I have officially completed my duties for my MLB org as relates to the 2012 draft class. We signed some kids from my area, I had one last look-in on a "draft and follow" along with the area scout with whom I'm working, and the two remaining players drafted out of my region appear to be set in their course -- in each case likely honoring their commitment to large four-year programs.
- The team is tied to past and future drafts, so decisions that have been made are fair game for negotiating leverage, as is the fact that the team will have to operate in the future with this negotiation as a data point;
- Except in rare instances, the player will almost always have diminished leverage in future drafts, meaning he will likely have to exceed his current draft slot by a fair amount in order to see improvements in signing offers.
Baltimore has an important data point for Gausman negotiations -- the Brian Matusz drafting and signing in 2008. To refresh your memory, Matusz was selected fourth overall by Baltimore, and was the first college pitcher picked (behind two high schoolers and a collegiate position player, as well). His signing bonus was $3.2 million, with a Major League deal bringing the full value up to just under $3.5 million.
Draft Age: 21y4m (21y6m)
Ht/Wt: 6-4/190 (6-4/185)
IP: 105 (123.2)
SO/9: 12.1 (9.8)
BB/9: 1.9 (2.0)
H/9: 7.1 (7.7)
HR/9: 0.3 (0.2)
A couple of bad misconceptions have been presented to me over the past seven days or so -- here are my rebuts:
No. His age is a more important factor in determining leverage than is his year in school and he is the draft age of a typical junior. After all, you could make a similar argument that a senior could just go play in an independent league and re-enter the draft next year. A 22.5-year old Gausman is less valueable than a 21.5-year old Gausman, and there are only three slots higher than the position he was drafted this year. Going back to school means you better stay healthy and go first or second next year, and that is a tall order for someone of any talent level.
This is borderline silly talk, but I understand there are a lot of "draft experts" that like to make sweeping statements like this as page grabs. The class, as a whole, is still forming, and evaluators actually watching these kids are still forming opinions and gathering info to make the determination if players are worth keeping tabs on next spring. A loose estimation is that the 2013 class, up top, will be about what the 2012 class was. A reasonable statement is that the top of the class is expected not to be significantly better, or significantly worse, than 2012, and there are no players currently seperating themselves as likely top 5 picks.
I don't understand where this idea originally sprouted. Show professional evaluators a projectable 6-foot-4, 185-pound body that throws mid-90s into the late innigns on a hard downward plane and with an easy motion, a current off-speed that can be plus and two separate breaking balls that have, at different times, shown plus potential, and tell them it's not an elite talent. The industry would be grateful for your contribution.
No. Determining the utility of outspending aggregate slot allotment pools is important for organizations, and it ties directly to the players requiring the overspend. Houston makes perfect sense as a team that should be willing to take a tax hit. Applying that hit to Lance McCullers' bonus of $2.5 million (on a slot alloted $1.2 millioin) would be the equivalent of making signing a late-1st rounder for fring top 10 money. Put another way, and probably a more useful framing for analysis, McCullers would be receiving about a 30-slot bump between slot of selection and bonus received. Poche and Velasquez, using the analysis above, would be receiving around a 60-slot and a 390-slot bump between slot of selection and bonus received. It may be "just money", but that would indicate that the money was probably not utilized as best it could be.