A Recap of the First Round Signings (and More)
Major League Baseball's newly imposed draft deadline came and went yesterday without a lot of hitches. Teams and players had until midnight to reach agreements and all 30 first rounders inked contracts with their new clubs. Not surprisingly, a few signings (namely Michael Moustakas at #2, Josh Vitters at #3, and Matt Wieters at #6) were reached minutes before the deadline, adding an element of suspense to what would otherwise be termed business as usual.
According to Jim Callis of Baseball America, "the average first-round bonus went up" this summer despite MLB's efforts to reduce slot money by 10%. This year's average bonus of $2,098,083 compared to $1,933,333 in 2006 and marked the highest since 2002 ($2,106,793).
FIRST ROUND SIGNING BONUSES
1. Tampa Bay Devil Rays: David Price, LHP, Vanderbilt University - $5.6 million signing bonus as part of a six-year major league contract worth a guaranteed $8.5 million and as much as $11.25 million. Price's bonus was the second-largest in draft history when he signed, trailing only Justin Upton's $6.1 million as Arizona's No. 1 overall pick in the 2005 draft. The guaranteed value of Price’s contract is the third-highest in draft annals, trailing only Mark Prior ($10.5 million, Cubs) and Mark Teixeira ($9.5 million, Rangers) from the 2001 draft."
2. Kansas City Royals: Mike Moustakas, SS, Chatsworth HS (CA) - $4 million.
3. Chicago Cubs: Josh Vitters, 3B, Cypress HS (CA) - $3.2 million.
4. Pittsburgh Pirates: Daniel Moskos, LHP, Clemson University - $2.475 million.
5. Baltimore Orioles: Matt Wieters, C, Georgia Tech - $6 million (the largest up-front bonus in draft history).
6. Washington Nationals: Ross Detwiler, LHP, Missouri State University - $2.15 million.
7. Milwaukee Brewers: Matt LaPorta, 1B, University of Florida - $2 million.
8. Colorado Rockies: Casey Weathers, RHP, Vanderbilt University - $1.8 million.
9. Arizona Diamondbacks: Jarrod Parker, RHP, Norwell HS (IN) - $2.1 million.
10. San Francisco Giants: Madison Bumgarner, LHP, South Caldwell HS (NC) - $2 million.
11. Seattle Mariners: Phillippe Aumont, RHP, Ecole du Versant High School (CAN) - $1.9 million.
12. Florida Marlins: Matt Dominguez, 3B, Chatsworth High School (CA) - $1.8 million.
13. Cleveland Indians: Beau Mills, 1B-3B, Lewis-Clark State College - $1.575 million.
14. Atlanta Braves: Jason Heyward, OF, Henry County High School (GA) - $1.7 million.
15. Cincinnati Reds: Devin Mesoraco, C, Punxsatawney High School (PA) - $1.4 million.
16. Toronto Blue Jays: Kevin Ahrens, SS-3B, Memorial HS (TX) - $1.44 million.
17. Texas Rangers: Blake Beavan, RHP, Irving HS (TX) - $1.4975 million.
18. St. Louis Cardinals: Peter Kozma, SS, Owasso High School (OK) - $1.395 million.
19. Philadelphia Phillies: Joe Savery, LHP, Rice University - $1.3725 million.
20. Los Angeles Dodgers: Chris Withrow, RHP, Midland Christian High School (TX) - $1.35 million.
21. Toronto Blue Jays: J.P. Arencibia, C, University of Tennessee - $1.3275 million.
22. San Francisco Giants: Tim Alderson, RHP, Horizon High School (AZ) - $1.29 million.
23. San Diego Padres: Nick Schmidt, LHP, University of Arkansas - $1.26 million.
24. Texas Rangers: Michael Main, RHP/OF, DeLand HS (FL) - $1.2375 million.
25. Chicago White Sox: Aaron Poreda, LHP, University of San Francisco - $1.2 million.
26. Oakland Athletics: James Simmons, RHP, UC Riverside - $1.1925 million.
27. Detroit Tigers: Rich Porcello, RHP, Seton Hall Prep (NJ) - $3.58 million signing bonus as part of a $7.285 million four-year contract. Porcello will receive MLB salaries of $95,000 (prorated from $380,000) in 2007, $1.1M in 2008, $1.2M in 2009, and $1.025M in 2010. The Tigers have club options for $1.536M in 2011 and $1.344M in 2012.
28. Minnesota Twins: Ben Revere, OF, Lexington Catholic HS (KY) - $750,000.
29. San Francisco Giants: Wendell Fairley, OF, George County-Lucedale High School (MS) - $1 million.
30. New York Yankees: Andrew Brackman, RHP, North Carolina State - $3.35 million signing bonus (payable over six years) as part of a $4.55 million guaranteed major league contract that reportedly could be worth $13 million over seven years.
Brackman's contract is a total head scratcher, particularly in view of the fact that he is expected to have elbow ligament replacement surgery within the next few weeks. When healthy, the 6-foot-10 junior has been known to touch the upper-90s and as high as 100 on the radar guns. However, he has never thrown more than 78 innings in any season and his velocity dropped into the 80s last spring. The two-sport star is a high risk/high reward prospect.
Other notable signings:
New York Yankees: Brad Suttle, 3B, University of Texas - $1.3 million bonus (a record for the 4th round).
Baltimore Orioles: Jake Arrieta, RHP, TCU - $1.1 million bonus (a record for the 5th round).
Washington Nationals: Jack McGeary, LHP, Roxbury Latin HS (MA) - $1.8 million bonus (a record for the 6th round). According to Baseball America, "Washington will allow him to attend Stanford as a full-time student and play baseball in the summers until he graduates. The Nats are also picking up the cost of his education, with $200,000 via the college scholarship plan."
Detroit Tigers: Cale Iorg, 3B, Karns HS (TN) - $1.4975 million (6th round).
New York Yankees: Carmen Angelini, SS, Barbe HS (LA) - $1 million bonus (10th round).
Second rounders RHP Joshua Fields (Braves) and 1B Hunter Morris (Red Sox); third rounders RHP Brandon Workman (Phillies), 3B Derek Dietrich (Astros), RHP Tommy Toledo (Padres), and RHP Matt Harvey (Angels); fourth rounders 3B/OF Blake Stouffer (Reds), OF Garrett Nash (Rangers), RHP Brett Eibner (Astros), and OF Kyle Russell (Cardinals); and fifth rounders LHP John Gast (Rangers), RHP Kyle Blair (Dodgers), and RHP Nate Striz (Twins) did not sign. Fields and Harvey were represented by the Scott Boras Corporation. As a "reward" for failing to sign Fields and Morris, Atlanta and Boston will receive like compensation picks in the second round in the 2008 draft. Philadelphia, Houston, San Diego, and the Los Angeles Angels "earned" supplemental picks after the third round next year for not coming to terms with their third round selections this year.
Dietrich and Eibner were Houston's top two picks and apparently were looking for first and second round money which, if so, makes no sense. It is now safe to say that Houston had the worst draft of any organization with only three signees in the top eight rounds. Already ranked 22nd in terms of talent by Baseball America in the 2007 Prospect Handbook, the Astros may slip to the bottom when the new list is unveiled this winter.
Morris will attend Auburn, Workman is off to the University of Texas, Toledo is slated to become a member of the Florida Gators baseball program, Harvey and Striz head to the University of North Carolina, Nash will join the two-time defending NCAA champs at Oregon State, Gast is set to become a Florida State Seminole, and Blair is expected to enroll at the University of San Diego.
Fields will return to the University of Georgia today for his senior year. The hard-throwing closer was thought to be asking for a signing bonus well in excess of his slot money. All may not be lost, however, as Fields could pull a Casey Weathers, the Vanderbilt closer who elected not to sign last year. Weathers dramatically improved his draft status as a senior when he was selected by the Colorado Rockies with the eighth pick, earning a bonus of $1.8 million.
Much to the delight of Aggie fans, Stouffer will go back to College Station and complete his four-year career at Texas A&M.
Russell, a draft-eligible sophomore, will return to Texas for his junior season. He will re-enter the draft next June. The 2007 NCAA HR leader spent the summer in the California Collegiate League and hit .247 with four home runs while whiffing 34 times in 97 at-bats. He has had trouble hitting with a wood bat at every stop along the way.
For complete coverage, be sure to visit Baseball America's Draft Blog and Signing Bonus Chart (subscription required). You can learn more about each of the above first rounders via pre-draft coverage at Baseball America and Baseball Analysts.