While six first-round picks have yet to sign and the deadline looms at 5 p.m. ET Friday, remember that a total of only four first-rounders failed to turn pro during the previous six Drafts in the bonus-pool era. College pitchers Mark Appel (Pirates, No. 8 overall, 2012) and Kyle Funkhouser
While six first-round picks have yet to sign and the deadline looms at 5 p.m. ET Friday, remember that a total of only four first-rounders failed to turn pro during the previous six Drafts in the bonus-pool era. College pitchers Mark Appel (Pirates, No. 8 overall, 2012) and Kyle Funkhouser (Dodgers, No. 35, 2015) gambled that bigger paydays would come in their next Drafts, while the selecting teams had issues with the post-Draft physicals of Phil Bickford (Blue Jays, No. 10, 2013) and Brady Aiken (Astros, No. 1, 2014).
Last year, five first-rounders came to terms on deadline day, with No. 2 overall choice Hunter Greene accepting a $7.23 million bonus from the Reds in the final minute, and a sixth (the Astros' J.B. Bukauskas) finalized a deal he had agreed to the day before. I suspect we'll see something similar unfold Friday.
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The Twins have invested heavily in promising corner bats in the last few Drafts, spending first-round picks on Kirilloff (2016) and Larnach (2018) and a supplemental first-rounder on Rooker (2017).
Both Kirilloff and Larnach move well enough and have the arm strength for right field, while Rooker is adequate in left field but has spent more time at first base in Double-A this year. Kirilloff is the fastest of the trio, so he'd probably play in right, Larnach would shift to left and Rooker would handle first base if deployed in the same lineup.
Minnesota has some talented corner outfielders in the big leagues, however, further complicating the situation. For more on this question, check the video at the top of this Inbox.
What are your thoughts on Red Sox third baseman Michael Chavis coming off of his suspension? Were his stats a product of performance-enhancing drugs?
-- Ryan M., Baton Rouge, La.
Chavis tested positive during the offseason for dehydrochlormethyltestosterone, a banned substance that earned him an 80-game suspension. Like other players detected with DHMCT in their system, he expressed shock and denied knowingly taking it. He made his 2018 debut at short-season Lowell on Monday and eventually will head to Double-A Portland.
I won't profess to know how Chavis ingested DHMCT, but I don't believe his power is artificial. He went 26th overall in the 2014 Draft in large part because of his pop. His combination of bat speed, strength and loft in his right-handed swing enabled him to rank third in the Minors in extra-base hits (68) and fifth in homers (31) last season, and he continued to drive the ball in the Arizona Fall League.
While Chavis struggled in his first two years in full-season ball before breaking out in 2017, his improvement resulted from an improved approach. He did a better job of controlling the strike zone and understanding that he can hit home runs without swinging for the fences. He remains one of the best power prospects in baseball.
The Reds announced three signings on Tuesday, and while Byrne ($260,000 as a 14th-rounder) didn't command as much attention as Jonathan India ($5.3 million as the No. 5 overall pick) or Mike Siani ($2 million as a fourth-rounder), he has a high floor and a very good chance of reaching Cincinnati.
A right-hander, Byrne led NCAA Division I with a Florida-record 19 saves in 2017 while helping the Gators win the College World Series, and he ranked third in D-I with 16 saves this spring. Though he made only three starts in three years of college, that's in part because of the ridiculous depth of Florida's pitching staff. He's equipped to follow the path of former Gators relievers Shaun Anderson (Giants), Dane Dunning (White Sox) and Scott Moss (Reds) and move to the rotation in pro ball.
Byrne has three pitches and fine command, so he could succeed as a starter. He has a low-90s fastball that plays better than its ordinary velocity because he sinks and locates it well. He also can put his low-80s slider where he wants and flashes a solid changeup, though he didn't use it very much in a bullpen role.
The 2018 Golden Spikes Award winner as the top amateur player in the nation, Vaughn batted .402/.531/.819 and tied a California school record with 23 home runs this spring as a sophomore. He has continued to mash during the summer, leading the Cape Cod League with five homers in the first two weeks before departing to join the U.S. collegiate national team.
If the 2019 Draft were today, Vaughn would go somewhere in the upper half of the first round, likely in the 8-15 range. In terms of hitting for both average and power, he might be the best bat in his college class. He's currently a first baseman and his lack of defensive value dings his prospect status a bit, though his hands and arm may be good enough to handle a move to the hot corner.
Jim Callis is a reporter for MLB.com. Follow @jimcallisMLB on Twitter. Listen to him on the weekly Pipeline Podcast.