7/25/2014 8:45 P.M. ET
Blue Jays land most talent from 2014 Draft
By Jim Callis / MLB.com
If the Astros had been able to sign No. 1 overall pick Brady Aiken, fifth-rounder Jacob Nix and 21st-rounder Mac Marshall on deadline day, they would have accrued more talent from the 2014 First-Year Player Draft than any other club. Instead, the centerpieces of Houston's Draft are Virginia outfielder Derek Fisher (supplemental first round) and Kentucky first baseman A.J. Reed (second).
While Fisher and Reed were two of the top college hitters available, they weren't enough for the Astros to rank among the top Draft crops. Here are the three teams that fared the best:
1. Blue Jays - Toronto had the advantage of possessing the top pair of picks in the Draft, at No. 9 and 11, and used them on East Carolina right-hander Jeff Hoffman ($3,080,000), a candidate to go No. 1 before he had Tommy John surgery, and Kennesaw State's Max Pentecost ($2,888,300), the best true catcher available. The Jays also grabbed a pair of projectable high school pitchers in righty Sean Reid-Foley from Florida ($1,128,800) and lefty Nick Wells from Virginia ($661,800) in the second and third rounds, and they moved enough money around to land athletic Tennessee prep outfielder Lane Thomas for $750,000 in the fifth.
2. Indians - Cleveland signed six of MLBPipeline.com's Top 100 Prospects: San Francisco outfielder Bradley Zimmer ($1.9 million, first round), Tennessee high school left-hander Justus Sheffield ($1.6 million, first), Virginia outfielder/first baseman Mike Papi ($1.25 million, supplemental first), California prep righty Grant Hockin ($1.1 million, second), Mississippi high school first baseman Bobby Bradley ($912,500, third) and San Diego State outfielder Greg Allen ($200,000, sixth). No other club had more than four, and the Indians didn't stop there. Zimmer, Sheffield, Papi and Allen signed for less than their assigned pick values, enabling Cleveland to go over budget for prep pitchers Sam Hentges from Minnesota ($700,000, fourth) and Micah Miniard from Kentucky ($350,000, eighth).
3. Brewers. Milwaukee went all in on its first three picks, all high schoolers: left-hander Kodi Medeiros from Hawaii ($2.5 million, first round), shortstop Jacob Gatewood from California ($1.83 million, supplemental first) and outfielder Monte Harrison from Missouri ($1.8 million, second). Medeiros had one of the more electric arms in the draft, Gatewood had the most raw power and Harrison was the best athlete available. The Brewers took discounts on Medeiros and seven other picks in the top 10 rounds in order to afford Gatewood and Harrison and had enough cash left over to pay Hawaii prep righty Jordan Yamamoto $330,000 in the 12th round.
Not coincidentally, Toronto ($9,458,500, fourth), Cleveland ($8,234,100, eighth) and Milwaukee ($7,605,600, ninth) ranked among the 10 highest unadjusted bonus pools. Two teams that did a nice job of finding talent with thriftier allotments were the Reds ($6,973,400, 14th) and Red Sox ($6,373,300, 17th).
Cincinnati benefited from two first-rounders, Virginia right-hander Nick Howard ($1,990,500) and Stanford shortstop Alex Blandino ($1,788,000), and landed a third top college performer in UC Irvine third baseman Taylor Sparks ($972,800) in the second round. The Reds saved enough money in the back half of the top 10 rounds to exceed assigned values for four high schoolers: first baseman Gavin LaValley from Oklahoma ($525,000, fourth), second baseman Shane Mardirosian from California ($350,000, seventh), catcher Mitch Trees from Illinois ($300,000, 11th) and third baseman Montrell Marshall from Georgia ($225,000. 12th).
Boston's Draft unfolded much like Cincinnati's. The Red Sox started with two first-rounders, Georgia high school shortstop Michael Chavis ($1,870,500) and Texas prep right-hander Michael Kopech ($1.5 million), and a quality college corner infielder in Indiana first baseman Sam Travis ($846,800). After that, Boston signed four high schoolers above their assigned values: first baseman Josh Ockimey from Pennsylvania ($450,000, fifth round), righty Kevin Steen from Tennessee ($255,000, ninth), outfielder Trenton Kemp from California ($255,000, 15th) and catcher Devon Fisher from Virginia ($300,000, 20th).
Marlins lead near-record Draft spending
Teams combined to spend $222,809,919 on Draft bonuses in 2014, the second-highest total ever and the most under the revamped rules that came into play two years ago. The record of $228,009,050 was set in 2011, the final year of the previous Collective Bargaining Agreement, when clubs guaranteed another $8.05 million in salaries as part of big league contracts.
Had the Astros signed Aiken, a new industry bonus standard would have been set. The two sides agreed to a $6.5 million bonus before a post-Draft physical raised concerns about Aiken's elbow, and he declined Houston's final revised offer of slightly more than $5 million.
When the Astros couldn't sign Aiken, they rescinded a $1.5 million agreement with Nix. Under the Draft rules, the assigned pick value for unsigned players is removed from a team's bonus pool. Had Houston paid Nix $1.5 million without getting credit for Aiken's pick value ($7,922,100), it would have exceeded its allotment by more than 15 percent, triggering the loss its next two first-round choices as a penalty.
The Marlins led all teams with a franchise-record $13,112,900 in bonuses, including $6 million for No. 2 overall choice Tyler Kolek. That's the fourth-highest total in Draft history -- the Pirates established the mark with $17,005,700 in 2011 -- and the most ever under the current CBA. The White Sox ranked second this year with $10,460,600, including $6,582,000 for No. 3 pick Carlos Rodon, and also set a new franchise standard.
Miami and Chicago's Drafts became the 26th and 27th ever to top $10 million in bonuses, all of which have come since 2008.
Below is a complete list of team-by-team total spending on the 2014 Draft. The Original Pool column indicates each club's allotment for the first 10 rounds before any subtractions for unsigned players, relating its relative spending power, while Spent Vs. Pool shows how much it took advantage of that spending power.
No team exceeded its adjusted pool by more than 5 percent, which would have triggered the loss of a future first-round selection. The Nationals outspent their allotment by exactly 5 percent, while the Cardinals, Cubs, Giants, Mariners, Pirates, Rangers, Rays and White Sox came close to the threshold.
Half of the 30 clubs surpassed their pools, triggering a 75-percent tax penalty on their overages. They'll combine to pay $2,676,914 in Draft taxes to be distributed among teams that are eligible for revenue sharing and didn't exceed their allotment.
Team Signees Bonuses Original Pool Spent Vs. Pool Marlins 33 $13,112,900 $12,741,700 102.9% White Sox 32 $10,460,600 $9,509,700 110.0% Royals 32 $9,888,700 $8,602,900 114.9% Cubs 27 $9,783,000 $8,352,200 117.1% Indians 30 $9,317,800 $8,234,100 113.2% Blue Jays 28 $9,308,700 $9,458,500 98.4% Rockies 31 $8,853,800 $8,347,300 106.1% Diamondbacks 31 $8,357,900 $7,228,300 115.6% Mariners 36 $8,237,500 $6,767,900 121.7% Pirates 32 $8,186,400 $7,063,700 115.9% Brewers 26 $8,102,300 $7,605,600 106.5% Twins 30 $8,067,600 $7,525,600 107.2% Reds 28 $7,929,900 $6,973,400 113.7% Red Sox 31 $7,814,800 $6,373,300 122.6% Cardinals 28 $7,613,800 $7,087,200 107.4% Giants 23 $7,275,900 $5,949,800 122.3% Phillies 28 $7,187,800 $6,896,700 104.2% Rays 37 $7,141,319 $5,848,400 122.1% Padres 30 $6,637,600 $6,098,600 108.8% Mets 28 $6,488,800 $5,308,300 122.2% Angels 34 $6,387,500 $5,774,000 110.6% Astros 36 $6,154,500 $13,362,200 46.1% Rangers 27 $6,089,200 $4,820,700 126.3% Dodgers 33 $5,901,100 $4,947,700 119.3% Tigers 31 $5,405,300 $4,890,200 110.5% Athletics 25 $5,386,000 $4,778,300 112.7% Nationals 28 $5,188,600 $5,275,700 98.3% Braves 27 $5,069,800 $4,557,700 111.2% Yankees 26 $4,050,200 $3,202,300 126.5% Orioles 31 $3,410,600 $2,204,400 154.7% Total 899 $222,809,919 $205,786,400 108.3%
Rodon, Kolek join $6 million club
Carlos Rodon and Tyler Kolek became the 19th and 20th players to receive Draft signing bonuses of $6 million or more. Rodon's $6,582,000 is the fifth-highest ever and established a new White Sox franchise standard, eclipsing Joe Borchard's then-Draft record of $5.3 million in 2000. Rodon also raised the bar for left-handed pitchers, passing Danny Hultzen's $6.35 million in 2011 (which was part of an $8 million Major League contract with the Mariners).
Kolek's $6 million was the largest in Marlins history. Josh Beckett held the previous club record, $3,625,000 as part of a $7 million big league deal in 1999. Jameson Taillon is the only high school pitcher ever to get a bigger bonus than Kolek, signing with the Pirates for $6.5 million in 2010.
Aiken's original agreement with the Astros would have matched Taillon's standard and tied for the sixth-highest bonus in Draft history.
Highest bonuses in Draft history
$8,000,000 - Gerrit Cole, RHP - Pirates, 2011 (No. 1)
$7,500,000 - Stephen Strasburg, RHP - Nationals, 2009 (No. 1)*
$7,500,000 - Bubba Starling, OF - Royals, 2011 (No. 5)+
$6,708,400 - Kris Bryant, 3B - Cubs, 2013 (No. 2)
$6,582,000 - Carlos Rodon, LHP - White Sox, 2014 (No. 3)
$6,500,000 - Jameson Taillon, RHP - Pirates, 2010 (No. 2)
$6,350,000 - Danny Hultzen, LHP - Mariners, 2011 (No. 2)*
$6,350,000 - Mark Appel, RHP - Astros, 2013 (No. 1)
$6,250,000 - Donavan Tate, OF - Padres, 2009 (No. 3)+
$6,250,000 - Bryce Harper, OF - Nationals, 2010 (No. 1)*
$6,200,000 - Buster Posey, C - Giants, 2008 (No. 5)
$6,150,000 - Tim Beckham, SS - Rays, 2008 (No. 1)+
$6,100,000 - Justin Upton, SS - Diamondbacks, 2005 (No. 1)+
$6,000,000 - Matt Wieters, C - Orioles, 2007 (No. 5)
$6,000,000 - Pedro Alvarez, 3B - Pirates, 2008 (No. 2)*
$6,000,000 - Eric Hosmer, 1B - Royals, 2008 (No. 3)
$6,000,000 - Dustin Ackley, OF - Mariners, 2009 (No. 2)*
$6,000,000 - Anthony Rendon, 3B - Nationals, 2011 (No. 6)*
$6,000,000 - Byron Buxton, OF - Twins, 2012 (No. 2)
$6,000,000 - Tyler Kolek, RHP - Marlins, 2014 (No. 2)
* Part of major league contract
+ Bonus spread over multiple years via two-sport athlete rule.