In the MLB Draft, as it currently exists, the 11th Round is actually fairly important. In short: teams’ draft spending is tied to a bonus pool that is comprised of individual slot values for each pick in the top ten rounds. If a team fails to sign a pick from their top ten rounds, they lose the slot value associated with that pick from their bonus pool. Thus, the 11th Round is the first opportunity teams have to swing for the fences and not risk bonus pool pain if they take a guy they can’t sign.
This year, the Cubs took Fresno State righty Jordan Brink in the 11th Round. Based on pre-draft rankings, Brink was a 3rd/4th/5th round talent who slipped, presumably due to his relatively unique situation. Two years ago, Brink was a freshman at Fresno State … and he didn’t appear on the mound once. No, he wasn’t injured. He was an outfielder.
It wasn’t until his sophomore season that Brink started pitching part-time, and it wasn’t until this season that Brink focused full-time on pitching. By March of this year, however, he was thoroughly on draft radars, and Jim Callis wrote a profile that had Brink, now a junior, on the verge of first round consideration. That level of hype fell off by the time the draft rolled around, in part because Brink is slightly undersized as a starter – he’s listed at 6’1″ 200 lbs – and there are questions about whether he can start long-term. He currently sports a fastball that sits in the 93mph range, and has a quality curve ball. On the year, Brink posted a 2.87 ERA over 84.2 innings, striking out 62 and walking 44.
… and there are reports that Brink has agreed to a deal with the Cubs (here and here, for example – h/t Yags). The terms aren’t out there yet, but it wouldn’t be surprising to see Brink as a slightly over slot signing. Recall, in Rounds 11 through 40, you can sign a player for any amount you want, but any amount over $100,000 for an individual player counts against the bonus pool. As we’ve seen, the Cubs have saved some money under slot with first rounder Kyle Schwarber and third rounder Mark Zagunis, so they’ve got a lot of flexibility.
We’ll see if these reports are soon confirmed, and, if so, how much it cost to lock down Brink.