2011 MLB Draft Results: Winners and Losers from Day 3
Picking winners and losers from the third day of the MLB draft is a little like finding a needle in a haystack, so instead of awarding teams for great draft days I'm going to look at the draft as a whole.
Of the 600 players drafted on Wednesday only around 200 of them will actually sign and only a handful will ever make it to the major leagues.There's no better way of knowing which handful will receive that honor than there is of knowing when the Chicago Cubs will finally win the World Series.
With that said, here's a final look back at Day 3 of the MLB First-Year Player Draft.
Winners: Scott Boras
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It's unknown whether Scott Boras had any clients selected on the third day of the draft (he typically only works with top prospects), but the baseball super agent is in for a big pay day very soon.
Among the names on his client list for this year are Gerrit Cole, Anthony Rendon, Bubba Starling, Alex Meyer, Brian Goodwin and Josh Bell. Those are six of the maybe top 15 talents in the draft, although Bell didn't go until the second round because of signability concerns.
In an earlier piece I covered in depth how to negotiate with Boras, it's obvious that he's after some signing records. None of the aforementioned players will get the $15.1 million given to Stephen Strasburg (another Boras client) in 2009, but it's not out of the realm of possibility that three of them could get upwards of $10 million.
Altogether Boras could be looking at around a combined $50 million in signing bonuses for all his players, which translates into a few million for him. There's a reason more and more players want Boras as their agent—he's the best at it.
Winners: Jonathan Taylor
The Texas Rangers drafted Taylor, an outfielder at the University of Georgia, in the 33rd round of the MLB draft even though he's paralyzed from the chest down.
Taylor broke his neck during a collision with his teammate Zach Cone (another Rangers' pick in the supplemental round) back in March and hasn't been back on the field since.
Taylor was a good contact hitter with plus speed and was a legitimate pro prospect, but it's unlikely he'll ever fully recover from his injuries or make it to the majors.
That makes the Rangers decision to draft him, after scouting him since high school, all the more incredible. Kudos to Kip Fagg, the Rangers' director of amateur scouting, and the rest of the organization for making a kid's dream come true and congratulations to Taylor.
Winners: Buddy Lamothe
In a similar story, the Houston Astros drafted Lamothe in the 40th round knowing full well that the right-handed reliever would never play professional baseball.
Lamothe, a freshman at San Jacinto College, was injured last month in a diving accident (in a pool, not on the field) that left him paralyzed.
Lamothe was a hot name on draft boards prior to the incident, with a 0.77 ERA and 28 strikeouts in 23.1 innings and an impressive fastball.
The Astros drafted the Vermonter as a nice gesture to Lamothe and his family, and for that they are both winners.
Winners: Famous Sons
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We all know bloodlines run deep, and that truth was on full display during the MLB draft.
An unprecedented number of relatives of professional athletes were drafted this week, starting with Wayne Gretzky's son, Trevor, getting drafted by the Chicago Cubs in the seventh round.
The fun continued into the third day of action with the sons of Oakland's Bob Geren (Brett, 42nd round), Anaheim's Mike Scioscia (Matthew, 45th round) and Toronto's John Farrell (Shane, 46th round) all getting drafted.
In the non-son division, Philadelphia's Ruben Amaro, Jr. drafted his nephew, Andrew, in the 47th round and St. Louis took the brother of outfielder Colby Rasmus, Casey Rasmus, in the 36th round.
The sons of former big leaguers Bobby Bonilla, Alex Fernandez and Charlie Leibrandt were also drafted, as well as Ivan Rodriguez's son, Ivan Jr., and Bryce Harper's older brother, Bryan.
Genetics count for more than you might think.
Winners: Baseball Fans
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The MLB draft doesn't get nearly as much attention as its counterparts in the NBA or NFL, but it's an increasingly important part of the sport and one that teams are getting very good at.
If you've ever wondered how the Tampa Bay Rays could compete in the same division as the big-market New York Yankees and Boston Red Sox, here it is. The MLB draft doesn't guarantee competitive parity, but it does provide an opportunity for small-market clubs like the Rays.
As fans, this is all we could ask for.
This week the league got a lot more talented and, even though we may not see most of these players for four or five years (if at all), a higher level of competition is always good for the game.
Losers: Teams in Debt
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A total of nine teams were found to have violated MLB's debt rules, and the two teams at the top of that list are the New York Mets and Los Angeles Dodgers.
Fred Wilpon and Frank McCourt, respectively, aren't doing their organizations any favors off the field and the drama has translated into less bargaining power.
Both the Mets and Dodgers are expected to be prevented from going over MLB's slot recommendations for signing any of their draft picks. This destroys their chances of acquiring any of the top prospects, including all of Scott Boras' clients, and puts a drag on their farm systems as a whole.
Hard to win a draft when you're at a competitive disadvantage for all 50 rounds.
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A total of 1,530 players were selected over the three days of the draft and every state was represented except for Maine.
Maine isn't exactly a baseball powerhouse when it comes to homegrown talent, but the northernmost state in the continental United States has produced its share of major leaguers.
The two you might know are Mark Rogers and Tim Stauffer, both of whom are still active.
Losers: Non-Scott Boras Clients
Apologies to Danny Hultzen, Archie Bradley, Francisco Lindor, Brandon Nimmo, Tyler Beede, Daniel Norris and any other player who's expecting a fat signing bonus after being drafted this week—you're not going to get it.
That's not to discredit other baseball agents and their ability to get a deal done. However, no one comes close to having Boras' prowess and leverage at the negotiating table. The man has literally set every signing record in the books.
Most, if not all, of the aforementioned players will receive multi-million dollar deals and happily sign along the dotted line before the deadline. But they'll have to live with the knowledge that they left money on the table, money that only Boras could have gotten them.
Losers: Onelki Garcia Speck
The Cuban defector was generating tons of interest from MLB clubs in the hours prior to the draft, with the Chicago Cubs supposedly in discussions to take him with the ninth overall pick.
However, MLB ruled Speck ineligible for the draft and the Cubs ended up taking shortstop Javier Baez instead.
Speck is a 23-year-old (we think) lefty who throws in the 92-95 mph range with a hard curve. He has control problems, however, and was only marginally successful pitching for Guantanamo (yes, they have a team).
He'll likely have to re-enter the draft in 2012 once an international system is in place.
Losers: The CBA
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Yesterday I discussed some of the biggest problems with the current CBA, and those problems were in full view over the last three days of the MLB draft.
The slotting system is a joke and is used by most agents (Boras in particular) as a price floor rather than a price ceiling. This would be fine if every team had equally large pocketbooks, but we all know this is not true. The Red Sox can sign five top prospects (they ended up drafted four of the top 40 players), while a team like the Pirates may only be able to afford one or two.
The compensation system doesn't really help matters, either. It makes no sense for teams to receive two high draft picks for their Type A free agent because the system still favors big-market clubs.
We won't know for sure just how serious the problems are until the most recent draft classes reach the majors, but it's a safe bet that the 2012 MLB draft will be very different from the 2011 version.