Sorry for my recent absence. Things have been hectic over the last week or so, and will likely remain so until Friday. However, today’s signing deadline news is pretty important, so here is what has happened so far.
- Slade Heathcott, the Yankees’ first round pick, signed for 2.2 million, almost double the slot recommendation for the 29th pick. The 5-tool outfielder from Texas was seen as a safe bet to sign when he was drafted, though he was reportedly looking for a bonus around 2 million. Considering Heathcott’s leverage over the Yankees (there would be no compensation if they didn’t sign him), it makes sense that he got 2 million. It’s probably more than he would have signed for if another team drafted him, but Heathcott is talented enough to be worth the risk. Ryan Westmoreland, a similar type of talent, received 2 million from Boston last season.
- JR Murphy, the Yankees 2nd round pick, signed for 1.25 million, over double the recommended slot value for the pick (and more than twice what Austin Romine received in ’07). This is low first-rounder money, and more than Boston’s first-rounder Reymond Fuentes received. The size of the bonus (the largest given out to a 2nd-rounder so far) indicates Murphy’s leverage (he had a scholarship to Miami, and there was no compensaton if he didn’t sign), but also is indicative of what the Yankees think of Murphy’s talent. I think of him as a similar player to Romine, with much better plate discipline (one of Romine’s weaknesses). He, along with Gary Sanchez, will be an exciting duo of catching prospects to follow in the low minors next season.
- Caleb Cotham, 5th-rounder and RHP from Vanderbilt, signed for a $650,000 dollar bonus, 4 times the recommended slot value. Cotham had leverage as a draft-eligible sophomore, but apparently his expectations were in line with the Yankees’ valuation of him. Cotham excelled in a short stint in the Cape Cod League this season, as he went 1-0 with 7 hits allowed and 1 walk in 13 scoreless innings, with 15 strikeouts. Cotham has a low-90′s sinker and a good slider, and Lane Meyer of NoMaas is high on his stuff, referring to Cotham as PMJ (Poor Man’s Joba). I would take that any day, and for $650,000, so would the Yankees.
- Graham Stoneburner, the Yankees’ 14th-rounder, has reportedly agreed to terms on an overslot bonus (still TBA). The draft-eligible sophomore from Clemson, who can hit 96 with his fastball, would be a nice addition to the Yankee farm. He has decent control, but needs to develop his secondary offerings if he is going to stay as a starter. Otherwise, he could be an exciting bullpen prospect.
- Bryan Mitchell, the Yankees’ 16th-round pick, was signed for $800,000. Mitchell, a 6’2″ high school RHP from North Carolina, was committed to UNC. The Yankees were following how he did in summer ball, and evidently, they were impressed enough to give him a big enough bonus to break the notoriously tough UNC commitment. Mitchell throws in the low-90′s with a good power curveball as his strikeout pitch. Mitchell is a nice prep pitching addition.
- Evan DeLuca, a LHP from Immaculata High School in New Jersey, signed at the last minute for a $500,000 bonus, much more than a typical 44th-round pick receives. DeLuca, signed away from the University of San Diego, is a 6’1″ lefty with a fastball that sits in the low-90′s, a sharp slider, and a decent changeup. Looks like another nice signing by the Yanks and Damon Oppenheimer.