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2012 MLB Draft Signing Deadline: D-Day

The MLB Signing Deadline has now come and gone and there were some major signings at the tape. Let’s just straight to it and point out the fact that the Nationals have done it again. The Nats agreed to sign first round selection Lucas Giolito who obtained a $2.925MM bonus, according to reports. The slot was a $2.1MM bonus for the 16th overall selection, but Giolito was considered by Baseball Instinct as the clear cut #1 overall talent in this draft despite issues with his elbow.

We love the signing both for the Nationals and for Giolito himself. He’s a pitcher we have followed very closely for a long time and the elbow injury was gut wrenching news when we heard it. But with this bonus he could be set for life no matter what the true condition of his elbow. We feel that if he does need surgery to repair the UCL that he will still have more than enough time to hit his upside. An upside which is very high. Here is the pre-draft Instinct on Giolito:

Washington Nationals1.Lucas Giolito RHP Harvard-Westlake HS, Studio City, Calif. - Giolito sprained his elbow early in the season making his draft position a question mark. But he has a big frame at 6’6″ and 230 lbs, with a fastball that works 93-96 and touched 100 before he got hurt. His secondaries are both average and project to be above or better with his curve a probable plus offering. Mechanically it’s obvious his coaches were just riding his talent and not trying to correct him. But there are issues that are in need of correction, including tempo and timing. He’s a UCLA commit and if he falls in the draft there’s a good chance he honors that commitment.

Our Instinct - Before straining his elbow early this season, Giolito was my #1 draft pick and although he won’t go #1 overall in this draft due to the uncertainty of the injury I’m going on record as stating he is still my top HS talent choice and I wouldn’t hesitate to draft him inside the 1st round with or without the need for Tommy John surgery. He’s a player that if he comes back healthy, can be molded into a front of the rotation Ace. Reports are coming back clean on his elbow, but there is no 100% certainty that he won’t require surgery. I would venture that surgery based on his age and upside. Like Bundy was in 2011, Giolito is our #1 selection.

Giolito wasn’t the only big name to ink at the deadline with Kevin Gausman signing with the Orioles as the two sides agreed to a $4.32MM bonus. It was a touch over the $4.2mm slot and the news of Gausman heading back to LSU proved either premature… or nicely played.

Gausman was high on the Instinct Pre-Draft Review and here is the breakdown on him:

7. Kevin Gausman RHP Louisiana State - Gausman is a big righty with a mid 90s fastball and a potential plus changeup. He throws a curveball and slider but hasn’t mastered either offering. He’s pushed his fastball to 99 this spring and despite not having a plus breaking ball he has made it to the top of the draft charts.

Our Instinct - Gausman’s mechanics aren’t traditional but are the reason his fastball and changeup work so well together. But the lack of a true breaking pitch makes his high-ranking questionable. He has the upside but will need time to develop and refine his delivery. He has mid rotation upside.

Another pitcher who looked to be heading to the path of not signing was the Marlins first round pick and Oklahoma State LHP Andrew Heaney. The Oklahoma State left-hander obtained a $2.6MM bonus which is a touch over the slot. He’s one of the pitchers closest to major league ready and should start his career with the High-A Jupiter Hammerheads. Here is the pre-draft Instinct for him:

21. Andrew Heaney LHP Oklahoma State - Heaney is a smaller lefty at 6’2″ 175 lbs and as a college pitcher there probably isn’t much more growth there. But his high 80s fastball has become a solid low 90s mph pitch and his slider has become his best secondary pitch. He also commands an average changeup well and despite not having elite stuff he gets strikeouts.

Our Instinct – Because he’s able to get the most out his stuff and has a very deceptive ability to change arm angles, he gets a lot of swings and misses. He’s very tough on lefties and if he can’t hold up as a back-end starter he could be a situational lefty. He’s probably not far off from being major league ready.

The Yankees had seemingly signed Ty Hensely shortly after the draft of the slot recommended $1.6mm. A signing that shocked many in both its timing and pricing. Then the deal just as quickly disappeared with little reason or press. But it is now known that Hensley’s medicals on his shoulder came back with some small issue that caused the delay and re-negotiation. Hensley settled on a $1.2mm bonus and as long as he is in fact healthy could be one of the biggest steals to come out of the 1st round if the not the draft as a whole. He is the pre-draft Instinct on him:

13. Ty Hensley RHP Santa Fe HS, Edmond, Okla. - Hensley is a solid 6’5″ and 220 lbs with a plus fastball that has spiked in 2012 to the mid 90s touching 97. He holds his velocity deep into games and when his mechanics are in tune his curveball is a plus major league pitch. He scrapped his changeup in 2012, which had been a developing offering

Our Instinct - Hensley is a solid framed righty with premium velocity and a power curveball that is already near plus. He has some minor mechanical issues but nothing to hold him back. I don’t see a reason why he can’t pick up where he left off with the changeup and add it back into his arsenal is short order. His arm speed and slot are conducive to a changeup and if it develops as hoped he has mid rotation stuff or better.

A big bat also signed in the midst of these high end arms. That bat is Richie Shaffer formerly of Clemson and now of the Tampa Bay Rays. The Rays announced that they have agreed to sign first round selection Richie Shaffer. Shaffer obtained a bonus of $1.7125mm. We had Shaffer at #20 in the pre-draft and here is the Instinct on him:

Tampa Bay Rays20. Richie Shaffer 3B/1B Clemson - Shaffer is listed at 3B on many scouting reports because he made the switch there in 2012 for Clemson. His current .934 Fielding Percentage and his foot work and agility point to more and more time at 1B in the future. His power is legitimate as a tool and with a draft class thin on corner infielders with power he will still be highly regarded. But a power hitting 1B in the mold of a Paul Konerko, that swings it from the right side, are few and far between in terms of big league success stories.

Our Instinct - His power may very well translate to the big leagues, but at a position that is log-jammed by bat first players. His overall value is diminished by his probable future as a 1B only defender. If he can continue to make the transition to 3B his bat could be premium.

With all of the signings there were only 8 players inside the top 10 rounds that did not sign. One of those includes Boras client, Mark Appel who will head back to Stanford to get ridden for another year as their workhorse with the hopes that he’ll be the #1 overall selection in 2013.

Others are Mets 2nd rounder RHP Teddy Stankiewicz and the Phillies 2nd rounder RHP Alec Rash. But the biggest disappointment falls to the major High School talents that just fell to far in the draft.

With that we wish LHP Hunter Virant, RHP Ryan Burr, RHP Mitchell Traver, OF Skye Bolt, RHP Cody Poteet, LHP Kyle Twomey, RHP Walker Buehler, and RHP Carson Fulmer the best as they venture to college baseball. We’ll be keeping a close eye and hope to see you guys battling to the CWS.

Stick with Baseball Instinct and we’ll keep you a step ahead of the game. Check back soon for more Prospect coverage. While you’re here, check out our Baseball Instinct 360° – it’s our top 360 prospects for 2012. Also check out a friend of ours for all of your fantasy sports needs. Fantasy Rundown is updated religiously and is truly an awesome resource. Thanks for checking Baseball Instinct. We’re working hard to bring you the best of the minor leagues and make the site the best experience it can be, so don’t hesitate to tell us what you would like to read about. Email us now at mailbag@baseballinstinct.com. And while you’re at it head over to Facebook and join the Instinct page.


I was born and raised in NYC. My father was a diehard Yankees fan but not biased and raised me to love the game more than any one team. For that I'm truly thankful to him. My love for the game runs deep, and after crunching numbers all day long, I tend to spend my nights at the FSL ballparks.

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