Just to start off, I want to note that I have not even asked about signability yet in terms of raw numbers that are asked about. Most high school teams around the country are heading into the playoffs soon if not now, so when those seasons are done, we'll hear more, and I'll report what I hear.
Before we get there, I want to have some fun with the types of issues teams have to juggle. I'm going to be putting together some scenarios, and as a community, we're going to head through the draft, posing as a team in each situation. It's all about discussing your point of view, so let us know what you're thinking when you make your decision in the poll below.
Alright, here's the scenario:
You are the Washington Nationals' final decision-maker when it comes to the draft. What you say goes. Your scouting team and yourself have spent countless hours writing and reading and analyzing reports and videos and interviews, and it's time to look at what you have on your final choices for the number one overall pick.
Here's your information:
You've narrowed it down to choosing between three players, all of which you see as cornerstone prospects if you so choose to pick them. The first name is obvious in Bryce Harper. You obviously love the tools and the upside, but your Four Corners area guy, your West Coast crosschecker, your national crosschecker, and yourself have all witnessed Harper's antics, and you've collectively decided that his makeup is a true negative. There's a chance it might impact his game, not just how his teammates feel about him. In addition, you've just spoken with Scott Boras, his adviser, and the number you're being told is $22.5 million. Like with all asking prices, it will come down in negotiations, but a starting point like that is simply not comforting. Stephen Strasburg started at $21 million last year, so you're not sure what to think. Harper's the clear number one on your board for talent, but you have to decide if he's worth the total risk package.
Your second choice, which you don't view as a backup plan, but rather as a true, justifiable choice, is choosing Texas prep right-hander Jameson Taillon. Taillon is the top pitcher on your board by a landslide, and you think he could be in the Majors with Strasburg and company after two full years in the minor leagues. You like his mechanics, and you think his upside is as a true #1 starter with the durability to make 30+ starts every year. Your big concern with Taillon is that you see his fastball as hittable, despite the velocity. Your team has seen him multiple times where prep bats have done damage against him, and you're a little worried that his style of pitching isn't conducive against true power in the pros. You've discussed money with Taillon's advisers, the Hendricks brothers, and they are saying $11.5 million and a Major League contract. They've made it clear that Taillon is a record-breaking talent with a desire to go to school. You like everything about Taillon's makeup and talent, so he's a true option.
Your final choice is going with Florida prep shortstop Manny Machado. You think he's easily put himself above the rest of the bats in the class, and you've been looking hard for a franchise shortstop. You love his bat and his glove, and you're 95% sure he's going to stick at shortstop. His makeup is a plus, and you think he's going to work hard to make himself better than others might think. Your scouting team has struggled to even see him not square a ball, and the only concern for you is that he might not know what to do when faced with adversity in the pros. You think it will take three full years in the minor leagues before he's ready to play in the Majors, but you project as a perennial all-star shortly thereafter next to franchise third baseman Ryan Zimmerman. It's just your luck that Machado's adviser is also Scott Boras, and he's willing to let you have Machado starting at $8 million. You have a hunch that Boras isn't looking to set records with this deal like he did with Donavan Tate a year ago, and a Major League contract won't be needed. This is clearly a backup for you, but you feel comfortable enough with Machado that you would be able to consciously defend the choice to the media in your market. You like that this choice would free up cash for later in the draft, but that's not necessarily the way your whole scouting team feels.
So now you have the information. What's your choice and why? What do you think the aftermath of that choice is?