Day 2 of the 2012 MLB draft answered some questions about how the new Collective Bargaining Agreement would impact amateur player acquisition. The early rounds went, more or less, as expected: a mixture of college and high school picks distributed, more or less, as they should be along talent lines.
However, after the fifth round more teams began bargain hunting, picking players (often college seniors) with little bargaining power. The idea here was to find players who were certain to sign, especially those who would sign for less than slot value. Teams could then pocket that money to help sign players who might require over-slot bonuses without breaking through the club's absolute limit of bonus money allocated under the new system.
Signability was also critical: teams lose the bonus allocation for players drafted in the 10th round or earlier who don't sign. Interestingly teams were more aggressive in rounds 11 through 15. Players earning $100,000 bonuses or less after the 10th round don't count against the team's bonus pool. Bonuses over $100,000 after the 10th round do count against the bonus pool, however, a team that saved a lot of money in the middle rounds could then allocate that money to help sign a guy drafted in the 11th round or later.
Here is a look at some notable picks in the second round or later. This is not a "best of each round" list, but rather a look at interesting players that demonstrate the variety of backgrounds available. For more information about the draft, including an analysis of each draft class in the coming days, check in at Minorleagueball.com.
Nolan Fontana, SS, Houston Astros: Drafted in the second round, 61st overall, this University of Florida shortstop doesn't have superior tools but is extremely polished, with an impressive glove at shortstop as well as a good feel for the strike zone.
Bruce Maxwell, C-1B, Oakland Athletics: Drafted in the second round, 62nd overall from Birmingham Southern University, this slugger hit .471/.619/.928 with 59 walks and just 11 strikeouts this spring. It was Division III competition, but scouts feel his bat is for real and Oakland is optimistic he can catch.
Carson Kelly, 3B, St. Louis Cardinals: Drafted in the second round and 86th overall, Kelly is a high school infielder from Portland, Oregon, who has strong tools in all categories except speed. He has power, a reasonably polished approach at the plate, good actions at third, and a strong throwing arm. He is also one of the youngest players in the class at age 17.
Kieran Lovegrove, RHP, Cleveland Indians: Selected in the third round and 110th overall, this California high school pitcher was born in South Africa. Lanky and projectable, he's inconsistent with his velocity but shows a good feel for pitching and isn't likely to end up at Arizona State.
Onelkis Garcia, LHP, Los Angeles Dodgers: Drafted in the third round 113th overall, Garcia is a Cuban defector who was declared draft-eligible in January. He has a low-90s fastball and an impressive curve, but was floating huge bonus demands last week. It will be interesting to see how those negotiations go.
Patrick Kivlehan, 3B, Seattle Mariners: Selected in the fourth round, 131st overall, this third baseman from Rutgers was unknown six months ago, but decided to play baseball after four years of college football. The results were stunning: he hit .399/.484/.710 with 14 homers and showed solid tools. Plus, he's smart enough to pick baseball over football.
Damien Magnifico, RHP, Milwaukee Brewers: Chosen in the fifth round, 185th overall, from the University of Oklahoma, Magnifico burns radar with a 96-99 MPH fastball and has been clocked over 100 many times. Despite the velocity, he was only moderately successful in college and has a history of elbow problems, which knocked his stock down.
Damion Carroll, RHP, Tampa Bay Rays: Selected in the sixth round, 212th overall, Carroll is a high school pitcher from King George, Virginia. Athletic but raw, he can hit 95 MPH but needs help with his secondary pitches. The Rays have a strong pitching development system and seem like a great fit for him.
Wilfredo Rodriguez, C, Colorado Rockies: Nabbed in the seventh round, 228th overall, this high school catcher from the Puerto Rico Baseball Academy is short but strong at 5-10, 210, features a good arm, power potential in his bat, and impressive makeup.
Josh Ludy, C, Philadelphia Phillies: Selected in the eighth round, 278th overall, Ludy was Big 12 Player of the Year following an outstanding season for the Baylor Bears. He hit .368/.453/.637 with 15 homers, while demonstrating decent defense behind the plate. Scouts don't love his 5-10, 210 pound body but his bat draws respect, and he's a potential bargain as a senior.
Jamodrick McGruder, 2B, Seattle Mariners: Drafted in the ninth round, 281st overall, McGruder was outstanding for Texas Tech, posting a .358/.500/.503 line with 39 steals. He's a decent defender and packs a lot of speed, athleticism, and some wiry strength into his 5-7, 170 pound body.
Joe Bircher, LHP, Houston Astros: Picked in the 10th round, 309th overall, Bircher is a lefty from Bradley University who led the Cape Cod League in strikeouts last summer and was similarly brilliant this spring (2.70 ERA, 113/21 K/BB in 110 innings), despite a fastball that seldom exceeds 87 MPH. His command is outstanding.
Hunter Virant, LHP, Houston Astros: Selected in the 11th round, 339th overall, Virant was expected to be a second-round pick and it will cost a lot of money to buy him away from UCLA. Can the Astros find the money without breaking their bonus budget limits? Good question, but they lose nothing by trying except an 11th round pick.
Ryan Kellogg, LHP, Toronto Blue Jays: Picked in the 12th round, 385th overall, Kellogg is a high school pitcher from Ontario with average velocity but a very projectable frame. He also has an Arizona State scholarship, but just like the Astros with Virant, the Blue Jays lose nothing by trying to sign him, and perhaps the local connection will help.
Brett Wiley, SS, St. Louis Cardinals: Picked in the 13th round, 420th overall, from Jefferson Community College in Missouri, Wiley is a JC star with speed, doubles power, decent plate discipline and the defensive tools for shortstop.
Tyler Hollick, OF, San Francisco Giants: Picked in the 14th round, 448th overall, from Chandler-Gilbert Community College in Arizona, Hollick is a center fielder with speed (61 steals), good plate discipline and an outstanding statistical track record.
Jameis Winston, OF, Texas Rangers: Selected in the 15th round, 486th overall, from high school in Hueytown, Alabama, Winston is an outstanding athlete and the top quarterback recruit in the country. Scouts would love to see how his speed, strength and throwing arm would work in pro baseball, but by all accounts he's heading to college. The Rangers don't lose anything by drafting him in the 15th round and seeing what happens.