Here’s something that I nearly added as simple scuttlebutt on tonight’s Game Threat, but which expanded enough to make me reconsider and give it a post of its own.
From a tweet by Jim Callis of Baseball America, the Jays have signed second round pick Clinton Hollon– and, rather crucially, have done so at 40% of his slot recommendation ($467,280, to be specific), because of elbow issues. In particular, there was a UCL problem in his MRI, though the fact that Hollon has been hurt was known at the time he was selected.
Chris Crawford of MLB Draft Insider tweets that “With the Hollon signing, the Blue Jays have a crap-load (official term) to spend on their remaining picks.” He continues in a later tweet that “If they signed Bickford for $3 [million], they could still offer Brentz, Lauer, Tellez, etc. over-slot deals. Very interesting.”
FYI, Tellez is the one I’ve been most curious about, and not just because his first name is Rowdy. He’s a big prep bat at first base out of high school in California and ranked 49th on the top 50 draft prospects list at Baseball America heading into the draft.
A scouting profile at Perfect Game (subscription req’d) describes him thusly:
Tellez was well known to scouts as early as his freshman year and his power hitting resume has few flaws. A big and very strong 6-foot-4, 240-pound left handed hitter, Tellez, whose given name is Ryan, won the Rawlings Home Run Challenge at the 2012 Perfect Game National Showcase and stories of some of his most prodigious blasts are local legend in the Sacramento baseball community judging by local media reports.
His draft summary at MLB.com reads much the same way:
Big, strong, left-handed-hitting first basemen don’t come through the Draft all that often these days. Tellez fits that mold, and his ability to do damage with the bat was generating some buzz this spring. The Northern California area product has a good idea of what he’s doing at the plate. He hits the ball with authority to all fields and he should be able to hit for average. His power tool is even better, with an ability to hit the ball out anywhere, with plus-plus pop to the pull side. Tellez is a capable fielder at first base, but there’s no question what teams are looking at. It’s that bat and the team that covets his power from the left side the most will be the one to take him.
He’s the kind of talent you can really dream on– at least, judging by those words– and that the Jays system, with its pitching- and raw tools-heavy drafts, of late, doesn’t have a whole lot of. He fell to the 30th round, presumably, due to financial demands and a strong commitment to play college ball at USC. Freeing up bonus pool money the way that they have certainly doesn’t mean that the Jays are going to get him– or Bickford, or any of the other late round names Crawford mentions– but it sure does look like they’re at least in a position to take a run at him and try to throw enough money at him to get him into the system.
For a top 50 talent who they didn’t get until the 30th round of the draft, that sounds like a pretty alright position to be in, to me.
And it’s not like Clinton Hollon is a slouch, either. The tweet from Callis notes that he can hit 95 and has a sharp slider, and as I noted at the time he and Bickford were selected on day one of the draft, a year ago– which, granted, is a looooong time in terms of these draft prospects– Jason Churchill of ESPN.com rated him the nation’s top high school junior arm.
So… yeah, this strategy could definitely prove a fruitful one for the Jays– especially if you’re of the mind that pretty much all pitchers are going to get hurt anyway, and that snapping them up for a discount because of a poorly-timed injury, relative to their draft eligibility, maybe makes a lot of sense. Y’know… until a bunch of them start turning up as damaged goods. But still! You get a guy like Tellez into the system in the exchange, and maybe it doesn’t even change that equation.
It all works for me, at least. Provided, y’know, they actually can get these guys to take their money.