Astros Draft: Will signability issues push Shane Baz to the Astros?
By Eric Huysman
The Astros have had recent success of being able to draft a player with signability issues.
The Astros did so with Lance McCullers in the 2012 MLB Draft. They were able to sign Carlos Correa for a smaller signing bonus. The Astros then turned around and signed McCullers to an above slot value signing bonus. They then did the same with Daz Cameron in the 2015 draft.
With the penalty issued by MLB to the Cardinals, the Astros got the Cardinals second, and third round picks this year. The Astros received the 56th and 75th overall pick from the Cardinals. They also received the slot value of the picks. The 56th pick comes with a slot value of $1,178,600, and the 75th is $767,400. That’s an extra $1,946,000 they have added to their signing balance pool, via MLB.com.
Granted, they can’t spend it all on that player. They can offer a little more. They would have to reach a deal with other players to take less than slot value. Perhaps to a pitcher committed to playing baseball at TCU. Someone talented enough to play third base if you choose to go that route.
How likely is Baz to skip college?
I’m talking about a Houston-area high school pitcher in Shane Baz. I know I wrote the other day that they needed a college pitcher or a corner infielder with the 15th pick. However, sometimes you need to go with potential. That would be Baz.
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The fifteenth pick’s slot value is at $3,588,200, which may not be enough to entice Baz to skip college and go pro. Should he go to college, he could work himself into the top ten picks in future drafts. However, if you pay him like he’s a top ten pick, you may land him.
According to MLB Pipeline, Baz ranks as the 12th top prospect eligible to be drafted. Though he has been a multi-dimensional player, a team would draft him that high to be a starting pitcher. He throws in the mid to high 90s with a wide assortment of breaking pitches to complement his heater (65 grade).
He throws a cutter (65 grade), slider (60 grade), curveball (55 grade), and a changeup (50). The grading system is from MLB Pipeline. They mention that he struggles with command at times when he relies too much on his breaking pitches. The Astros tend to like the tall pitchers, and he fits the mold at 6’3.”
Next: Astros Draft: Looking at the positions of need for early picks
Not sure if it is a factor, but Baz went to Concordia Lutheran High in Tomball, Texas. If the Astros feel comfortable, they can use their first round pick the second year in a row on a high school pitcher. It worked with McCullers, didn’t it? If he’s there, I see the Astros getting him.
***Stats and rankings from MLB Pipeline***