The MLB Draft and its new bonus pool restrictions are very relatable for the non-super rich baseball team-owning class. There is the initial thrill of buying something exorbitant and fancy, and days and weeks afterward spent trying to figure out how the hell to pay for it. What drastic cutbacks to other areas of life can be made to accommodate this indulgence?
Super rich baseball team owners ultimately don’t have to sacrifice anything real, and should thus be as aggressive as possible, but it’s still fun to watch them contort themselves. But so far into the draft signing period, the Sox aren’t doing anything contorting besides what they’re doing to expectations.
The White Sox drafted Carlos Rodon in the first round--as they should have--a Scott Boras client who thought he should have gone 1-1 in the draft and will likely look to console himself by getting paid like it, and reacted...accordingly.
They picked up blatant senior signs without leverage in the sixth and eighth rounds with Louis Lechich and John Ziznewski, and likely have below-slot candidates in fourth-round selection Brett Austin and fifth-round upside pick Zach Thompson.
But fears that the Sox draft would be light outside their expensive upper crust were eased when their throwaway 10th round pick of high schooler Jake Jarvis resulted in a top-100 prep prospect entering the system.
If it takes three to be a trend, then the Sox are one more high schooler being the team high school talents are willing to forsake long battles for over-slot bonuses for. Second-round pick Spencer Adams agreed in principle to a slot-valued contract, according to Dan Hayes, despite many first round grades on his talent and speculation that his slide was due to signability concerns.
It’s a particularly loathsome path for fan analysis to start assessing whether players chose your favorite team because it’s special. But it’s more than a little apparent that the Sox are heavily emphasizing Don Cooper and the team’s pitcher development track record to prospects as they decide what the best path for their professional careers are. More results like Adams’ signing are only going to provide more assurance that it’s working.
Meanwhile, in the case of the actual most important guy in the draft, Hahn is trying to downplay the expected trouble of dealing with Carlos Rodon’s agent--pretty much the only baseball agent that’s recognizable to the common fan--Scott Boras.
"Look, in reality, we have a history with Scott, a positive history with Scott," Hahn said. "He had Joe Crede, he's got [Dayan] Viciedo, [and] we had Andruw Jones here. A fair amount of this concern, or discussion on how this could be difficult, I think is unnecessary and really not significant to us determining what's going to happen here.”
Somewhere along the line, the White Sox general wariness of dealing with a super-skilled agent was played up into it being impossible for the two to ever do business. Wariness and preferences also aren’t particularly relevant here--this is a forced pairing. Rodon can certainly be convinced he can be a 1-1 pick, the past year should have informed plenty of how more innings at the college level does not equate to more regard.
Boras is not one to approve of his clients wasting leverage, so by all means expect to this to stretch until the final days of the signing on July 18. It’s par for a very long, drawn-out and potentially irritating course.
Of note, while it’s not a sexy second day pick, but the Sox have reportedly reached terms with 11th round pick Zachary Fish.
Named for the popular entree and hailing from the program that produced Josh Fields, Fish has been doing the heavy lifting for the Big 12 champion Oklahoma State lineup, hitting .314/.396/.525 with 11 bombs. He’s mixed in some time behind the plate in the past, but he’s primarily a beefy corner outfielder (5’11”, 210 lbs) who just earned his second-straight all-conference honors.
The power production wasn’t very steady until this year, and he’s got a bit of a Dayan Viciedo build, but for a guy who slipped out of the first ten rounds, there’s some production here. A 20% K-rate in college is probably not great news.