The official draft signing deadline came and went last Friday and first round pick (10th overall), Phil Bickford is not a Blue Jay. Bickford, 17, has opted to pitch for Cal State Fullerton. The Jays will get the 11th overall pick in the 2014 draft as compensation for not signing Bickford because they offered him more than 40% of the recommended slot value ($2.9 million). The amount the Jays offered has not been disclosed.
The Jays did, however, sign 11th-round pick Jake Brentz and 30th-round pick Rowdy Tellez well over slot value (slot value for the 10th round and later is $100,000 across the board), using some of the savings left over after not signing Bickford.
Brentz, a lefty pitcher, signed for $700,000. He ranked 80th in Baseball America’s top 500 draft prospects and throws an upper ’90s fastball. Although it has been noted by scouts that his curveball needs a lot of work.
Tellez, a lefty power bat, is 6’5″, 230lbs. He signed for $850,000 – a recorded setting amount under the new collective bargaining agreement. Tellez ranked 59th in Baseball America’s top 500 draft prospects. Although Tellez has spent his amateur career in the OF, scouts see him as a 1B.
Signing Bickford hurts, but with the rules under the CBA and the fact the Jays will get the 11th overall pick next year, it’s not all bad news.
Yesterday, GM Alex Anthopoulos finally came out and said it – The Blue Jays don’t expect to sign their first round pick (10th overall), Phil Bickford.
Bickford’s recommended slot value is approximately $2.9 million. The Jays have been able to save money by signing other draft picks under slot, so it doesn’t appear that money is the issue. The media is speculating that the Jays might have discovered something when Bickford underwent a physical that now make them reluctant to sign Bickford for the dollars it will take to pry him away from attending Cal State Fullerton next year. MLB teams do not have access to players medical records prior to the draft.
Bickford is a 17-year-old right-hander who finished his senior year in high school with a 1.72 ERA, while allowing 44 hits and recording 159 strikeouts in 99.1 innings.
The Jays have until this evening to sign Bickford. If they don’t, which is the likely scenario, the Jays will receive a compensation pick in the 2014 draft if they offered a minimum 40% of slot value. Anthopoulos has stated publicly that the Jays will indeed receive a compensation pick if Bickford chooses not to sign.
It’s discouraging that the Jays won’t land their top pick for the second time in three years (2011 – Tyler Beede). But at least they will get a compensation pick and I suppose we should give them credit for aggressively pursuing the youngster heralded as having the best highschool arm in the draft.
The Blue Jays continue to be the most successful club at signing its draftees below slot value. It appears the “signability” issues that dropped the Jays #1 pick, Phil Bickford to #10 overall might not be an issue anymore. It has been reported that Bickford’s family wants him to receive a minimum of $3 million – if not he would enter college and play on his full ride with Cal State Fullerton. The recommended slot value for the #10 overall pick is $2,921,400 and the Jays had a total of $6,398,200 to spend in this year’s Draft (ranks 17th in the MLB).
The Jays recently signed 2nd round pick, Clinton Hollon for $467,000 – about 40% below the slot value of $1,168,000 for the #47 overall pick. Hollon was slated to pitch in college for Kentucky this year if he didn’t sign. But during a physical, there appeared to be an issue with Hollon’s ulnar collateral ligament (the ligament that is replaced with a procedure known as “Tommy John Surgery”). Hollon, therefore, wanted to secure some cash instead of risking having his value drop due to injury in a 2014 college season. Hollon has previously thrown as hard as 95 mph and is known for his sharp slider. It remains to be seen what happens with his elbow, but since all young pitchers risk injury on the long climb to the MLB level and Tommy John surgery is quite common, this seems like a low risk, money saving signing.
The Blue Jays have also just signed 6th round pick, Matt Boyd for $75,000 – much less than his slot value of $250,000. Boyd, a left-hander, has pitched as both a reliever and a starter for Oregon State. While the Jays will probably let Boyd start until he proves unsuccessful, he projects as a low-angle lefty reliever (think Aaron Loup).
The Jays have now saved a MLB leading $1.8 million against their bonus pool which will no doubt aid the signing of Bickford. Bickford, you’ll remember, has the ability to hit 97 mph with his fastball. He also mixes in a slider and change-up. If the Jays are able to convince him to forego college and sign, they will do what many other MLB clubs thought couldn’t be done and possibly get a steal with the #10 overall pick. Bickford was widely considered the top highschool arm in the Draft, but also indicated he was leaning towards pitching at least one season for Cal State.
The Blue Jays still have a lot of work to do in securing this year’s draft class, but they are off to a good start. The Jays have signed 16 of their top 40 picks, including 5 of their top 10.
See the previous blog post for a sneak peak at the top 10 draft picks. Also, see below for the current status of who has signed
|Phillip Bickford||RHP||R / R||6′ 4″||200||07/10/1995||1||10||Unsigned|
|Clinton Hollon||RHP||R / R||6′ 1″||195||12/24/1994||2||47||Unsigned|
|Patrick Murphy||RHP||R / R||6′ 4″||195||06/10/1995||3||83||06/13/2013|
|Evan Smith||LHP||R / L||6′ 5″||190||08/17/1995||4||115||06/13/2013|
|Daniel Lietz||LHP||L / L||6′ 2″||200||06/01/1994||5||145||06/13/2013|
|Matt Boyd||LHP||L / L||6′ 3″||215||02/02/1991||6||175||Unsigned|
|Conner Greene||RHP||R / R||6′ 3″||165||04/04/1995||7||205||06/13/2013|
|Kendall Graveman||RHP||R / R||6′ 2″||185||12/21/1990||8||235||Unsigned|
|Chad Girodo||LHP||L / L||6′ 1″||195||02/06/1991||9||265||Unsigned|
|Garrett Custons||C||R / R||5′ 11″||200||09/14/1990||10||295||06/13/2013|
|Jake Brentz||LHP||L / L||6′ 2″||195||09/14/1994||11||325||Unsigned|
|Tim Mayza||LHP||L / L||6′ 3″||205||01/15/1992||12||355||06/13/2013|
|Timothy Locastro||SS||R / R||6′ 1″||175||07/14/1992||13||385||06/13/2013|
|L.B. Dantzler||1B||L / R||5′ 11″||200||05/22/1991||14||415||Unsigned|
|Jonathan Davis||OF||R / R||5′ 8″||188||05/12/1992||15||445||06/13/2013|
|Dan Jansen||C||R / R||6′ 2″||215||04/15/1995||16||475||06/13/2013|
|Eric Lauer||LHP||R / L||6′ 3″||190||06/03/1995||17||505||Unsigned|
|Sean Ratcliffe||RHP||L / R||6′ 4″||200||04/11/1995||18||535||Unsigned|
|Christian Vasquez||SS||S / R||5′ 10″||170||09/11/1989||19||565||Unsigned|
|Chaz Frank||OF||L / L||5′ 10″||170||10/18/1990||20||595||Unsigned|
|Michael Reeves||C||L / R||6′ 2″||195||09/16/1990||21||625||06/13/2013|
|Sam Tewes||RHP||R / R||6′ 5″||200||02/06/1995||22||655||Unsigned|
|Brenden Kalfus||OF||S / R||6′ 0″||190||08/22/1991||23||685||06/13/2013|
|Sean Hurley||OF||R / R||6′ 4″||234||05/05/1992||24||715||06/13/2013|
|Scott Silverstein||LHP||L / L||6′ 5″||205||05/27/1990||25||745||Unsigned|
|Tanner Cable||RHP||R / R||6′ 5″||210||10/08/1993||26||775||Unsigned|
|Andrew Florides||SS||R / R||6′ 1″||170||01/22/1995||27||805||06/13/2013|
|Matt Dermody||LHP||R / L||6′ 5″||190||07/04/1990||28||835||Unsigned|
|Garrett Pickens||RHP||R / R||6′ 1″||185||04/17/1990||29||865||06/13/2013|
|Rowdy Tellez||1B||L / L||6′ 4″||220||03/16/1995||30||895||Unsigned|
|Brison Celek||1B||R / R||6′ 0″||225||01/27/1991||31||925||Unsigned|
|Josh Sawyer||LHP||R / L||6′ 3″||180||10/24/1994||32||955||Unsigned|
|Edgar Cabral||C||R / R||5′ 11″||190||09/12/1995||33||985||Unsigned|
|Dane Dunning||RHP||R / R||6′ 3″||190||12/20/1994||34||1015||Unsigned|
|Akoni Arriaga||RHP||R / R||6′ 1″||175||06/01/1995||35||1045||Unsigned|
|David Harris||SS||R / R||6′ 1″||190||08/10/1991||36||1075||06/13/2013|
|Brett Barber||RHP||R / R||6′ 1″||180||11/01/1990||37||1105||06/13/2013|
|Jon Nunnally||OF||R / R||6′ 1″||180||07/24/1995||38||1135||Unsigned|
|Zachary Levinson||SS||L / R||5′ 8″||160||09/03/1995||39||1165||Unsigned|
|Antonio Ruiz||1B||R / R||6′ 3″||215||06/03/1995||40||1195||Unsigned|