In the final part of my interview with Jim Callis of Baseball America, I asked him about the upcoming negotiations between the Orioles and their top draft pick, pitcher Dylan Bundy.
Bundy and his representatives have floated crazy numbers like $30 million for his signing bonus. He will get a fraction of that but nothing close to that figure in the end.
Callis fully expects the negotiations to go smoothly and lead to the O’s getting Bundy signed.
“They may be looking at it from a standpoint and I said this about guys like Bryce Harper and Stephen Strasburg, you are a prisoner of your own talent,” Callis said. “Dylan Bundy is so good that they are going to offer him more money than he can possibly turn down.
“The record, any kind of contract for a high school pitcher in the draft, is $7 million. Josh Beckett got that in 1999 and Rick Porcello matched it a few years ago.
“I think Dylan Bundy has a chance to get more than $7 million. But let’s say it’s six. Is Dylan Bundy going to turn down six million to go to college? And I believe in the college experience, but if they offer him six, seven, eight million, I can’t see any way that he goes to college.
“Put in the Orioles’ terms like with Matt Wieters. He wanted (Mark) Teixeira money of $10 million. He didn’t get it but he got six and he wasn’t going to turn down six to go back to Georgia Tech.
“I just think, will he break the high school record? Maybe, maybe not. But they’ll offer him so much money that he isn’t going to be able to turn it down.”
Because Bundy was one of the top picks in the draft, it seems likely that the contract talks will drag out to the last minute.
“Bundy may not sign until August 15 at 11:58 p.m. You just don’t take the guy at number four wondering ‘I hope we can sign him,’ ” Callis said. “When you take him at number four, you’re committed to getting him signed.”
I asked Callis if the top bonus for a high school pitcher last year, the $6.5 million Jameson Taillon, picked second by Pittsburgh got, was a gauge of sorts for the O’s and Bundy.
“He got a straight bonus,” Callis said. “Porcello and Beckett got major league contracts. Whichever way they want to go. I think you are looking at $6.5 to 7 (million) is the rough neighborhood they are looking at.”
Callis gave some analysis of Orioles’ picks from later in the draft and named some players that could turn out to be good picks and good players for the club.
“There are a couple of sleepers. I know the guys in the Midwest probably better because that is the area I focus on,” Callis said. “Adam Davis in the 11th round is a catcher with some all-around tools. Their 16th-rounder, pitcher Mark Blackmar is an athletic, three-pitch, right-hander that throws a lot of strikes. Signing him would be good value.
“Brad Roney in the 18th round is a high school kid from Alabama that is athletic with some raw power. In the 23rd round they got Adam Matthews who was on a College World Series team at South Carolina and he has some raw power. Zach Davies in the 26th round is not the biggest kid but he gets compared a lot to Mike Leake because he was going to go to Arizona State and he still might. He can really pitch with an assortment of solid pitches.
“Even down in the draft, 41st round, they got a high school shortstop Chris Mariscal from California who was one of the best defensive shortstops in the whole draft. In the 46th round they got an Arkansas kid (Mark Reyes) who was a strikeout machine in high school, a lefty throwing 90, 91.”
Thanks to Jim for taking time to size up many aspects of the O’s draft.