club before reporting for action with the Gulf Coast League Marlins on Thursday. The bonus is reported to be $2.3 mil and was basically agreed upon just prior to the draft, according to sources. The last couple of weeks were needed to figure out some of the smaller details of the deal, but it’s now done.

Skipworth becomes the second top 10 pick to come to terms, after, of course, No. 1 pick Tim Beckham.

Signings trickling in

Did you miss me? Even if you didn’t, there’ve been a few more signings since last I updated… Nothing huge since the Tim Beckham signing, but figured I should be diligent in my attempts to keep you in the know…

Boston: Red Sox sign four
Chicago: White Sox sign 19 draftees
Florida: Marlins agree to terms with 27 players
Philadelphia: Phillies sign second-round pick Knapp | Phils ink sandwich pick Collier
Milwaukee: Brewers sign supplemental first-rounder Odorizzi
San Diego: Padres sign sandwich pick Decker
Colorado: Rockies sign first-round pick Friedrich

Looking ahead

I promised a post on 2009, and I like to (most of the time), live up to my promises.

In the interest of full disclosure, the folks over at Baseball America beat me to this one, writing about the underclassmen showcase at the Urban Youth Academy on Monday. I was able to talk to a scout that was at the event, to get his take on the players there. Here’s what he had to say, echoing some of the BA report and adding some additional names.

The biggest buzz indeed was around Bryce Harper, who the scout I spoke with said would have been the best high school player in the 2008 draft. Alas, he won’t be eligible until 2011, so we’ll have to wait on him. As for 2009 draft class guys…

The A List
Tyler Matzek, LHP: Polished, fastball 89-91 mph, plus curve and changeup
Beau Wright, LHP: Fastball 89-91 with a hammer. He struck out all five batters he faced and made them look bad in the process.
Matt Hobgood, RHP: Big-bodies at 6-4, 240, with a power sinker at 91-94 mph to go along with a curve, slider and changeup

The B list
Cameron Garfield, C
James Needy, RHP: Didn’t pitch well, but has been seen better and has a live arm and a 6-foot-6 frame
Tanner Rust, C: A switch-hitting catcher. Is something.
Jacob Marisnick, OF: Compared to Hunter Pence. A little raw, but with plenty of tools.

T Beck is a Ray!

Don’t know if you saw it, but it’s now official: No. 1 overall pick Tim Beckham has signed with the Tampa Rays. Below is the official release from the Rays:

Beckham-1.jpgST. PETERSBURG, FL–The Tampa Bay Rays today signed shortstop Tim Beckham, the first overall pick in the 2008 First-Year Player Draft.  Beckham, 18, was drafted by the Rays out of Griffin High School in Griffin, GA on June 5.  Beckham, who received a $6.15 million signing bonus, will report to the Rays Appalachian League affiliate in Princeton, W.V., to begin his professional career.
Baseball America ranked Beckham as the No. 1 high school prospect in the country entering the draft.  The right-handed hitter batted .482 (53-for-110) with six home runs, 13 doubles, 41 RBI, 58 runs scored and 23 steals in his senior season, leading Griffin to the Region 4-A Championship and to its first state championship series since 1981.
“We are thrilled to add an athlete of Tim’s talent and character to our organization,” said Andrew Friedman, Rays Executive Vice President of Baseball Operations.  “That we were able to conclude the signing process just two weeks after the draft is a testament both to the relationship that our scouting staff formed with Tim and his family, and of course to Tim’s enthusiasm for the game.  He has true five-tool potential, and we look forward to helping him develop his unique abilities.”
Among high school prospects entering the draft, Beckham was ranked by Baseball America as the No. 2 “best pure hitter,” the No. 3 “best defensive player,” and No. 2 “closest to the majors.”  ESPN.com and Baseball Prospectus ranked him as the No. 1 prospect in the 2008 draft.
Beckham hit .512 as a junior with six homers, six triples, nine doubles, 39 RBI and 20 stolen bases, earning honors as the 2007 Baseball America Youth Player of the Year.  Last summer he was named the MVP of the Aflac All-American High School Baseball Classic in San Diego after leading the East to victory.  Last August, Baseball America ranked him as the “best batting prospect” at the 2007 Area Code Games, held in Long Beach, Calif.  Baseball America also tabbed him the No. 1 prospect in the East Coast Showcase in August 2007, “best batting prospect” and No. 3 prospect overall at the 2007 World Wood Bat Association tournament in Marietta, Ga., and the No. 4 prospect in his class at the 2006 WWBA tournament.
Beckham became the first No. 1 selection to be drafted out of a Georgia school since Mike Ivie (San Diego Padres) in 1970, and the third such player overall (also Ron Blomberg, New York Yankees, 1967).
The Rays also drafted Tim’s oldest brother, Jeremy Beckham, an infielder out of Georgia Southern University, in the 17th round.  Jeremy signed with the Rays on June 10 and is currently playing for the Princeton Devil Rays.
Twenty-four of the Rays 50 selections have now been signed to contracts.


College World Series coverage

Hey everyone. Every once in a while, I like to make sure that my colleagues get the love they deserve. Kevin Czerwinski, who’s blog you can read over at Minor Leagues, Major Thoughts. He’s got a bunch of links up there to the various features he’s written so far. There have been 58 members of the 2008 draft class in Omaha and he’s written about a bunch of them. Here’s the list of features:

Do me and yourself a favor — go and read some of this great work. Kevin C. works his tail off and this is a great way to get to know some future minor leaguers now.

I’ll be back tomorrow with some 2009 talk…

Sign-o-rama, part C

You miss a few days and look what happens. Signings a-plenty. As of now, it looks like four first-rounders — four of the top 30, that is — have come to terms.

No. 14 Aaron Hicks is the only guy in the top half of the first round to sign. He gets kudos, anyway, for being the only player with the, ahem, intestinal fortitude to show up in Orlando for the draft. All you other draftees, take note — you missed a great celebration. Terrific story by our Mike Scarr, so check it out. He’ll start out in the Gulf Coast League, in Ft. Myers, Florida.

We reported on No. 17 overall pick David Cooper signing in a previous post. As Jordan Bastian reported, he’ll be in the NY-Penn League to start, with Auburn. The Doubledays open at home against the Batavia Muckdogs tonight. Tune in and listen on MiLB.com Gameday Audio.

No. 22 Reese Havens came to terms with the Mets, as did No. 33 pick Brad Holt. Both will get early tastes of the NY life and the Mets-Yankees rivalry as members of the Brooklyn Cyclones. The Cyclones open their season tonight against the Staten Island Yankees out on Coney Island.

No. 29 Lonnie Chisenhall is ready to go for the Indians and he had one of the best quotes I’ve seen about the whole process, one I wish all draftees would make their own credo: “I don’t know why people hold out all summer. They’re
missing a lot of time when they could be growing and getting at-bats
under their belts.” Chisenhall will start in Mahoning Valley and the Scrappers open their season today at home against Williamsport tonight and you can listen to it live on MiLB.com Gameday Audio.

Other signing news:

Colorado: Rockies sign 19 draft picks
Detroit: Tigers sign 24
Los Angeles: Angels sign top pick, 26 others
Minnesota: Twins sign 10 others with Hicks
Oakland: A’s ink two more
Philadelphia: Phillies sign two picks
Pittsburgh: Pirates announce three more signings
Texas: Rangers come to terms with eight
Washington: Nats sign six more draftees

I’ll be blogging on debuts and the like over on my Minors blog (how’s that for synergy?), but will be back here later with more signings updates as well as stuff on the recent showcase at the Urban Youth Academy.

Sign-o-rama, part deux

Some more signings announced for you, in addition to some interesting numbers from the 2008 draft.

Oakland: A’s sign six more, including second-rounder Tyson Ross
Philadelphia: Phillies sign four more
Pittsburgh: Four more sign with Pirates
San Diego: Padres agree to terms with 25 draft picks
Seattle: Mariners sign 23 draft picks

While not officially on the Padres site yet, Tom Krasovic was reporting at the San Diego Union Tribune that the Padres had agreed to terms with both first rounder Allan Dykstra and supplemental pick Jaff Decker.

Jon Heyman over on SI.com reported the Mets had signed Reese Havens, the No. 22 overall pick in the draft. Again, nothing official yet on the club site. And the Marlins are close to officially signing No. 6 overall pick Kyle Skipworth.

More news on everything as it unfolds…


Thumbnail image for cooper.JPG
Trying to find out which draft picks have signed with which teams is sometimes easier
saidthan done. There doesn’t seem to be a one-stop shopping place for such information. So I decided to try, as best I could, to become that signing warehouse. I’ll try to throw up links to official announcements of signings whenever I can. Let’s start with what I’ve been able to find thus far. Congrats to David Cooper for being the first first-round pick (top 30) to sign.

American League

Oakland: A’s sign 10 players
Texas: Rangers come to terms with 15
Toronto: Jays sign first-round pick Cooper | Jays signings

National League

Arizona: D-Backs sign 12 draft picks
Houston: Astros announce draft signings | Astros sign two more
Milwaukee: Brewers announce signing of 20 players
Philadelphia: Phillies sign seven
Pittsburgh: Pirates sign three | Pirates sign six more
St. Louis: Cards sign 30 picks | Cards signings
Washington: Nats sign 6 | Nats sign four more | Two more sign

A picture is worth…

The draft, of course, is now officially over and the signing season has begun. I’ll be back as signings occur and with other news and notes, maybe even some early stuff on the 2009 class as some summer stuff gets going. For now, though, I leave you with this image of the 2008 Draft from down in Orlando…

Thumbnail image for draft board.JPG