Major-league draft cut to 40 rounds

BOB ELLIOTT, QMI Agency

, Last Updated: 11:25 PM ET

Who will be the next Hudson, who has gone on to play 11 years, when the major-league draft takes place June 4-6?

Exactly no one.

We know this for sure: Hudson was drafted in the 43rd round of the 1997 draft by Jays scouts Mike Russell and Steve Williams. This year, the draft has been cut to 40 rounds.

Among other changes under the new Basic Agreement, each slot is assigned a dollar worth and, for the first 10 rounds, a total to spend, or it will be taxed. Blue Jays scouting director Andrew Tinnish has $8.8 million US for his 14 picks in the first 10 rounds.

Teams overspending will be taxed anywhere from 5-to-15%.

“Who was in the room?” asked a National League general manager, when asked how it all unfolded. “Representatives from management and the Players’ Association. No one was there to look after amateurs. What they’ve done is cut down the amount of monies available.

“They’ve penalized teams that do a lot of work in scouting. All of which means money is left for whom? Big leaguers.”

They did away with Chris Woodward’s draft round in June of 1998 when the draft was reduced to 50 rounds. A 54th-round selection in 1994 signed by Jays scout Billy Moore, Woodward played 659 games in the majors and is hitting .294 at triple-A Las Vegas this season.

“A terrible mistake has been made, not that we were involved,” said an American League scouting director. “We’re supposed to be inclusive rather than exclusive. I’m not sure we have our caps on the right way. We’ve had an emphasis on getting players to come play our sport over others.”

In the past, the Jays battled the NBA for the likes of Danny Ainge, Scott Burrell and Mark Hendrickson.

The Yankees talked Drew Henson into playing baseball over football. Same with the Chicago Cubs and right-hander Jeff Samardzija, an all-American wide receiver at Notre Dame.

“You could gamble on a two-sport guy, give him a bonus and pay out over a five-year period,” said one evaluator. “But no more. Now, it’s all on the same year’s docket. You used to be able to gamble on one guy and draft a back-up later if the player changed his mind.

“This is going to hurt when it comes to getting two-sport, athletic guys to play.”

When the draft ends June 6 with the Phillies making the final pick of the 40th round, 300 fewer players will be selected.

Who would the pros have missed drafting since 1998, besides Hudson?

Todd Coffey, 41st, 1998, Reds, who went on to pitch 443 games in the majors.

Tony Sipp, 45th, 2004, Indians, 198 games.

Chris Spurling, 41st, 1997, Yankees, 187 games.

Kyle Blanks, 42nd, 2004, Padres 146 games.

Jesse Chavez, 42nd, 2002, Rangers, 143 games.

Daniel Herrera, 45th, 2006, Rangers, 131 games.

Bobby Wilson, 48th, Angels, 126 games.

Scott Atchison, 49th, 1998, Mariners, 126 games.

Jason Botts, 46th, 1999, Rangers, 93 games.

Scott Munter, 47th, 2001, Giants, 84 games.

Justin Berg, 43rd, 2003, Yankees, 60 games.

Tim Wood, 44th 2002, Marlins, 57 games.

Jarrod Dyson, 50th, 2006, Royals, 55 games.

Jason Youman, 43rd, 2001, Pirates, 21 games.

Dusty Ryan, 48th 2003, Pirates, 27 games.

Terry Evans, 47th, 2001, Cardinals, 21 games.

Brad Brach, 42nd, 2008, Padres, 17 games.

Cody Eppley, 43rd, 2008, Rangers, 15 games.

Efren Navarro, 50th, 2007, Angels, eight games.

Brad Peacock, 41st, 2006, Nationals, three games. Orlando Hudson’s next game with the San Diego Padres will be his 1,287th in the majors.

DOWN ON THE FARM

Former first-round pick David Cooper earned Baseball America’s prospect hitter of the day honours with a double and two homers Sunday as Vegas beat Salt Lake 8-0. Aaron Laffey (seven innings, two hits) and Bobby Korecky (two innings) combined on a three-hit shutout.

First-place Lansing has benefitted from first-class pitching, but it was not evident on a Tuesday morn in a school day special. Lugnuts pitchers allowed 15 hits in a 7-6 loss to West Michigan. Centre fielder Kenny Wilson had two triples and stole his eighth base. Javier Avendano took the loss.

RHP Asher Wojciechowski recorded a quality start, working six innings, allowing three runs on six hits, and fanning four in a 5-3 loss to Port St. Lucie. Vancouver’s Trystan Magnuson allowed a run in the seventh and eighth to take the loss. Kevin Ahrens was 2-for-4 with one RBI, his 10th. North York’s Marcus Knecht leads Dunedin with 19 RBIs, followed by Kevin Nolan (16) and lead-off man Jake Marisnick (15).

First baseman Mike McDade led off with a double, scored on a Mark Sobolewski single, then John Tolisano and Justin Jackson each singled as New Hampshire scored twice in the 10th to beat Trenton 7-5. McDade had a perfect day, going 4-for-4 with an RBI. Former first-rounder Clint Everts (2002, Expos) worked 2.2 scoreless innings for the win. Jays’ former No. 1 pick Chad Jenkins pitched six innings, allowing three runs on eight hits and a walk.

POWER RANKINGS

One evaluator’s look at the top five prospects in the Blue Jays system:

Travis d’Arnaud (.279 average, 2 HRs, 11 RBIs, .766 OPS at triple-A Las Vegas)

“He’s the best young catching prospect in the game. He has a plus arm, very accurate and blocks balls well. Balls come off his bat effortlessly, will be a 20-homer guy in the majors.”

RHP Aaron Sanchez (3-0, 0.00, 24 Ks in 19 IP at class-A Lansing)

“He’s a legit 93-97 MPH guy at his age (19). He throws a good breaking ball and change, but he needs to improve his control.”

LHP Justin Nicolino (1-0, 0.00, 20 Ks in 19 IP at Lansing)

“He and Sanchez are the best two arms I’ve seen Toronto have at that level in years. Has the potential to be 95 MPH. Both look like big-league pitchers. He reminds me of Cole Hamels.”

SS Adeiny Hechavarria (.294, 2 HRs, 23 RBIs, .787 OPS at Vegas)

“Any time I’ve seen him, he shows a great quickness with excellent range. They sent him to Vegas for the final month thinking, ‘He might hit, he might not hit.’ He hit .389 in 25 games. He’ll hit.”

OF Moises Sierra (.302, 6 HRs, 18 RBIs, .890 OPS at Vegas.)

“Built like Raul Mondesi, except bigger. His goal is to be as big as Mondesi ... in the majors.”


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