The Top 100 Financial Report
We’ve broken down MLBPipeline’s 2014 Top 100 Prospects list in a myriad of ways. We detail all of the phenoms’ physical attributes and statistics with their scouting reports, Jonathan Mayo looked at some of the demographics and I evaluated which tools were the best of the best.
Now it’s time for a financial report.
The Top 100 Prospects signed for a total of $201,070,100 in bonuses, and three of them landed Major League contracts that included a total of $27,275,000 in guaranteed money. That adds up to a total of $228,345,100, meaning that the average Top 100 Prospect received nearly $2.3 million to turn pro. Sixty-six of them received seven-figure bonuses, while nine got at least $5 million.
Some highlights, and some love for the scouts who got the most for their teams’ money:
The Five Highest Guarantees
1. Cubs OF Jorge Soler, No. 49 on the Top 100 ($6 million bonus, $30 million guarantee). Soler signed three weeks before his bonus would have been restricted by international spending limits in the current Collective Bargaining Agreement, so he was able to parlay his power into a nine-year big league contract. He already has collected $8 million.
2. Cubs 3B Kris Bryant, No. 9 ($6,708,400 bonus). Bryant topped Soler’s franchise bonus record and received more money than any player has in the two years under the new First-Year Player Draft rules.
3. Pirates RHP Jameson Taillon, No. 16 ($6.5 million). Four years later, Taillon still holds the records for the largest up-front bonus for a high schooler and the biggest bonus for a prep pitcher.
4. Astros RHP Mark Appel, No. 17 ($6.35 million). The No. 1 overall pick in the 2013 Draft, Appel destroyed the previous bonus record for a college senior ($2 million by Matt LaPorta in 2007).
5. Orioles RHP Dylan Bundy, No. 20 ($4 million bonus, $6,255,000 guarantee). He became the eighth — and final, unless the Draft rules change in the future — high school draftee to get a big league contract.
The Five Lowest Bonuses
1. Red Sox RHP Allen Webster, No. 46 ($20,000 bonus). More of a shortstop at a tiny North Carolina high school, he showed outstanding fastball sink when he did pitch and went to the Dodgers in the 18th round of the 2008 draft. Signing scout: Lon Joyce (Dodgers).
2. Cubs SS/2B Arismendy Alcantara, No. 89 ($27,000 bonus). Alcantara didn’t command a large bonus because he was undersized and lacked strength when he signed out of the Dominican Republic in 2008. He didn’t break out as a prospect until four years later. Signing scouts: Jose Serra, Marino Encarnacion, Carlos Reyes.
3. Royals RHP Yordano Ventura, No. 35 ($28,000 bonus). Though his fastball tops triple digits now, Ventura weighed 148 pounds and threw in the mid-80s when he signed out of the Dominican in 2008. Signing scout: Pedro Silverio.
4. Cubs RHP C.J. Edwards, No. 42 ($50,000 bonus). Area scout Chris Kemp had recruited Edwards, a South Carolina high schooler, when he was an assistant coach at Spartanburg Methodist (S.C.) JC. After Kemp joined the Rangers as an area scout, he grabbed him in the 48th round of the 2011 draft. Signing scout: Chris Kemp (Rangers).
5. Mets RHP Rafael Montero, No. 85 ($80,000 bonus). Most top Latin American prospects sign at age 16, but the small and skinny Montero had to weight until he was 20 to turn pro out of the Dominican in 2011. Signing scouts: Rafael Perez, Ismael Cruz, Gerardo Cabrera.
The Five Best Bargains Among Top 25 Prospects
1. Cardinals OF Oscar Taveras, No. 3 ($145,000 bonus). Signed in 2008 out of the Dominican, Taveras is the Cardinals’ best hitting prospect since Albert Pujols — one of the biggest bargains ever at $60,000 as a 13th-round Draft pick. Signing scout: Juan Mercado.
2. Pirates OF Gregory Polanco, No. 13 ($175,000 bonus). In the Dominican Republic in 2009, the Pirates nabbed not only Polanco but also got SS Alen Hanson, No. 67 on the Top 100, for $90,000. Signing scouts: Rene Gayo, Ellis Pena.
3. Red Sox SS Xander Bogaerts, No. 2 ($410,000 bonus). Boston’s 2013 World Series shares ($307,322.68) represented nearly as much as Bogaerts signed for out of Aruba in 2009. Signing scout: Mike Lord.
4. Mets RHP Noah Syndergaard, No. 11 ($600,000 bonus). Syndergaard’s velocity didn’t spike until late in the spring when he was a Texas high schooler, so the Blue Jays had enough leverage to sign him for $258,600 under MLB’s slot recommendation as the 38th overall pick in 2010. Signing scout: Steve Miller (Blue Jays).
5. Blue Jays RHP Aaron Sanchez, No. 23 ($775,000 bonus). Four picks before Syndergaard in 2010, Toronto struck again with Sanchez, a highly-rated California prepster who agreed to turn pro for $143,000 less than MLB’s slot recommendation. Signing scout: Blake Crosby.