Major League Baseball is holding the 2020 Entry Draft this week. Ray Flowers will look at the recent history of the event by focusing on how teams have done with the top overall selection in the country. There have been hits, but also plenty of misses.
A QUICK LOOK AT THE 2020 DRAFT
The draft has been reduced to just five rounds this year instead of the traditional number of 40. That’s obviously a massive difference as the owners attempt to squeeze the life out of the player pool. The owners are being cheap asses. There, I said it.
Bonus payments to draft picks will be deferred. Players can receive $100,000 within 30 days of the draft this season. The rest of any bonus will be paid on July 1st, 2021 and July 1st, 2022 in two equal payments. The owners are pushing off nearly half the payments for more than two years.
If a player isn’t taken in the five rounds, he becomes a free agent. These players can sign with any team they wish but for no more than $20,000. Last year, according to ESPN, there were 960 players who were drafted and 680 of them signed for more than $20,000. Removing the 167 players drafted the first five rounds last season we are lefty with 513 players who signed for more than $20K. None of those 500+ players will be able to sign for more than twenty-thousand this season. Frankly, the players are screwed.
It is likely that more high school players will go to college versus taking the mere $20,000.
It is also possible that college juniors who are not drafted will return to school rather than accepting the mere $20,000. It is also possible that more college guys are drafted this year since teams have had a longer time to track/record the progress of these players.
THE #1 OVERALL DRAFT PICKS
This one will be easy. I will give a quick up or down vote will be assigned to each player in the form of a “Hit” or “Miss.” Note that the last three years have been termed incomplete (INC.) as there simply hasn’t been enough time to draw any reasonable conclusion.
|1999||Devil Rays||Y||Josh Hamilton||OF||Hit|
|2003||Devil Rays||Y||Delmon Young||OF||MISS|
|2007||Devil Rays||Y||David Price||LHP||Hit|
Some overall numbers from the last 30 years.
1 – There have been 14 Hits out of the 27 years that a result was rendered.
2 – There have been 13 Misses out of the 27 years that a result was rendered.
3 – From 2013-16 we have four straight misses. You could count Swanson as a hit, but I’m not of the opinion that being the 20th best shortstop in baseball is really a hit, but that’s just me.
Some player-by-player talk the last 10-years follows.
2010 – Bryce Harper has been a Hit, but it’s also fair to suggest that he’s also been a slight miss. He’s had one massive season, but the majority of his work has merely been strong. The debate about whether he or Mike Trout was the guy, dating back to high school, sure seems to have been settled and not in Harper’s favor.
2011 – Gerrit Cole just got paid like three billion dollars, so he’s obviously a Hit.
2012 – Carlos Correa has been fantastic when on the field, though injuries have precluded him from posting the numbers that would make him a star.
2013 – Mark Appel basically retired back in 2018. “I’m 26, I have a Stanford degree, I have many interests beyond baseball, which I still love, but I have a lot of things I care about. I enjoy challenging my mind.
2014 – Brady Aiken was the first #1 overall pick since Tim Belcher in 1983 not to sign. Brady ended up having Tommy John surgery and was selected 17th overall the following year (2015). He struggled with his arm after Tommy John surgery, and he’s only gotten two outs in the minor leagues the last two years.
2015 – Dansby Swanson was touched on above. If you wanted to say – he should be a “Hit” Ray, I wouldn’t be upset. I don’t think he’s there yet, but it’s also fair to suggest that he could be after this season.
2016 – Mickey Moniak is a failure based upon expectations. Taking a 3rd or 4th big league outfielder first overall is a fail, and that’s where most scouts think Moniak will ultimately end up. To date, MM has gone .256/.302/.390 over 402 minor league games with just 22 homers and 42 steals.
2017 – Royce Lewis was a top-10 prospect in baseball last season, but Lewis fell to 26th at Baseball America and 21st at Baseball Prospectus his year. Everyone loves his makeup, but he’s suffered through some struggles on the farm that has created at least a little concern about him developing into an elite level player.
2018 – Casey Mize is as polished an arm as there is in the minors. He did have a shoulder issue last season and posted an ERA over 7.00 his final six starts. Long-term he should be just fine, likely settling in as a #2 arm in the bigs, maybe even a #1.
2019 – Adley Rutschman is the proverbial can’t miss prospect. He grades out in the 70’s with his arm and his hit tool. He is one of the ever so rare catching options who should be an impressive defender while also being a middle of the order power bat.
So, there’s a quick rundown of how things have broken for the top overall draft selections in the recent past. Time will tell what group Spencer Torkelson of the Tigers will fit into.