The MLB Draft process is vastly unlike its counterparts in the other four major sports, and today serves as yet another example of why. While draftees in, say, the NFL haggle over bonuses, we all know they're going to sign eventually -- but with baseball, whether or not a draftee winds up signing is very much an open question. The focus of the prospecting world will be on Gerrit Cole, Anthony Rendon and the like, to see whether they sign and how much of a bonus they get if they do, but every team is working feverishly to get as many draftees signed as possible.
If you're familiar at all with the draft, then you know that the commissioner's office promulgates a recommended slotting system for all draft picks, and prefers teams to hold off on announcing above slot deals until the days leading up to the deadline. This creates a mad rush of signing news in mid-August, as any of you who frequent Baseball America or MLB Trade Rumors have probably seen.
With respect to the Phillies, it remains to be seen how active of a deadline day we are likely to see. Phuture Phillies has been keeping tabs on this in great detail over the course of the summer, so if you're looking to play a little catch up, I'd highly recommend the resources he's put together over there. By way of summary, here are the Cliffs Notes:
- Sandwich round pick (39th overall) Larry Greene Jr. and 2nd round shortstop Roman Quinn are likely to sign, and quite frankly, it's surprising it's taken them this long.
- 6th rounder Zach Wright, a junior catcher from East Carolina, will not be signing.
- The Phillies have kept an open dialogue with a number of other prep and juco products, including 5th rounder Mitch Walding (an athletic shortstop), 15th rounder Ryan Garvey (Steve's son, and a well regarded hitter), 17th rounder Jesen Dygestile-Therrien (a juco Canadian right hander), and 27th rounder Brandon Shull (a southpaw from Iowa). There's been no real indication how much money the organization has to spend, so these guys could just be backup plans in case something falls through with Greene or Quinn, or the budget could be big enough to sign a bunch of the later round guys.
Once the draft class has taken shape, we'll actually be able to take stock of how the Phillies did, meaning that I can write my long overdue draft wrap up. So be sure to look for that in the next few days. In the meantime, just like last year, we'll be honoring this year's signing deadline day by taking a look at some bonus babies from years past. Check below the jump for updates on a number of draftees from 2006 through this year.
Domonic Brown, OF-L, Lehigh Valley: 20th round, 2006, $200K bonus. As I said a few weeks back, no, he's technically not a prospect any longer, but I'll make an exception to keep tabs on him while he's finishing up what should presumably be the final bit of his minor league apprenticeship. Dom has hit his first real rough stretch in Lehigh Valley, going just 5-for-34 his last 10 games, but he's still sitting at .277/.417/.422 with excellent plate discipline (17.6% BB, 17.6% K). I'm repeating myself here, but he'll be back when the Triple-A season is over, then he's slated to be the Opening Day left fielder in 2012, and I don't see anything to be concerned about.
D'Arby Myers, OF-R, Clearwater: 4th round, 2006, $250K bonus. Myers' juxtaposition with Brown is intentional, because it shows what a real crapshoot drafting and player development can be. Toolsy outfielders from the same draft, Myers hit .313/.353/.430 in a 31-game debut campaign with the GCL Phillies (compared to Brown's .214/.292/.265 that same year), but the southern California product has failed to put it together since then, amassing just a .252/.297/.342 line over six pro campaigns. Hey, there's a reason that lottery ticket analogies are thrown around a lot with respect to high school athletes.
Brody Colvin, RHP, Clearwater: 7th round, 2009, $900K bonus. The recipient of the largest bonus on this list, Colvin has followed up his excellent 2010 campaign with a bit of a dud in 2011, and while he managed to throw a quality start on Saturday (6.0 IP, 8 H, 3 ER, 1 HR, 1 BB, 3 K), that performance came after allowing 14 runs over his previous 14 innings, so he hasn't exactly turned the corner yet. With that said, if Colvin comes out of 2011 without any lingering physical issues or any diminution in stuff, the organization will still be content with the bonus money it spent on Colvin, as he still has the ability to put it together to be an excellent major league starter.
Jonathan Pettibone, RHP, Clearwater: 3rd round, 2008, $500K bonus. Though Pettibone entered 2011 overshadowed by his rotation mates (Colvin, Jarred Cosart, and Trevor May), he's put together a year that's making people sit up and take notice. The projectable right hander has been stingy with the free pass (2.1 BB/9), he's limited the home runs (0.26 HR/9), and he's kept lefties at bay (54:16 K:BB versus left-handed hitters, just 1 HR). The only thing that's missing statistically is a strikeout rate that would move Pettibone up prospect lists -- at just 6.5 K/9, and without extreme ground ball tendencies (43% GB), he'll need to be very fine with his command if the same approach is going to work all the way up the ladder.
Jiwan James, OF-S, Clearwater: 22nd round, 2007, $150K bonus. James' July hot streak has drawn to a close, and while it gave a nice bump to his overall season numbers (which now sit at .271/.330/.372, with 22 stolen bases in 35 attempts), we're still left with a 2011 season in which the athletically gifted outfielder didn't take the leap forward that we might have been hoping for. 2012 is shaping up as a make-or-break season for the Florida high school product: he'll be 23 and assigned to Double-A, and at the risk of setting our sights too high, Shane Victorino will be in the final year of his contract.
Tyler Greene, SS-R, GCL Phillies: 11th round, 2011, $375K bonus. Greene is, as of this writing, the most exciting name that the Phillies have signed from their 2011 draft crop, as an athletic shortstop with good tools across the board. He has just 8 hits in his first 33 pro at bats, with 4 walks to 14 strikeouts, but half of his hits have been doubles, and he's made just one error so far. The average MLB shortstop slugs .378 these days, so a legitimate shortstop prospect who projects to have above-average power is a really nice commodity to have on hand. Greene is a long way away, but represents great value as an 11th round pick signing for under $400,000.
Colby Shreve, RHP, Clearwater: 6th round, 2008, $400K bonus. Shreve was projected to be a borderline 1st round pick before blowing out his elbow in junior college (necessitating Tommy John surgery), but the Phillies snapped him up in the 6th round, paid him an above slot bonus, and banked on him regaining the nasty fastball/slider combination that made him such a nice draft prospect in the first place. Unfortunately, it just hasn't worked out, as Shreve's stuff hasn't returned to pre-TJ levels, and even a move to the bullpen this year has yielded only decent results (8.1 K/9, 3.4 BB/9, 0.50 HR/9, 49% GB, 4.20 FIP for Lakewood before his recent promotion). Still, it seemed like a good gamble at the time for the Phillies, so if we're valuing process over result, no harm, no foul.
Brian Pointer, OF-L, GCL Phillies: 28th round, 2010, $350K bonus. The Nevada high school product has been the most exciting offensive prospect on the GCL Phillies this year, showing an ability to hit for power (.197 ISO, with 17 of his 37 hits going for extra bases), take a walk (9.7% BB), steal bases efficiently (7 without being caught), and even help out in the field (3 assists and 0 errors, and he has made center field his own recently). He's likely to be somewhere in the middle of the offseason Top 30, and looks more than ready for a full season assignment for 2012.
Jonathan Musser, RHP, GCL Phillies: 21st round, 2010, $300K bonus. It's been a bit of a rough pro debut for the lanky right hander, as Musser has allowed 69 baserunners in 38.1 innings and has more walks (22) than strikeouts (20) at this juncture. That said, the Phillies have had some success over the years bringing along raw, projectable right handers, and as I wrote a couple of weeks back in a prospect roundup intro, the nice thing with pitching prospects (as opposed to hitting prospects) is that there's always a chance that things just click, be it the result of physical development, new mechanics, a new pitch, what have you.
Kevin Walter, RHP, Williamsport: 20th round, 2010, $350K bonus. While Musser has struggled thus far in 2011, fellow 2011 draftee Walter has struggled to even get on the field. I still haven't seen anything reliable on Walter's whereabouts (aside from the fact that he's technically on the Williamsport disabled list), which is a shame, especially given that I thought highly enough of the Colorado high school product to rank him #18 in last offseason's prospect rankings. We'll have to hope for the time being that whatever injury Walter is dealing with won't linger, and we can get some reports on him from instructs this fall.