Father of a Texas high school shortstop seeks advice

5/3/05

 

I found your list of the top 30 prospects and really enjoyed the info shared. But where can I go to find out more info of potential prospects, specifically high school guys?

 

My son is a shortstop from a high school in Texas. He is being visited with several scouts and trying to get a feel as we know nothing about nothing.

 

He has turned enough heads and have rec’d enough pro info / player “Q” / medical info to muddy up the water. This idea of answering “what round would you sign in?” is difficult w/out knowing more about the draft itself.

 

Thanks so much.

 

 

Baseball Examiner:

 

Thank you for your inquiry. Baseball America does a great job with high school prospects. Their preseason Top 100 is at http://www.baseballamerica.com/online/highschool/050201top100.html. Their Prospects Plus service is a phenomenal compilation of several high school prospect scouting reports. The lesser of the two plans provides all kinds of prospect lists but without the scouting reports.

For other information about dealing with scouts & matters like that, www.hsbaseballweb.com is one site that could help you. Another great website is www.perfectgame.org. Perfect Game puts together plenty of high school showcases, allowing scouts the opportunity to see several of the top high school prospects against each other.

 

For many more sites, go to www.baseball-links.com and click on the Scouting/Recruiting/Tryouts link. You might be able to find plenty of helpful information from any of the sites there.

 

I'm not familiar with your son so I have no idea what scouts may think of him, but I have a few thoughts on what they might mean by asking him what round he'd be willing to sign in.

First of all, if he's not been to any of the Perfect Game showcases or anything like that, it's very unlikely that he'll be selected in the first few rounds. (see the 2004 Draft facts at http://www.perfectgame.org/2005/whos%5Fhot/)

Secondly, I'm sure they ask the question about willingness to sign because of money (i.e. signing bonus). What they're trying to get at is: would he be willing to sign without receiving a signing bonus? If he would request a signing bonus, how much is he requesting?

At http://www.baseballamerica.com/today/2004draft/2004draftdb.html, you can search the 2004 draft round by round with all the signing bonuses included. The players in bold are those who signed. The unbolded players did not sign. This will give you an idea about what kind of money to generally expect in each round. For example:
3rd round = ~$400,000
5th round = ~$150,000-200,000
9th round = ~$60,000-70,000

As you would see, almost no players drafted after the 10th round receive any kind of signing bonus. The only ones who are signed past the 10th round are players who have top-round talent but slipped to later rounds in the draft due to either injury concerns or extravagant bonus demands that teams didn't want to pay, so they draft them late and try to talk them down. If the team isn't able to talk them down, well, then they only wasted a late round pick instead of wasting an early round pick on a player they couldn't sign.

If the scouts see your son as a possible pick in the first 10 rounds, they may want to know what round he's willing to sign in based on how much he's willing to sign for. For example, if your son says he won't sign for anything less than $100,000, then they better see him as no worse than a 6th or 7th round value or they might not draft him at all because they've been scared off that he won't sign for anything less than $100,000.

It's possible that if the scouts see him as a potential 15th or 20th round pick, then they want to know if he's willing to sign without receiving any bonus money at all. If your son demands money and they don't see him as a potential pick in the first 10 rounds, he may not get drafted at all.

Another thing scouts have to take into account is how serious a player may be to a college commitment. A player could say something like "If you don't sign me for ($X amount), then I'm going to college." If the scout thinks that the kid is not worth the signing bonus demand, he probably will be passed over for other kids who will be willing to sign for less or nothing.

Some kids drafted in later rounds (with no signing bonus) may choose college over signing a professional contract. Others may be willing to sign a professional contract for no bonus. These are the kinds of things that scouts are trying to get answered. These are also the questions you and your son need to consider.

If you want to know more about where your son might rank, I suggest trying to get in touch with Allan Simpson, founder of Baseball America and a phenomenal draft hound. He organizes their Prospect Plus rankings. If you can't get in touch with Allan Simpson, then try Alan Matthews who has been covering high school baseball this season for Baseball America. Maybe they can give you some idea about where your son ranks and what round teams may be willing to select him.

Hope this helps. If you ever want to talk more, please don't hesitate to contact me. I wish the best for you and your son!