Blue Jays land most talent from 2014 Draft
If the Astros had been able to sign No. 1 overall pick Brady Aiken, fifth-rounder Jacob Nix and 21st-rounder Mac Marshall on deadline day, they would have accrued more talent from the 2014 First-Year Player Draft than any other club. Instead, the centerpieces of Houston's Draft are Virginia outfielder Derek Fisher (supplemental first round) and Kentucky first baseman A.J. Reed (second).
While Fisher and Reed were two of the top college hitters available, they weren't enough for the Astros to rank among the top Draft crops. Here are the three teams that fared the best:
1. Blue Jays - Toronto had the advantage of possessing the top pair of picks in the Draft, at No. 9 and 11, and used them on East Carolina right-hander Jeff Hoffman ($3,080,000), a candidate to go No. 1 before he had Tommy John surgery, and Kennesaw State's Max Pentecost ($2,888,300), the best true catcher available. The Jays also grabbed a pair of projectable high school pitchers in righty Sean Reid-Foley from Florida ($1,128,800) and lefty Nick Wells from Virginia ($661,800) in the second and third rounds, and they moved enough money around to land athletic Tennessee prep outfielder Lane Thomas for $750,000 in the fifth.
2. Indians - Cleveland signed six of MLBPipeline.com's Top 100 Prospects: San Francisco outfielder Bradley Zimmer ($1.9 million, first round), Tennessee high school left-hander Justus Sheffield ($1.6 million, first), Virginia outfielder/first baseman Mike Papi ($1.25 million, supplemental first), California prep righty Grant Hockin ($1.1 million, second), Mississippi high school first baseman Bobby Bradley ($912,500, third) and San Diego State outfielder Greg Allen ($200,000, sixth). No other club had more than four, and the Indians didn't stop there. Zimmer, Sheffield, Papi and Allen signed for less than their assigned pick values, enabling Cleveland to go over budget for prep pitchers Sam Hentges from Minnesota ($700,000, fourth) and Micah Miniard from Kentucky ($350,000, eighth).
3. Brewers. Milwaukee went all in on its first three picks, all high schoolers: left-hander Kodi Medeiros from Hawaii ($2.5 million, first round), shortstop Jacob Gatewood from California ($1.83 million, supplemental first) and outfielder Monte Harrison from Missouri ($1.8 million, second). Medeiros had one of the more electric arms in the draft, Gatewood had the most raw power and Harrison was the best athlete available. The Brewers took discounts on Medeiros and seven other picks in the top 10 rounds in order to afford Gatewood and Harrison and had enough cash left over to pay Hawaii prep righty Jordan Yamamoto $330,000 in the 12th round.
Not coincidentally, Toronto ($9,458,500, fourth), Cleveland ($8,234,100, eighth) and Milwaukee ($7,605,600, ninth) ranked among the 10 highest unadjusted bonus pools. Two teams that did a nice job of finding talent with thriftier allotments were the Reds ($6,973,400, 14th) and Red Sox ($6,373,300, 17th).
Cincinnati benefited from two first-rounders, Virginia right-hander Nick Howard ($1,990,500) and Stanford shortstop Alex Blandino ($1,788,000), and landed a third top college performer in UC Irvine third baseman Taylor Sparks ($972,800) in the second round. The Reds saved enough money in the back half of the top 10 rounds to exceed assigned values for four high schoolers: first baseman Gavin LaValley from Oklahoma ($525,000, fourth), second baseman Shane Mardirosian from California ($350,000, seventh), catcher Mitch Trees from Illinois ($300,000, 11th) and third baseman Montrell Marshall from Georgia ($225,000. 12th).
Boston's Draft unfolded much like Cincinnati's. The Red Sox started with two first-rounders, Georgia high school shortstop Michael Chavis ($1,870,500) and Texas prep right-hander Michael Kopech ($1.5 million), and a quality college corner infielder in Indiana first baseman Sam Travis ($846,800). After that, Boston signed four high schoolers above their assigned values: first baseman Josh Ockimey from Pennsylvania ($450,000, fifth round), righty Kevin Steen from Tennessee ($255,000, ninth), outfielder Trenton Kemp from California ($255,000, 15th) and catcher Devon Fisher from Virginia ($300,000, 20th).