It looks like we’re going to have another very busy Aug. 15 this year. As of Tuesday morning, only nine of the 30 first-round picks have signed. A mere two of the top 16 have inked deals.
Here’s the top 16:
1. Pirates: RHP Gerrit Cole
2. Mariners: LHP Danny Hultzen
3. Diamondbacks: RHP Trevor Bauer (SIGNED)
4. Orioles: RHP Dylan Bundy
5. Royals: OF Bubba Starling
6. Nationals: 3B Anthony Rendon
7. Diamondbacks: RHP Archie Bradley
8. Indians: SS Francisco Lindor
9. Cubs: SS Javier Baez
10. Padres: 2B Cory Spangenberg (SIGNED)
11. Astros: OF George Springer
12. Brewers: RHP Taylor Jungmann
13. Mets: OF Brandon Nimmo
14. Marlins: RHP Jose Fernandez
15. Brewers: LHP Jed Bradley
16. Dodgers: LHP Chris Reed
In the end, most of these guys are going to sign. MLB is frowning upon teams giving above-slot contracts to players before the deadline, which works against the ability of teams to get deals done before Aug. 15. Still, it’d be a surprise if more than one or two of these players went unsigned past the deadline.
The player here many viewed as the toughest signing going in, Starling, is sitting out football practice at Nebraska while negotiating with the Royals. That would seem to bode well for Kansas City’s chances.
The Red Sox, meanwhile, haven’t signed any of their four first- and supplemental first-round picks. WEEI’s Alex Speier runs down the situation with No. 19 pick Matt Barnes, No. 26 pick Blake Swihart, No. 36 pick Henry Owens and No. 40 pick Jackie Bradley Jr. here.
Giants second baseman Joe Panik missed nearly all of August and September last season due to a nagging back injury, but he told Alex Pavlovic of CSNBayArea.com on Friday that he’s feeling “100 percent.”
Panik, who earned his first All-Star selection last season, originally landed on the disabled list in early August due to what was described as lower back inflammation. He made his return in September, but appeared in just three games before being shut down. The good news is that he was cleared by doctors in mid-December and considers himself “back to normal.”
“It was right around the time of all the signings,” he said, smiling. “I was able to fly under the radar. I got tested and everything had healed up. I got cleared and was able to have my full offseason workouts. I’m good to go. I’m happy to be feeling good and going back out on the field to show that I’m healthy. My swing feels strong.”
Panik altered his offseason workout routine and plans to spend less time in his spikes in the early part of spring training. The hope is that these changes will prevent future issues.
After a strong showing as a rookie in 2014, the 25-year-old Panik proved to be one of the best second baseman in the majors last season by batting .312/.378/.455 with eight home runs and 37 RBI over 100 games while playing solid defense.
Baseball America unveiled their top 100 prospect list Friday night during a special on MLB Network. It should come as no surprise that Dodgers infielder Corey Seager came in at No. 1.
This makes Seager the consensus top prospect in the game. He was also ranked first by MLB.com, Baseball Prospectus, and ESPN’s Keith Law. Twins outfielder Byron Buxton was ranked second on all four lists.
Baseball America has the most aggressive ranking of Cuban infielder Yoan Moncada from the Red Sox, who checked in at No. 3. He was followed by pitching prospects Lucas Giolito from the Nationals and Julio Urias from the Dodgers to round out the top five.
You can see Baseball America’s full top 100 list here.
Mets reliever Jenrry Mejia was permanently suspended on Friday after testing positive for a third time for a performance-enhancing drug. The right-hander is maintaining his innocence, as ESPN’s Adam Rubin notes in quoting Dominican sports journalist Hector Gomez. Mejia said, “It is not like they say. I am sure that I did not use anything.”
Mejia has the opportunity to petition commissioner Rob Manfred in one year for reinstatement to Major League Baseball. However, he must sit out at least two years before becoming eligible to pitch in the majors again, which would mean Mejia would be 28 years old.
Over parts of five seasons, Mejia has a career 3.68 ERA with 162 strikeouts and 76 walks over 183 1/3 innings. He was once a top prospect in the Mets’ minor league system and a top-100 overall prospect heading into the 2010 and ’11 seasons.
Nationals outfielder Bryce Harper is at least three years away from free agency, but people are already contemplating just how large a contract the phenom will be able to negotiate, especially after taking home the National League Most Valuable Player Award for his performance this past season.
When the likes of David Price and Zack Greinke are signing for over $200 million at the age of 30 or older, it stands to reason that Harper could draw more as a 26-year-old if he can maintain MVP-esque levels of production over the next several seasons. $400 million might not be enough for Harper, though, as MLB.com’s Jamal Collier reports. He said, “Don’t sell me short,” which is a fantastic response.
During the 2015 season, Harper led the majors with a .460 on-base percentage and a .649 slugging percentage while leading the National League with 42 home runs and 118 runs scored. He also knocked in 99 runs for good measure. Harper and Ted Williams are the only hitters in baseball history to put up an adjusted OPS of 195 or better (100 is average) at the age of 22 or younger.