Monday, June 29, 2009

Baseball Draft Signings Moving Fast This Year: #5 Signed

This draft has seen a lot of quick signings in the first round, it seemed to me. Up to this weekend, 8 of the 32 first round picks have signed already:

  • #4: Boston College C Tony Sanchez, $2.5M (Pirates) vs. slot of $2.75M in 2008
  • #10: Stanford RHP Drew Storen, $1.6M (Nationals) vs. slot of $2.07M in 2008
  • #17: Notre Dame OF A.J. Pollock, $1.4M (D-backs) vs. slot of $1.63M in 2008
  • #21: High School SS Jiovanni Mier, $1.358M (Astros) vs. slot of $1.48M in 2008
  • #24: High School OF Randal Grichuk, $1.242M (Angels) vs. slot of $1.38M in 2008
  • #26: High School RHP Eric Arnett, $1.197M (Brewers) vs. slot of $1.33M in 2008
  • #31: U. C. Berkeley OF Brett Jackson, $0.972M (Cubs) vs. slot of $1.08M in 2008
  • #32: Sacramento State OF Tim Wheeler, $0.9M (D-Rox) vs. slot of $1.06M in 2008

That is one quarter of the prospects drafted in the first round, though two of them usually would not be in the first round, #31 and #32, there were two picks that moved from last season to this season.

According to reports, Selig had laid out the edict, er, suggestion, that there be a 10% reduction in the bonus slot. The above signings appear to be around what this reduction is, except for Storen, but the rumors on him was that the Nats had a pre-arrangement with him that they would draft him earlier than expected as long as he signs for less than slot.

The Nats figure to be signing WAAAY over slot for Stephen Strasburg, the first pick overall this year, and thus were looking to save some money. They still have the $4M they would have used last year on Crow before he declined to sign, plus now the savings on Storen (about $0.5M but I guess every little bit counts when Strasburg is looking to get a $20M+ package).

#5 Pick Signed

The latest news is really pertinent to the Giants in that the Orioles had announced on Saturday that they have signed Matt Hobgood, the #5 pick overall, to a $2.42M bonus, over the weekend. Last year's slot for the #5 pick was $2.5M (but Buster Posey was the pick so his signing bonus is not comparable) and, as noted, Selig recommends slicing 10% off, making the slot for the #5 pick to be $2.178M for 2009. Clearly, he signed for close to the slot for last year's draft but with a slight reduction.

The slot for the #6 pick last season was $2.4M. Since our pick, Zach Wheeler, is very comparable since he's also a high school pitcher like Hobgood, this signing would suggest that he should sign for basically around $2.4M, maybe for $2.35M, but the Giants in the past have not been that cheap about their signings, they were willing to go over slot, but how much over usually extended the time before signing, the higher the draftee wanted their bonus. With time value for money, even if he wanted $2.4M, one would think that he would be signing very soon.

Now, the way Wheeler seemed when he was interviewed right after being drafted was that he was eager to sign and get his professional career started. He doesn't have Boras as his agent, but I'm not sure who it is. He was not considered good enough to be considered for the #1 pick, and thus should not be expecting way over slot for his bonus.

This would all suggest that Wheeler should be signing soon and playing for our rookie league team soon

Analysis of Wheeler

Been meaning to post this earlier and separately, but the website, Baseball Intellect, which is run and written by Alex Eisenberg, did an analysis of Zach Wheeler recently. He has been analyzing the mechanics and skill sets of numerous draftees in the past couple of drafts.

Lots of good information on his pitching repertoire, and how good they are, plus, of course, his mechanics, as well as other notes on his makeup and intangibles. According to Eisenberg, he thinks that Wheeler will more likely become a borderline No. 2 starter, with the upside being that he could become a No. 1 starter if he can develop properly. Given the Giants success with high school pitchers during the Sabean era - Cain, Bumgarner, Alderson, even Jerome Williams before his physical/mental problems affected his ability - it looks like Sabean and gang has done it again with Wheeler.

Sabean's Future

I still find it amazing that there are still people carping on and complaining about Brian Sabean. For all the mistakes that many people blame him for in the past 4-7 years, they don't appear to be enjoying this season and/or understanding that it was him who put together this 2009 version of the Giants, nor appreciating the job he has done in putting it together. They would rather complain about the offense, which is among the worse in the NL and the majors, but more importantly has been doing the job with our pitching and defense, because, after all, that is the point of baseball, winning, and on that count, they have been doing a very good job, the Giants have the second best record in the NL and the lead for the wild-card spot for the playoffs.

I don't know if that is just Giants fans or all fans, but the glass is perpetually half empty. I used to contribute to the Usenet group for the Giants and there were a lot of unhappy people from 1997 to 2003, even though that was the best period for success for the Giants since the 1960's. They couldn't seem to enjoy the success, all they could seemingly do was focus on what was wrong with the team and how lousy Brian Sabean was.

As I've been saying for a number of years now, I think that Sabean has done a good job in rebuilding the farm system - once the team started losing and garnering much better draft picks (that is, picks with much higher odds of becoming a good player), that also helped too. I was among the few who were openly happy with the signing of Sabean to his current 2-year extension and he has not disappointed with his work last season and this season, in my opinion.

I think the Giants have been much more focused the past couple of seasons on creating opportunities for our better prospects at the major league level, particularly for the pitching staff, but also for the hitters. For example, they left open 3B for Frandsen, last season, which created a huge hole for them when he blew out his Achilies tendon and was lost for the whole season, basically, and kept Lewis as the starter even when Roberts returned, then this year gave Sandoval, Ishikawa, Burriss, and Sanchez the chance to win their positions. My main problems have been that we kept Randy Winn the past two seasons when Nate Schierholtz was ready for his opportunity and picking Burriss over Frandsen for the starting position this season. But I consider these quibbling, as overall, I've been very happy with what the Giants have been doing.
Based on how the team has been doing this year, I would hope that Neukom will sign Sabean to another 2 year extension after the season, with a team option for a third season. In fact, I would hope they get his name on the contract before the season ends so that another team can't sign him away, because I can see Sabean seriously look around if he is allowed to go free agent for even a minute, and that other teams would seriously look at him, and thus he would take his time to consider his options during the critical period when our management should be negotiating with free agents to fill any holes for the 2010 season.

1 comment:

  1. People have long memories about Sabean's moves and the bottom line is that there have been so many more bad ones than there have been good ones. That's why people have justifiably been calling for his head for a number of years now.

    You can't rewrite history with a few decent moves. Judge the body of the work........Sabean does not come out favorably.

    ReplyDelete

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