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trey cliftonThat didn’t take long. (Or maybe everything was in place already.)

According to a report out of Knoxville, the Chicago Cubs have already signed one of their top draft picks, despite selecting him just yesterday. Trevor Clifton was one of the top right-handed high school pitching prospects in the Draft, expected to go in the Round 3 to 5 range, but he slid to the Cubs in the 12th round. They grabbed him, and immediately put together a deal that Clifton told Knoxnews.com was for “third-round money.” I suspect that he hasn’t actually “signed” his deal yet, as it would be pending a physical. But the terms have clearly been agreed upon.

Clifton, who was the Cubs’ top high school draftee and the only high school pitcher they took before Round 34, already gets his fastball up to 97, and usually sits in the mid-to-low 90s. He’s a big kid with a big arm, and that’s always what the Cubs are looking for. After going heavy on high school pitching talent early last year, the Cubs focused on the college ranks this time around. But Clifton was the exception, and, for that reason, I’d imagine the Cubs are very excited to have him in the fold.

“Third-round money” is a slightly nebulous term because, although the Cubs’ third round pool amount is $736,200, that’s at the top of the third round scale. In the third round, the slot values range all the way down to $491,200, so anything in that wide range would be “third-round money.”

Picks taken after the 10th round can be given up to $100,000 without it counting against the bonus pool, so, either way, this is going to be an over slot signing. Given that the Cubs were willing to sign Clifton immediately to an over slot deal suggests some confidence on their part that they won’t be going too far over slot on their first 10 picks, in total. Indeed, it suggests that they know they’ll be able to come in under slot on those picks.

As the picks start to sign over the coming days/weeks, we’ll start talking more extensively about the bonus pool implications. For now, it’s all a bit too speculative. All we know is that Clifton is signing, and it’s a great get for the Cubs in the 12th round.

(Picture via Heritage Mountaineer Baseball.)

  • Die hard

    I like it.. Kids agent smart knowing not too many barriers in Cub farm system to quick move up to majors — even by 2015

    • Jp3

      Hell why wait, bring him up before the ink is dry

      • chrisfchi

        Hell have him start today

        • Jp3

          It’s me and die hard have been saying all along

  • North Side Irish

    Kiley McDaniel (@kileymcd) tweeted at 1:17 PM on Sat, Jun 08, 2013:
    Favorite 12th round pick is of the Cubs, TN prep RHP Trevor Clifton. 6’6 projection up to 95 with plus hook but command/consistency issues.

    • JOE

      I would imagine that a vast majority of high school pitchers have command/consistency issues, but that’s just my guess. I like this pick/signing a lot.

  • MichiganGoat

    An over slot signing this early has got to be a sign that they now exactly what they are doing. Question: if they don’t sign one of their 1-10 rounds picks is that money available for later over slot picks? For some reason I want to say that if you don’t sign a 1-10 pick that slot money cannot be used elsewhere. So now I’m curious who is going under slot that frees up 300-500k. This CBA really makes everything more interesting and equally frustrating.

    • cubchymyst

      If they fail to sign a pick they lose that slot amount from their pool. The 5% over can cover some of the extra money as long as they know they got Bryant for at or below slot value.

      • wvcubsfan

        The 5% would cover the overage to “3rd round money” for this pick without needing to underslot anyone from 1-10. Granted that’s probably not what is on the FO’s minds right now, but for this signing I don’t thin we can assume anything right now.

        • cubchymyst

          I don’t think the front office is banking on the 5% to be used for the 12th round. They probably save some money on Rounds 2 and 3, but they might need to spent extra on one of the picks at 4, 5 or 6.

          But having the 2nd highest pool, means that the cubs have the 2nd largest 5% extra which could give them the added flexibility needed to sign 1 or 2 of the overslot types in round 11-40.

          • wvcubsfan

            So we agree then?

            • cubchymyst

              Yes

      • ssckelley

        This is why you see teams stock up on college players in those first 10 rounds as you cannot afford to draft a player that might not sign. There were plenty of college seniors that were taken earlier than they should have been.

      • Rich H

        I think there was a hand shake agreement on a number before the draft he agreed to a number and Gray did not hence he was the first pick. It would explain why they ran over a minute or so before making the pick. That is not saying he is signed just that an agreement is in place. It may be July before we see an actual agreement just to get he language right in the contract.

    • Timothy Scarbrough

      Yeah, you can’t use it elsewhere.

    • Bric

      Goat, interesting is not exactly the word I would use to describe the CBA. Overly complicated and stupid are words that I think better describe it. But that’s pretty much par for the course when you consider processes like the trade deadline that isn’t a deadline, the waiver wire, the missing salary cap, luxury tax, and everything else related to money and MLB.

      • Rich H

        The words I would use to describe it is Reinstorff. He was the driving force behind the draft and international spending portions of the draft. And looking at how convoluted and complicated it is tells me that it is by design to keep the little clubs that could (TB, SD, Oak,Pit) from being consistently in the conversation for the playoffs by spending their money on amateur talent instead of major leaguers.

        This was designed so that a team like the Nats would not make every one else spend more than they want to just to be competitive in acquiring talent. It is just another way to keep the Yankees, Boston, LA and the other big market teams that spend a majority of their talent budgets at the major league level from having the oldest teams in the league year after year. In other words it really screws the rebuilding guys and slows down the time table.

        With this CBA I think that player movement is going to slow WAY DOWN because it is going to be cheaper to extend guys early than doing what Cleveland did in the 90’s and just have the next guy ready to replace them as they approached arbitration.

        • YourResidentJag

          This is why I dislike baseball today more so than last ten years. Bud Selig and his friends.

          • King Jeff

            This has been going on for far longer than 10 years. There is a long history of shady practice by the MLB higher ups to thwart player freedom. I recently read a Grantland article a few days ago that touched on a lot of the past issues with the draft and free agency, and why they implemented the draft in the first place.

        • ssckelley

          I think it is the exact opposite, I think this CBA was designed to give the small market teams an advantage in the draft. No one has an unlimited pocket book and can over spend to draft those hard to sign high school and college juniors. Plus they now get “competitive balance” picks at the end of the 1st and 2nd round where they can pull moves like Kansas City did at #8 and grab those tough to sign players that slipped.

          Gone are the days you could draft a Dillon Maples in the 14th round and throw a huge signing bonus at him to get him to sign. Now if you do that it counts against your draft pool money.

  • Die hard

    MLB Bleacher Report declared Cubs draft a Winner… If right then much to look forward to

    • ssckelley

      Then there was another article that gave the Cubs a B minus grade. The early reviews are mixed for the Cubs draft.

      • Dynastyin2017

        If Bryant reaches 80 % of his ceiling, this draft will be a slam dunk great draft. If anyone else makes it, it’s just gravy.

    • http://www.bleachernation.com Luke

      Citing Bleacher Report? Even for you, Die hard, that’s a low troll.

      • Die hard

        But it’s positive– if negative I wouldn’t have rained on your parade

        • Stinky Pete

          A positive (Cubs draft evaluation) times a negative (Bleacher Report) equals a negative.

          And it’s just plain weird having you note positive things.

          • Die hard

            Hey when FO does something right I am quick to say thanks as I want this experiment to succeed before I am a memory

            • scorecardpaul

              don’t worry Die hard, if your life is anything like we see on this site, then your memory may last way to long!!

  • chrisfchi

    Called up by 2015?! Lil optimistic there.

  • Bric

    Nice signing. Looks like a really good pick due to need and ability and no messing around with haggling. In my mind, sign the picks you like most first and worry about slotting and budget issues when you get down to the last 15 or so picks that left. Quality, not quantity, should be the watch word. We already have plenty of quantity in the minors but much less quality, especially in pitchers.

  • another JP

    To me the Clifton signing is comparable to drafting Underwood last year- similar pitchers in ability with the major exception that Underwood was taken in the 2nd round and paid overslot @ $1.07M… for Clifton to be taken in the 12th round @ ~$600K would be quite a deal indeed. Nailing down some of the other overslots would be huge and make this draft a real shot in the arm for our prospect pitching depth.

    • Dustin S

      I looked up some historical stats on draftees that make it to the major leagues, and ~40% of 3rd rounders make it to the majors vs. only ~7% of 12th rounders. The disclaimer is that is just making it to the major leagues, so it includes both stars and players that pitch or hit once in the bigs and are done. So they got a guy in Clifton that is almost 6x more likely to make it to the majors compared to a typical 12th round pick through some shrewd drafting. It’s a small signing in the big picture and he may never make it close to Chicago, but it’s a good FO move in my book that’s worth noting.

      • ssckelley

        I think the future of those statistics will start shifting because of the draft budgets. A few years ago a team could pick any player at anytime and offer whatever they wanted for a signing bonus. Now the first 10 rounds have “slot” amounts assigned to them and if they do not sign the player they drafted then they lose that “slot” money. It would not surprise me to see the percentage of players drafted in the 11th/12th rounds that reach the majors to go up and perhaps even pass some of the later top 10 rounds. Because you will see more players selected in the 11th/12th rounds that teams passed on because of the fear of being unable to sign them.

        • Dustin S

          I agree, it is a different situation now. We just have historical stats to go off of and I’m sure the slotting system will skew the numbers up a bit eventually for later rounders. Pretty sure whoever dreamed up the current convoluted MLB draft system used to work at the IRS. I’m just happy to see the Cubs being aggressive in the system as it is now.

          The draft has been a fun diversion before the impending trade season.

          • ssckelley

            Yep, and you will see more teams pull stunts like the Royals did at #8. They passed up on some really good players by reaching for Hunter Dozier but then they turned around and landed a top 10 talent taking Sean Manaea at #34. Time will tell if it pays off but this is a move I expect to see teams make, especially if they get competitive balance picks that are in perfect position to grab players that have dropped.

  • Patrick G

    How soon after signing do players start playing? I’ve heard usually pitchers don’t play as much their first year since they pitched alot in college, but say Bryant signs next week how soon would he be assigned?

  • JayPaul

    Several leaks on the Twitter front, although far less concrete than this Clifton deal. Sounds like Zac Blair, Tyler Skulina, Kevin Brown, Zak Germans, Jacob Hannemann, Rob Zastryny, Sam Wilson, Charcer Burks, Carl Brockmeyer, Tyler Alamo have all indicated to varying degrees that they will get signed. On the opposite front, it appears Will Remillard may be heading back to school or posturing for a larger bonus.

    • ssckelley

      JayPaul, do you have the tweet on Tyler Alamo?

    • macpete22

      It seems that Zack Brown won’t sign either and will go to college

      • wvcubsfan

        He’s probably better off to stick with singing anyway

    • Dustin S

      I’ve seen some of the same info, and knock on wood it’s looking like the signing % should be pretty decent, for sure in the top 12 picks and even in the top 30. Quite a few strong hints (mostly through Twitter or reports from the player’s local paper) at intentions to sign already.

  • JayPaul

    Tyler Alamo has updated his Twitter profile to include, “Catcher in the Chicago Cubs organization.” He also has included the Cubs logo as a banner. There is no direct confirmation tweet from Alamo, but the tea leaves look promising.

    • ssckelley

      I agree, based on that it looks promising.

  • Rich H

    REMEMBER THE ALAMO! Sorry I had to be the first to do that.

  • Stinky Pete

    Well, now I want to go watch Man on the Moon.

    • ChicagoMike702

      I thought I was the only one that would make that connection. Haha

  • X the Cubs Fan

    Besides the top 10the most important signs remaining would be Kelvin Freeman, Michael Wagner, Zack Hermans, Guiseppe Pappacio, Tyler Alamo and Jeremy Martinez. This Pappacio guy reminds me of the middle infield prospects we have in the minors.

  • nkniacc13

    I think the cubs may sign only 1 of Alamo and Martinez

    • ssckelley

      I think getting either one of them would be huge. Both are HS players and have college offers.

      • JayPaul

        Martinez looks like he is going to USC….Alamo sounds like a kid ready to go pro.

  • ruby2626

    If the 12th round pick is indeed worthy of a 3rd round draft pick then why didn’t we draft him earlier. If he’s so good weren’t we worried someone else would grab him. Oh forgot, picks 4 thru 11 are also 3rd round talent.

    • ssckelley

      Because if you draft him in the 3rd round and he doesn’t sign then you lose that draft pool money. By taking him in the 12th round all that counts against the pool money is the amount he gets over $100,000 and if he decides to go to college the Cubs have not lost much other than that draft pick.

    • nkniacc13

      sure someone could have taken him sooner and cubs lost out but what they did was take college guys to help a farm system that some had fallen due to injury or the fact that most think they are relievers. You also have with this new cba take into account the players leverage and the fact that you take him in 3rd he may want a bit more than 3rd money. While Kentucky isn’t LSU,vandy or Virginia as far as usually keeping recruits its still the SEC

  • X the Cubs Fan

    I know Bleacher report is dumb but I found this particular article on Jeremy Martinez very helpful. http://bleacherreport.com/articles/1644088-jeremy-martinez-prospect-profile-for-chicago-cubs-37th-round-pick

    • ssckelley

      Honestly I do not think the Cubs have much of a chance signing Martinez. But he is an exciting prospect and would easily be the Cubs top catching prospect if he was to sign.

    • Dynastyin2017

      This report must have been written last year, when some people had him as a top ten draft prospect. A good defensive catcher, with a 60 hit tool and a 55 power tool would not make it out of the first round. Don’t know if he just had a bad year or if some huge flaws in his game was exposed.

      • ssckelley

        Last week USA Today had him ranked 6th of all catching prospects. He slipped because most feel he is going to USC.

      • Dumpgobbler

        I had Martinez as my number 3 catcher in the draft behind McGuire and Ciuffo. If you dont like Martinez, hes still a top 10 catcher in this draft. If you like him, you could certainly slot him ahead of guys like Denney and Knapp.. I did.

        • Dynastyin2017

          I love Martinez. I’m just saying that report was old because his stock did drop significantly this year. From everything I’ve read, his make-up is off the charts good, sort of the catching version of Almora. I’m also wondering if a guy like him, who has spent all of his energy trying to get drafted out of high school may be easier than expected to sign.

          • Dumpgobbler

            I HIGHLY doubt he signs. He has second round + talent and dropped to 37th. I’d imagine he had a number in mind, and with his struggles teams weren’t ready to jump. He’s a USC commit, which are notoriously hard to grab away. My guess is he goes to USC and a couple more drafts down the road he rebuilds his value and goes first / second round area. However, if we did sign him along with Clifton… oh man.. You’re starting to look a a draft better then 2011.

  • ssckelley

    I see twitter reports going around that the Cubs are close to signing 13 of their draft picks.

    • Whiteflag

      Do you have a source, or are you looking at the draftees’ accounts?

      • ssckelley

        Gordon Wittenmyer retweeted a link that shows a list of players close to signing.

        • Whiteflag

          Sweet. Thanks

        • JayPaul

          I don’t see any series of events logical enough for Jeremy Martinez to sign. Guessing it would take mid 2nd round money to start the conversation.

        • gocatsgo2003

          Are the players in red then unlikely to sign?

          • ssckelley

            That is what it looked like to me.

      • DarthHater
        • DB

          I hoped Brown would sign but knew it was highly unlikely.

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  • Cub4lyfe

    He got a 12 on the ACT and taunts below average high school hitters. The kid is a headcase. Get 1 base runner and he plunks kids intentionally. Terrible draft pick. Cubbies let me down.

    • Carew

      He’s still a kid. He’ll grow out of it. But really? A 12? Average on the ACT is a 24 or something like that

  • Josh

    Average for ACT is 21 and never been higher. And i remember when i took the ACT (years ago) and lots of rumors flying about my peers scores. Also, lets remember he is a kid who just graduated high school and try not to be so harsh. We tend to do a lot of judging with limited or second hand info.

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