Posted: 10:44 am Monday, June 4th, 2012

Baseball: Game has changed for prospects, teams in 2012 MLB Draft 

By Matt Porter

Last summer, three Palm Beach County high school players signed professional contracts after their names were called in the Major League Baseball draft.

This summer will in all likelihood be much quieter.

MLB’s new labor agreement has changed contract negotiations for MLB clubs and the players they select in the Draft, which begins at 7 p.m. tonight and runs through Wednesday.

Teams can now spend up to a certain amount for all of their picks in the first 10 rounds. In previous years, the MLB commissioner’s office offered a suggested bonus amount, or slot, for a given pick. Teams often overspent those amounts, but teams now face tax penalties and possible loss of draft picks if they do so.

For example, last year’s 126th overall pick was Santaluces right-hander Kyle Smith, chosen by the Kansas City Royals. Smith had a scholarship to Florida, but he agreed to a $695,000 bonus with the Royals, nearly three times the suggested slot value.

This year, $370,000 is the suggested bonus for the 126th pick, held by the Seattle Mariners. If the Mariners want to sign that pick for Smith’s money, they’ll have much less to spread around. Seattle has $8,223,400 to spend on 11 picks in the first 10 rounds.

Bonuses for players drafted after the first 10 rounds do not count against a team’s signing budget unless they exceed $100,000. The ever-useful Baseball America has a chart of every team’s 10-round budget.

It’s a clear victory for college programs, which won’t lose as many high school players to the Draft.

“Those kids that are drafted in the lower rounds, they’re going to end up in college,” Stetson coach Pete Dunn said. “Those are the kids that need to go to college, anyway.”

Also, the deadline for signing draft picks has moved from August 15 to July 13.

Projecting the draft

Last year, Smith and West Boca Raton pitcher Michael Kelly were chosen in the first 10 rounds of the Draft. Kelly was selected 48th overall by the San Diego Padres and signed for $718,000, a total $10,000 below slot. Shortstop Tyler Greene, also of West Boca Raton, was drafted in the 11th round by the Philadelphia Phillies and signed for $325,000, which was equivalent to third-round money.

This year, Florida Atlantic pitcher R.J. Alvarez and Palm Beach State pitcher Brandon Welch are the top area prospects according to Baseball America‘s rankings.

Alvarez, from Cardinal Newman, is ranked 78th overall. Welch, a Palm Beach Gardens alum, is 135th. Catcher Bryan de la Rosa, of Delray Beach-based Bucky Dent Academy, is 200th.

The top-ranked area high school player is Dwyer center fielder Jamal Martin, who could go somewhere in rounds 8-15. Martin has signed with Florida State.

The Draft runs Monday through Wednesday. The first round and Compensation Round A begin at 7 p.m. and will be carried live on MLB Network and MLB.com. Rounds 2-40 will be streamed live on MLB.com Tuesday and Wednesday.

Palm Beach County prospects in 2012 MLB Draft
MLB.com’s draft database lists 15 players with ties to Palm Beach County high schools. Predicting where they might land in this year’s draft, along with a few other names that could be called.

Pos — Name, School/High School (College commitment)
Rounds 2-10
RHP — R.J. Alvarez, Florida Atlantic/Cardinal Newman
RHP — Brandon Welch, Palm Beach State/Palm Beach Gardens
C — Bryan De La Rosa, Bucky Dent Academy
11-20
3B — Ben Carhart, Stetson/Palm Beach Gardens
C — Sam Kimmel, Stetson/Palm Beach Gardens
OF — Jamal Martin, Dwyer (Florida State)
RHP — Kurt Schluter, Stetson/Jupiter
2B — Devon Travis, Florida State/Palm Beach Central
21-30
RHP — Jake Boyd, Stetson/John I. Leonard
CF — Tyler Thompson, Florida/Jupiter
CF — Kamm Washington, Lynn/Park Vista
LHP — Chris Matulis, Central Florida/Park Vista
LHP — Parker Danciu, Bucky Dent Academy/West Boca Raton (Florida)
C — Phildrick Llewellyn, Trinity Christian (Florida International)
C — Robbie Coman, Park Vista (Virginia)
1B — Alexander Rodriguez, Trinity Christian (Ball State)
C — Kevin Stypulkowski, King’s Academy (Florida)

Other hopefuls
OF — Christopher Barr, Royal Palm Beach (Miami)
SS — Alex Hernandez, Palm Beach State/Palm Beach Central
C — Brady Roberson, Palm Beach Central (Florida)
LHP — Dylan Silva, American Heritage (Florida State)
RHP — J.D. Underwood, Palm Beach State/Palm Beach Gardens
OF — Danny Young, St. Andrew’s (Florida)

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