Top 5 Drafts: Updated after signing deadline
How well a team did in the Draft can look significantly different in early June -- right after selections have been made -- than in mid-July, when the deadline for signing players arrives.
When we initially assessed how clubs fared six weeks ago, the Dodgers looked extremely fortunate to have had two of the top college arms, Vanderbilt's Walker Buehler and Louisville's Kyle Funkhouser, fall in their laps with the 24th and 35th overall picks. But L.A. was unable to come to terms with Funkhouser by Friday's deadline, and while it did land Buehler for $1.78 million, his post-Draft physical revealed that he'll need Tommy John surgery.
So will Wilson High (Long Beach, Calif.) catcher Chris Betts, who got $1.485 million Friday as the second-round choice of the Rays. Along with Los Angeles, Tampa Bay cracked our June top-five list of best Drafts. While elbow reconstruction shouldn't affect Betts' lofty offensive ceiling, scouts already had doubts about his ability to stay behind the plate, and the surgery will cost him valuable development time.
Neither the Dodgers nor the Rays make an appearance on our post-deadline list of the best Drafts. The Astros enhanced their claim on the top spot, while the Indians and Athletics join the top five:
1. Houston Astros
Armed with a record $17,289,200 bonus pool and an unprecedented two of the first five picks, Houston was in great position to begin with. The Astros took two of the best position players available, Louisiana State shortstop Alex Bregman and Plant High (Tampa, Fla.) outfielder Kyle Tucker with their top two choices, then stole a third when Eagle's Landing Christian Academy (McDonough, Ga.) outfielder Daz Cameron fell all the way to No. 37.
Those three signed for a combined $13.9 million -- $5.9 million for Bregman, $4 million for each outfielder -- which left Houston enough room to pay Mission Viejo (Calif.) left-hander Patrick Sandoval $900,000 in the 11th round. The Astros also gave seven-figure bonuses to two college right-handers who should advance quickly, Cal State Fullerton's Thomas Eshelman (second round, $1.1 million) and Texas Christian's Riley Ferrell (third, $1 million).
2. Colorado Rockies
With the Nos. 3 and 27 overall selections, a club shouldn't be able to land the high school hitter and pitcher with the highest ceilings in the entire Draft, but that's exactly what Colorado did with Lake Mary (Fla.) High shortstop Brendan Rodgers and Stroudsburg (Pa.) High right-hander Mike Nikorak.
The Rockies spent most of their $13,989,800 bonus pool at the top of their Draft, paying Rodgers $5.5 million and giving above-slot bonuses to Nikorak ($2.3 million), Poway (Calif.) High third baseman Tyler Nevin (supplemental first round, $2 million) and San Dimas (Calif.) High righty Peter Lambert (second, $1,495,000).
3. Cleveland Indians
Cleveland took a worthwhile gamble at No. 17 on IMG Academy (Bradenton, Fla.) post-graduate left-hander Brady Aiken, the unsigned No. 1 overall pick from 2014 who's recovering from Tommy John surgery.
After him, the Indians stocked up on quality prep arms (Royal Palm Beach, Fla., High right-hander Triston McKenzie in the supplemental first round, Olympia High/Orlando, Fla. lefty Juan Hillman in the second, Quartz Hills, Calif., High righty Jonas Wyatt in the sixth) and proven college bats (Cal Poly second baseman Mark Mathias in the third, Clemson shortstop Tyler Krieger in the fourth). Only Aiken ($2,513,280) and McKenzie ($2,302,500) required above-slot bonuses.
The cherry on top was Keller (Texas) High shortstop Luke Wakamatsu (20th round), who most clubs thought couldn't be lured away from his Rice commitment but signed for $290,000.
4. Texas Rangers
Texas went big with its first three selections, shelling out $8.2 million of its $9,099,900 pool on the high ceilings of UC Santa Barbara right-hander Dillon Tate (No. 4 overall, $4.2 million), West Columbus High (Cerro Gordo, N.C.) outfielder Eric Jenkins (second round, $2 million) and Duke righty Michael Matuella (third, $2 million).
Tate was a candidate to go No. 1 overall, and Matuella would have been had he not needed Tommy John surgery. The Rangers also could get big payoffs from two other college righties who slid: Houston's Jake Lemoine (fourth round), a potential first-rounder before he went down with a shoulder impingement, and Vanderbilt's Tyler Ferguson (sixth), a possible second-rounder until his control deserted him.
5. Oakland Athletics
Oakland got one of the best defensive shortstops in the Draft with Florida's Richie Martin at No. 20 and another first-round-caliber talent in the third with Forsyth High (Cumming, Ga.) right-hander Dakota Chalmers.
Martin ($1.95 million) and Chalmers ($1.2 million) received the only seven-figure bonuses from the A's, who did a nice job working with a modest $5,444,100 pool. They got gamer Alabama shortstop Mikey White for $900,000 in the second round and went over slot to get Chalmers, North Carolina outfielder Skye Bolt (fourth round, $650,000) and Florida State righty Boomer Bieglaski (14th, $300,000).
Illinois left-hander Kevin Duchene (fifth), San Diego State righty Buddy Derby (sixth) and Georgetown catcher Nick Collins (eighth) were good values for where they went
The next five (in order): Giants, Braves, Yankees, Royals, Rays.