Didn’t see anything posted already, so I decided to start a new thread on tomorrow’s draft.
For those keeping track at home, the 2020 draft was shortened to five rounds. There are two Competitive Balance Rounds (A & B, following the First and Second Rounds, respectively), and then Compensation Picks after CBR B.
The Astros have a whopping total four picks in this year’s draft (no need to rehash the asinine reasons why):
#72 (from the Yankees for signing Gerrit Cole)
They also have the smallest bonus pool at $2,202,600 of any team in the draft, including a slot bonus of $870,700 for their first selection.
Teams may sign an unlimited number of undrafted players for a bonus not to exceed $20,000.
Wow, five rounds!! I really wasn’t keeping up. I see that this is some COVID-related agreement, but it is sure to complicate the future.
So, for all of the players not drafted, I assume there must be a limit to the amount each team may use on those, like the international draft. I also assume that like the international draft, there will be a range of strategies employed. It will be interesting to see what the new GM does.
I imagine that the Yankees will sign all of the quality undrafted players. After all, who wouldn’t want to be a Yankee?
This article from my hometown paper does a great job of looking at some of the unintended consequences of a shortened draft:
Of note, 34 of the 46 high school players from Tucson who eventually played in the Major Leagues were drafted in the sixth round or later, including Ron Hassey (18th), Ian Kinsler (17th), former Houston Astro Colin Porter (17th), Andy Hassler (14th), and Craig Lefferts (9th).
That list doesn’t include players who attended the University of Arizona and were late round finds like Kevin Ginkel (22nd), Chip Hale (17th), and Hall of Famer Trevor Hoffman (11th).
As JBM said, going to be very interesting to see what James Click does with so few picks. Here’s hoping he knows what the hell he’s doing.
It seems like if you have to get screwed out of picks, this is the year to do it, because after the 5th round it’s a free-for-all. Combine that with the restricted ability to look at players this year, and things are likely to be very crazy.
I have nothing to base this on, but I’d think a whole bunch of HS kids will go the JUCO route.
See how next year’s draft looks, and if not then wait another year or 2. $20K is not an enticing amount of money.
Collegiate coaches were already dealing with all of the players granted a waiver to play in 2021 because their senior seasons were abruptly cancelled. Now they have to contend with who knows how many HS players who ordinarily would’ve been drafted after the fifth round and signed a pro contract, but now are going to play college baseball instead (like Lefty said, $20k isn’t that much of an enticement).
That roster crunch is going to be nucking futs.
If the Astros have retained any appreciable talent analytics capability from years past, this is where they should clean up.
Depends on whether they’ll have any teams to put them on, though.
Yes, the JUCO’s will get much better talent this year and this is also where other dreams die. Lots of HS kids who aren’t good enough for 4 yr college ball or who can’t afford to pay there own way at a 4 year school will go to the local community college/ junior college and try to play. Those spots will not be there for those folks.
A few other things.
1 - Basically by shortening the draft, the owners saved money and got rid of most of a team roster as they downsize the MILB by 42 teams.
2- There has also been talk of teams intentionally doing what the Astros did to Aiken after the MRI showed the injury. Draft someone and only offer the minimum amount and then get the pick in the 2021 draft. The story I saw hinted the Marlins were considering this approach.
Thinking about this years draft just pisses me off.
The changes to the draft seem like they will drastically change incentives and the risk/reward calculus for all involved. I’m really curious to see how that impacts the picks, particularly in the later rounds.
Slot value for a 5th rounder is like $25k. The highest bonus for and undrafted free agent is $20k. As a player, it seems worthwhile to eat the $5k if you could essentially pick your team. If you think you’ll get popped in a later round, just signal to teams that you’ll be going to/returning to school next year and hope you fall out of the draft altogether, then after the draft, signal that you changed your mind.
According to Fangraphs, Japan is offering pretty good-sized signing bonuses for college arms–like $200-300k. The money’s good, you get to have fun in a foreign country while you’re still young, and you can probably be an MLB free agent sooner than if you go through MiLB. Could be a good deal.
High schoolers will be few and far between. Especially in the cold weather states where entire senior seasons were cancelled, teams just won’t have a lot of recent performance data. But maybe an enterprising, tech-heavy team (say, one that doesn’t have a lot of scouts) has gotten some good Trackman data from the Baseball Ranch or has been scouting high schoolers on the Pitching Ninja’s “Flatground” app. Could be a “market inefficiency” if all the other teams are skewing conservatively and picking only college players with longer track records.
With fewer picks, it seems ripe for gaming how teams allocate their slot dollars. Will the Astros put all of their eggs in one basket, allocating all of their slot money to their top pick (maybe someone who fell out of the first round) and $40k bonuses to a handful of college seniors? Or maybe try to spread the money out more evenly and try to get 4 guys with $500k talent. Or just be boring and stick to slot.
During the dismal years, I would explain to my wife that the draft was like Baseball Christmas, and getting new players was super-exciting. But once the major league team got good, I stopped feeling invested in the draft. And I’m even less invested now. This’ll be the first time I’ve ever just not bothered to watch the draft picks as they roll in. Go 'Stros, get something good.
Love the pick of Alex Santos. Not only is he a top talent, but he also is from the Bronx. Fuck you Yankmees. We got your guy.
Honestly not someone I had on the Astros’ radar, mostly because I didn’t expect him to fall this far.
Interesting tidbits from the puff piece on Santos in The Athletic:
"Rather than pitching in games and graduating high school with his friends, Santos has spent his free time throwing bullpen sessions in front of a Rapsodo machine at the Citius Baseball Academy in Mount Vernon, a facility Alex Sr. owns with Melvin Perez . . . "
“At Citius, Santos was able to continue his training program, and threw in front of a Rapsodo machine that collected data on his velocity, spin, and movement that could then be sent to scouts”
“Technology has been the biggest thing for me during this coronavirus,” Santos said . . . He used the information from the Rapsodo to improve his two-seam, and was able to see a difference in his pitch movement when tinkering with his release point."
Seems like he’ll fit right in with the Astros pitcher development program.
Tyler Brown, RHP from Vanderbilt with the 101st overall pick. Wow! I can’t believe this guy was available. He was a stud at Vanderbilt. Nice pick.
Brown is an easy guy to root for:
- Age 9- Mom diagnosed with cancer, beats it but marriage doesn’t survive.
- Age 13 - Mom’s cancer had returned and she passes away.
- Placed under guardianship of his step dad then moves in with little league coach and good friend.
- Within two years, his former coach is killed in a car wreck and his friend dies after a seizure.
- At 16, a summer baseball coach adopted him. They find out he hadn’t been to a dentist in years and could only read at 3rd grade level (diagnosed dyxleia).
- But he has a 95 MPH Fastball. Tim Corbin (Vandy Coach) comes to visit to watch a bullpen. 1st pitch was 93 and then velo dropped big time - blew his UCL.
- Corbin was still willing to take a chance on him.
- Two weeks before enrolling at Vandy, finds out GF is pregnant.
- You have to read the rest of the article for the best part of the story.
4th Round Pick Zach Daniels was a bit of a surprise. Appears to be a high risk/high reward pick. Contact has been a struggle the first two years and in the cape cod league. In his first two years at Tennessee, his SO rate was almost 50%. This year, he started strong and had cut that down to @ 25% and had brought his slugging up to .750 in just 17 games (up from .417 the year before in just 4 more at bats). He also brought his OB% up from .262 to .478. Both the last two years are small sample sizes and this year’s was pre conference so against mostly weaker talent.
5th round Shay Whitcomb - SS out of UC San Diego (DII). Stock rose in the Cape when he hit .303 with 8 long balls with a wood bat. In 2 + seasons at UCSD, he hit .315/.516 (slg)/.423 (ob). He struck out less than 20% of the time in college but that jumped to @ 25% in the Cape Cod League.