With the reduced 2020 MLB Draft now completed teams can now move forward in their pursuit of amateur talent. Starting at 9 am ET on Sunday, June 14th teams will […]
With the reduced 2020 MLB Draft now completed teams can now move forward in their pursuit of amateur talent. Starting at 9 am ET on Sunday, June 14th teams will have the opportunity to contact all undrafted free agents that indicated they would be willing to sign for a maximum signing bonus of $20,000. All undrafted free agents had the opportunity to withdrawal their names from the UDFA period the remaining players will be eligible to sign with clubs or return to school.
While a signing bonus of $20,000 doesn’t seem like a small sum it is in comparison to what some MLB draftees receive. For some players, the notion of returning to school and potentially delaying their MLB free agency clock could be a motivating factor in taking a smaller sum now in hopes of a payday at some point in the future. With additional seasons of eligibility offered by the NCAA, some quality players will opt for a return to school in hopes of landing a better signing bonus in the 2021 MLB Draft.
In theory, every team is on a level playing field with similar signing bonus allotments available for all. However, some players may avoid signing with clubs that have reduced their minor league numbers in recent months due to the coronavirus shutdown. Speculatively, teams with large talent bases around them like California and Florida may benefit the most if players stay close to home. Teams that may benefit in the “recruiting” process are those that develop particular positions well. While teams with historical mystique like the Yankees, Dodgers, and Red Sox may benefit by the “magic” of playing for those organizations. Other teams that may be in a beneficial position are those that have announced they will continue to pay and offer benefits to their minor leaguers.
When asked by Cleveland.com’s Paul Hoynes, if the Indians will have the flexibility to make additions via UDFA’s Indians Scouting Director Scott Barnsby indicated the club would have the flexibility to make additions to the minor leagues depending upon positional need.
Prospects Live contributor Joe Doyle recently suggested most teams will limit the number of signings (he mentions potentially 4-8 per team) due to the impending reduction of minor league teams.
Below is a brief look at some of the players available as undrafted free agents. All players are senior signings unless otherwise noted.
Luke Smith- RHSP Louisville
The competitive righty sits low-90’s with average improving control. Smith has a slender frame (6’3, 175) with an above-average changeup and curveball. He could be one of the more sought after UDFA’s.
John Baker- RHSP Ball St.
Already 22, Baker missed 2019 with an injury he sits low 90’s and displays average control.
Brian Van Belle- RHSP Miami
The staff ace of the Hurricanes, Van Belle lacks the talent of teammates Slade Cecconi and Chris McMahon. Van Belle sits low-90’s with average control.
Kyle Mora- RHRP UCLA
Low-90’s fastball with above-average control. Mora is a younger college senior still under age 22.
Hunter Stanley- RHRP Southern Miss
The Eagles righty sits low-90’s out of the bullpen with a solid average slider and above-average control.
Nick Trogrlic-Iverson- RHSP Gonzaga
A smaller framed righty (6’1, 175 lbs) with a solid four-pitch mix with above-average control.
Austin Smith- RHSP Southwestern Texas
A small school right-hander with a low-90’s fastball with an average slider and control. Smith didn’t pitch this Spring because of blister issues but he had a strong 2019 season positioning himself well until the coronavirus shutdown.
Bo Hofstra- RHRP Purdue
Sits mid-90’s with a slider that is average and flashes more. The big-bodied righty displays fringe-average control. Hofstra struggled in his time in the Cape Cod League in 2019.
Chase Antle- RHRP Coastal Carolina
The native Ohioan hits 99 mph as the Chanticleers closer this season. No relation to Doc Antle, Tiger King fans.
Wil Jensen- RHSP Pepperdine
Solid four-pitch mix from the righty with an above-average change and low 90’s fastball that touches 94.
Blake Brown- RHRP UNC Ashville
The right-hander reliever sits mid-90’s and touches upper-90’s. Brown lacks control and needs refinement but he has two-solid secondaries that should work in the bullpen.
John McMillon- RHRP Texas Tech
A former two-way player, McMillon has touched 100 mph and needs some work to harness his top tier velocity.
Mason Erla- RHSP Michigan State (JR)
Nearly 23 as a redshirt junior entering 2020 the righty runs his fastball up to 96. Erla seems destined for a move to the bullpen.
Zarion Sharpe- LHSP UNC-Wilmington (rJR)
Almost 22 the lefty may be motivated to sign. The 6’5 lefty sits low-90’s with average control.
Cam Cowan- RHSP Campbell (JR)
The 6’5, 245 lb right-hander throws mid-90’s displaying above-average control. Cowan is a 21.6 yo college junior with a short track record performing above JUCO.
Tanner Bibbee- RHSP Cal St. Fullerton (JR)
The Titans righty features a three-pitch mix with above-average control. Bibbee could return to school with hopes of being a top 3 round selection with a larger bonus as a senior savings signing.
Noah Skirrow- RHRP Liberty (JR)
Another four-pitch mix pitcher with a low-90’s fastball and hard cutter with average control.
Braden Olthoff- RHSP Tulane (JR)
The Green Wave’s righty was a JUCO transfer in 2020. The righty displays above-average control and a low-90’s fastball that touches higher. Olthoff is a younger college junior (21.2) with a short albeit impressive track record. The righty may benefit from another year in school with hopes of being a top 3 round senior sign.
Jackson Wolf- LHSP West Virginia (JR)
The 6’7, 205 lb lefty throws low-90’s with a fringe-average slider and changeup. According to Baseball America, the Gahanna, Ohio native produces impressive spin rates with average control. Only 21, the lefty may be better suited returning to school hoping to improve his draft stock in the 2021 MLB Draft.
Brant Hurter- LHSP Georgia Tech (JR)
The lefty has missed more than a year due to Tommy John Surgery when healthy he displays a low-90’s fastball with a quality slider.
Lael Lockhart- LHRP Arkansas (Grad transfer from Houston)
The athletic lefty was Houston’s ace this season. He could be hard to sign with a commitment to play for Arkansas this fall as a graduate transfer.
Austin Langworthy- OF Florida
A smaller athletic outfielder Langworthy was a four-year starter in the SEC.
Max Troiani- CF Bentley
A younger college senior (21.8) with a quality approach and solid performance in the 2019 Cape Cod League.
Brian Klein- 2B Texas Tech
Smaller 2b with an advanced approach top 10 round talent in the longer draft.
Conner Puhl- 1B Ohio St.
The left-handed-hitting Ohio native displays a solid approach at the plate.
Matt Scheffler- C Auburn
The battery mate of Tanner Burns, Scheffler is a solid defender with a strong arm behind the dish and a solid approach at the plate.
Scott McKeon- MIF Coastal Carolina
McKeon should stick at shortstop long term, his hit tool is fringe-average to average.
Matt Mervis-1B/RHP Duke
A two-way player at Duke with a short track record in the field. Hits low-90’s from the mound with below-average control.
Zac Fascia- C Purdue
Younger college senior from Canada with a fringe-average bat and solid defense.
McLain O’Conner- SS UC Santa Barbara
An athletic smaller framed shortstop with contact potential. O’Conner is a younger (21.9) senior signing type.
Saul Garza- C LSU
Bat first backup catcher with plus raw power. Already 22 the right-handed-hitting Garza may shift to first long term.
Ty Duval- C Vanderbilt
The battery mate of Indians draftee Mason Hickman, the backstop can handle some heat as proven with the Commodores staff. Duval is a native Ohioan and displays an advanced approach at the plate but lacks power.
Bradlee Beasley- 2B Cal Poly
An average bat with above-average speed and a solid approach at the plate. Another solid Cape Cod League performer in 2019.
Cam Shepherd- SS Georgia
Near 23 already, the Bulldogs infielder can work around the infield and put up quality at-bats.
Kale Emshoff- C Little Rock
Already 22.1 the righthanded hitting backstop features plus-plus raw power potential. He’s a fringe-average defender and profiles as a backup catcher that could move to first to maximize his power.
Adam Kerner- C San Diego (JR)
Almost 22, Kerner displays above-average defense with a fringe-average hit tool.
Shane McGuire- C/1B San Diego (JR)
The younger brother of Reese McGuire, Shane has an advanced approach at the plate and is a sound defender.
Wyatt Hendrie- C San Diego State (JR)
Already 21.5 the Aztecs backstop has above-average speed with a solid arm and approach at the plate. Hendrie is a recent conversion from OF to C and displays the ability to stick. He spurned an offer of $125k from the Cubs in 2019 and may return to school (again) this fall.
Billy Cook- OF Pepperdine (JR)
The right-handed-hitting outfielder projects to left-field. Cook has an above-average arm and power but lacks the speed to stay in CF.
Ben Carew- 2B/OF Kent St. (rJR)
The right-handed hitting Wisconsin native displays an advanced approach at the plate and good speed on the bases.
Alsander Womack- 2b Norfolk St. (JR)
The son of Tony Womack is a small school performer with an advanced approach at the plate and some solid speed.
Darren Baker- 2B Cal (JR)
Baker is the son of long-time big-league manager Dusty Baker. The right-handed hitting 2b has above-average speed. He lacks power but was an All-Star in the 2019 Cape Cod League.