(Are lines dotted anymore? I don't think I've ever actually signed on a dotted line . . . eh, nevermind)
By now you know - unless you are trying to access a site which isn't working - the results of the Blue Jays' efforts to sign their draft picks tonight. Tyler Beede got greedy (Make a rhythm every time!) and held out for $3.5 million (reportedly) and the Jays' ceiling was 2.5 mil. As compensation the Jays will get a first round pick in 2012, reportedly #22. The other most coveted draftee was LH Daniel Norris who did in fact sign for $2 million. Norris was called the best HS lefty in the draft by most and not a few said he was probably a better prospect than Beede (and only fell to the Jays because he was considered unsignable). If I may say, if the unsignable guy signs for $2 million, then I'm not at all uncomfortable with declining to pay Beede $3.5 million.
True, it's objectively true that they lost out on him for the price of one year of a mediocre reliever, and from that perspective it's hard to make sense of not signing the first rounder. But within the context of the draft and how it operates, their price for Beede was entirely fair. Another well-regarded high school pitcher was Kevin Comer - and he signed as well. Of the three highly drafted Vanderbilt recruits, two by the Jays and one by the Rays, two signed pro contracts. Beede had said quite a bit about the importance of winning a championship at Vanderbilt - that task got much harder tonight.
The other big signing of the day - the guy who was my personal hobby-horse in this draft, was 3B Matt Dean. Dean was rated the best 3B in the draft and, you guessed it, presumed unsignable so he slid all the way to the 13th round. But he's no 13th round talent. Most estimates had him as, on talent, a late first round or sandwich round pick. It's a MASSIVE steal, IMO, to land Dean. Also today the Jays signed highly regarded SS Christian Lopes, who is likewise a player who slid in the draft due to signability.
Including yesterday's (Sunday) signings, the Jays seriously ramped up the talent load from this draft. and while I've not yet read the reviews, I'm sure the jays will be considered one of the 3-5 biggest winners from this draft even without Beede. let's review:
Blue = signed, red = unsigned; bolded names are the ones I suggest being excited about.
1. Tyler Beede - RHP - 18 years old - unsigned
1s. Jake Anderson - OF - 18 - signed
Promising. some consider this a bit of a reach though.
1s. Joe Musgrove - RHP - 18 - signed
Something of an overdraft by most accounts.
1s. Dwight Smith, Jr. RF - 18 - signed Sunday
He's better than you've heard. some lazy analysis has amounted to "kinda like his dad" but some respected observers are quite impressed with him.
1s. Kevin Comer- RHP - 19 - signed
Excellent choice. He's not gotten as much attention in the shadow of Norris and Beede but he's a good one.
2. Daniel Norris - LHP - 18 - signed
On talent he'd have been a bargain with the first round pick. By the middle of the first round commentators were speculating his price was the only thing keeping him on the board.
2. Jeremy Gabryszwski - RHP - 18 - signed
Little reporting on this guy. He singed a few weeks ago an is on the GCL roster.
3. John Stilson - RHP - 21 - signed Sunday
Was a mid-first round talent on most listed before the season. A shoulder injury knocked him down the draft boards but the Jays felt him worth the gamble. He's got 4 good pitches, and may well start but there's also a possibility he could be developed as a faster-rising closer candidate. He might be one of those guys who, as a closer, could start as high as AA next year and advance as much as his results allow. One of the most interesting players to watch in terms of how the jays handle him.
4. Tom Robson - RHP - 17 (until 8/27) - signed
Position is about right for his Junior year performance. He regressed a bit as a senior, reportedly, but the Jays obviously believe in the kid.
5. Andrew Chin - LHP - 18 - unsigned.
6. Anthony DeSclafini - RHP - signed Sunday
Little discussed in shadow of bigger names - I can't tell you much about him tonight.
7. Christian Lopes - SS - 18 - signed
One of the ones you can get excited about. Another signability bargain.
8. Mark Biggs - RHP - 18 - signed Sunday
Yet another bargain on a guy most thought wouldn't sign.
9. Andrew Suarez - LHP - 18 - unsigned
10. Aaron Garza - RHP - 18 - unsigned
11. Andrew Burns - SS - 20 - signed some weeks ago and playing in Vancouver.
12. John Norwood - CF - 19 - unsigned
13. Matt Dean - 3B - 18 - signed
In my opinion, only Norris has more upside in this draft class for the Jays - be very excited.
14. Cole Wiper - RHP - 19 - unsigned (this is another guy who'd have been a coup)
15. Cody Glenn - LHP - 19 - unsigned.
As always, being as I'm obsessed with lists and rankings, I immediately assigned a lot of these guys tentative spots in my ongoing top prospect ranking list. Without going into tedious detail, here's my initial thoughts:
I have Norris In the second half of the top 10 (Beede would have been in the 10-12 range)
I have Dean in the mid-teens
I have Comer on the fringes of the top 20 (more a reflection of the quality of the system than of his abilities)
I have Stilson in the top 25 (barring more injury trouble)
I have Dwight Smith just in the top 30 and Lopes right behind him. Again, you normally think the guy at #30 is only a so-so prospect but unless you want to dis David Cooper, every one of those 30 guys is a legitimate "keep your eye on him" prospect. Anderson and Biggs fall just outside the Top 30.
All this is subject to announcements about international free agent signings, of course, as well as more extensive reporting about the players we signed from this draft.
Oh, and to end on a major league note - I continue to be shocked and amazed that Trever Miller is still on the Jays' roster, let alone pitching in tight games. I felt that way even before he gave up the lead to the mariners tonight, I feel so even more strongly now. But I've got plenty to be happy about tonight so I'll not rant on that subject further.