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Draft Newsbeat

Tuesday, June 30, 2020

Tigers sign Spencer Torkelson to record-setting bonus

The Detroit Tigers have signed No. 1 overall draft pick Spencer Torkelson to a record-setting bonus.

The Arizona State first baseman signed for $8,416,300, according to’s Jim Callis.

That’s the largest bonus for a draft pick since Major League Baseball began using bonus pools.

The bonus was exactly $1,000 more than the slot value for the No. 1 pick, perhaps a symbolic statement from Torkelson’s agent, Scott Boras, to ensure that his client was paid “over slot.”

RoyalsRetro (AG#1F) Posted: June 30, 2020 at 04:04 PM | 30 comment(s)
  Beats: draft

Wednesday, June 10, 2020

2020 MLB draft: Everything you need to know on draft day

On to the fun stuff. Whom will the Tigers take with the first pick?

Arizona State first baseman Spencer Torkelson is the odds-on favorite. He led the nation with 25 home runs as a freshman, followed that with 23 as a sophomore and was off to a great start in 2020, hitting .340/.598/.780. If he goes No. 1, he will be just the second or third first baseman to go first overall, depending on how you slice things, and the first right-handed-hitting first baseman. The Marlins selected Adrian Gonzalez first overall in 2000—current Tigers general manager Al Avila was then the scouting director for the Marlins—and the Yankees selected Ron Blomberg first in 1967, though he spent most of his time in the minors and his first season in the majors as an outfielder.

Didn’t see a thread for the draft, so I guess use this?

RoyalsRetro (AG#1F) Posted: June 10, 2020 at 06:21 PM | 54 comment(s)
  Beats: draft

BA: Explaining Why A Team Would Punt On The 2020 Draft, And Why It Doesn’t Make Sense

The 2021 draft is expected to be overstuffed. There will be a much better junior college class than normal because of high school players and Division I kickbacks who end up opting to head to junior college because it allows them to be draft eligible in one year (rather than the two or three years that is the case for D-I players). It’s also viewed as a very talented college crop that again is expected to have plenty of pitching.

And one could argue that it will be a more “normal” draft. If the 2021 season is played as usual, teams will have more data and more scouting looks than they had in the abbreviated 2020 spring season.

So arguably, a team punting on its 2020 first-round pick would have the ability to take better advantage of the even deeper 2021 draft.

There are problems with that argument. A draft pick now is worth more than the very same pick a year from now, something that has been consistently shown in sports which allow the trading of draft picks. An NFL team wanting a third-round pick in the current draft has to give up a second-round pick in the following year’s draft to make the deal. Consistently in the NFL draft, teams have to offer a pick from a round earlier in next year’s draft to account for the difference in value between picking now and picking a year later.

RoyalsRetro (AG#1F) Posted: June 10, 2020 at 10:27 AM | 1 comment(s)
  Beats: draft

Monday, June 08, 2020

Let’s Field an All Late-Round Team

You don’t get a team of All-Stars from top to bottom, but you sure get a lot of them! The bullpen depth is a bit thin past these names, but this team has rotation depth through next week, with players like Brandon Woodruff, Miles Mikolas, Brad Keller, Tyler Mahle, and Zach Davies not even making the final 26-man roster. The only player in the starting lineup who would be a real surprise at the Midsummer Classic would be defensive specialist Tucker Barnhart (you can swap him out for Mitch Garver if you prefer).

This team wouldn’t combine for the 67 WAR projected — players like Kevin Kiermaier wouldn’t get full-time at-bats, for example — but they’d easily compete with the best teams in baseball. Replacing the Baltimore Orioles with this team (nobody would miss this year’s O’s) over a normal season leads to a 101-61 projection, which would be the best team ZiPS has ever projected. These players combined to make $3.5 million in signing bonuses, with nearly half the roster (12 of 26) getting at least $100,000. The maximum signing bonuses for this group this year is $520,000, only 15% of what they were actually paid.

RoyalsRetro (AG#1F) Posted: June 08, 2020 at 04:23 PM | 1 comment(s)
  Beats: draft

Friday, May 29, 2020

Son of Agassi, Graf could be a future ace

Oh, he’s dabbled in the sport associated with his world-famous parents, Andre Agassi and Steffi Graf. But that usually just results in Jaden smacking the ball as hard as he can, with no regard for the rules or the lines.

His mom and dad can have their 30 combined Grand Slam singles titles. Jaden just wants to hit grand slams.

“I love baseball,” he says. “I love the teammates, surviving and fighting with your brothers. Every game comes with a new set of challenges, and I really love figuring those out.”

The 18-year-old Agassi is following that love and forging his own athletic path. He’s a home-schooled third baseman and right-handed pitcher in the home stretch of his rehab from Tommy John surgery on his throwing elbow. And he’s planning to begin his collegiate career at the University of Southern California in the fall after standout summers with Las Vegas Recruits, a college prep baseball academy.

RoyalsRetro (AG#1F) Posted: May 29, 2020 at 05:32 PM | 42 comment(s)
  Beats: draft

Wednesday, May 27, 2020

Griffey a Pirate? Chipper a Tiger? The MLB draft rule that changed history

What if I told you that, if not for a now-defunct MLB draft rule, Ken Griffey Jr. would be wearing a Pirates cap on his Hall of Fame plaque in Cooperstown?

And that Alex Rodriguez never would have been a Mariner, either?

And that Chipper Jones would’ve gone to Detroit, not Atlanta?...

All of that is due in part to a small yet significant draft rule retired 15 years ago. It stipulated that the No. 1 pick alternate each year between leagues. The NL drafted first in even years; the AL was first in odd years. Take Griffey’s draft, for example. The NL had drafted first in 1986 — Pittsburgh took Jeff King — and the top pick ping-ponged back to the AL in 1987. The lucky losers? The Mariners, despite having a better record than the Pirates.

This rule, alternating draft order by league, lived for 41 years. It shaped the course of baseball history, and then it quietly went away.

“I did not know about that rule,” Jones said, then laughed. “Not until now.”

RoyalsRetro (AG#1F) Posted: May 27, 2020 at 10:39 AM | 4 comment(s)
  Beats: draft

Friday, May 15, 2020

MLB Announces Official Dates For Shortened 2020 Draft

The five rounds of the 2020 MLB draft will be held over two days, June 10 and June 11. Both days will be televised by MLB Network.

On June 10, the first 37 picks (the first round and the first competitive balance picks) will be announced, beginning at 7 p.m. ET.

On June 11, the remaining 123 picks (the second through fifth rounds) will be announced, beginning at 5 p.m. ET…..

Teams will be allowed to sign an unlimited number of nondrafted eligible players for up to $20,000, but there will be strict restrictions on talking to nondrafted players about signing during, or in the days immediately following, the draft. MLB went into detail to attempt to limit the possibilities of teams offering any sort of special inducement to convince a nondrafted player to sign.

According to MLB, teams will be prohibited from talking to nondrafted players until 9 a.m. ET on June 14. From the conclusion of the draft until that time, no team official or scout can talk to any undrafted players, their family members or any other representative of the player. While teams are allowed to talk to the player before or during the draft about the possibility of drafting that player, they are also not allowed to discuss the possibility of signing the player after the draft if he goes unpicked.

These undrafted players cannot be offered any special inducements beyond the standard player contract, modest contingency bonuses and scholarships through the continuing education program.

RoyalsRetro (AG#1F) Posted: May 15, 2020 at 02:06 PM | 31 comment(s)
  Beats: draft

Friday, May 08, 2020

Sources: MLB shortens 2020 draft from 40 rounds to 5

Major League Baseball will cut its 2020 draft to five rounds, as owners looking to save costs in the wake of the coronavirus pandemic pushed for fewer rounds over the objection of front-office officials, sources told ESPN.

Mayor Blomberg Posted: May 08, 2020 at 07:57 PM | 1 comment(s)
  Beats: draft, minor leagues

Saturday, April 25, 2020

What MLB Can Learn From the NFL Draft

Welcome to the era of the virtual draft. The WNBA kicked the sports world off here last week, and, after much agonizing over the question of tech support, the NFL joined on Thursday. So what does it mean for MLB?

The answer might ultimately be nothing: In last month’s joint agreement between MLB and the MLBPA, the league built in the ability to move the draft from its originally scheduled date of June 10 to as late as July 20. Depending on public health guidelines this summer, the event could look more or less normal. (Or, at least, as close to “normal” as you can get with a draft that will be shortened to as few as five rounds, a result of the same agreement that created the flexibility around its date.) But it could just as easily look like what we’ve seen from the drafts this month—appropriately social-distanced, with the accompanying fear of possible tech problems and plentiful opportunities to judge home offices.

Of course, MLB’s draft has never been anything close to a glitzy hype-machine like the NFL’s annual event. (Look no further than the fact that baseball’s original spicy draft move for this year was “Let’s move it from Secaucus to Omaha” while football’s was “Let’s have the players cross by boat to the stage in the fountains of the Bellaggio.”) MLB is used to a world in which first-round picks learn their fate via phone call; a virtual baseball draft wouldn’t have to feel much different from what we’d see under normal circumstances. But if there was ever a time to try to make the format more engaging—to have it feel a little more like an event and a little less like an administrative necessity—this could be it. So based on what we saw Thursday from the NFL, let’s have a little fun with the lessons that could translate for a similar situation in MLB.

Ideally, nothing, but my stance seems to be very much the minority one…..


QLE Posted: April 25, 2020 at 12:44 AM | 0 comment(s)
  Beats: draft, nfl

Thursday, April 09, 2020

College baseball talent level to go up with change to draft

As disappointing as it’s been to have the college baseball season shut down because of the coronavirus pandemic, Michigan coach Erik Bakich sees a silver lining.

“I do think the coming years will be the deepest college baseball has ever been,” he said.

Division I programs stand to benefit because of two factors. First, the NCAA is allowing all players to return in 2021 with the same eligibility standing they had in 2020. Second, and perhaps more important, Major League Baseball is shortening its draft, going from 40 to as few as five rounds, and capping signing bonuses for undrafted free agents at $20,000.

Last year, 87% (131 of 150) of players taken between the sixth and 10th rounds were from four-year colleges, with juniors receiving bonuses between $125,000 and $250,000. Seniors typically get less because they lack leverage.

A consideration of what the 2021 college baseball season may entail.


QLE Posted: April 09, 2020 at 01:33 AM | 0 comment(s)
  Beats: college baseball, draft

Friday, March 27, 2020

MLB, players agree to $170M deal on early season pay, cut down draft

Major League Baseball and the players association have reached a tentative agreement regarding several issues surrounding a potentially shortened or canceled season, sources confirm to Yahoo Sports’ Tim Brown.

ESPN’s Jeff Passan first reported the deal Thursday night.

MLB owners have agreed to advance players portions of salaries to be spread out over April and May. If there is no season, that money will be kept by the players. Each of the 30 teams will contribute just short of $95,000 per day to eligible players for 60 days or until start of 2020 season, not to exceed $170 million. The Athletic’s Ken Rosenthal adds that salaries will be pro-rated based on length of season, and players have agreed not to sue for full salaries.

As previously reported, the players would accrue a full year of service time if they are active for the shortened season. If the season is canceled, players would gain the same amount of service time they accrued in 2019, which is important because it means players like Mookie Betts or Trevor Bauer would become free agents as scheduled.


QLE Posted: March 27, 2020 at 12:49 AM | 31 comment(s)
  Beats: draft, free agency, labor issues, negotiations, salaries, service time, shortened season

Tuesday, February 11, 2020

Updating the 2020, 2021, and 2022 Draft Rankings

Welcome to Prospect Week 2020, FanGraphs’ annual pre-season spotlight on our sport’s future, and my annual opportunity to experience a dissociative fugue state.

The uninitiated will first want to read this primer on how I assign an overall grade to each prospect, and if you want to familiarize yourself with my process more thoroughly, you should pre-order Future Value, the book I co-wrote with baby-faced turncoat Kiley McDaniel, now of ESPN. In the span of a long weekend Kiley got engaged, joined ESPN, saw our book go to the printer, and did a SportsCenter hit wearing someone else’s tie. Congratulations to my friend, who worked until the clock struck midnight on his FanGraphs tenure, and to me, as I now get to do what I want without having to convince Kiley that it’s a good idea.

While the NCAA baseball season starts this weekend, 2020 draft looks have already been going on for nearly a month. The Martin Luther King Jr. holiday weekend always features several important high school showcases, and junior college baseball begins shortly after that. Meanwhile, Division-I schools have been scrimmaging in front of scouts in preparation for Friday’s openers. Dope siphoned from these events is included in my 2020, 2021 and 2022 draft rankings, all of which have been updated for today and will be updated continuously between now and the draft. And in a brand new feature courtesy of Sean Dolinar, you can now see all three draft classes mushed together here.

There’s rarely a big, sweeping update of prospect rankings at this site. Like a sourdough starter, The Board is a living, breathing thing, and I often update it with notes in real time while I’m at the field. For draft coverage, that water wheel of info begins this weekend. For pro notes, the process will begin after all of the org lists have been published.

Given how things can change for pitchers on a dime, how much meaning do these calculations ultimately have?


QLE Posted: February 11, 2020 at 01:22 AM | 0 comment(s)
  Beats: draft, rankings



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