Phillies 2013 Draft Update

(Photo courtesy Idaho Press-Tribune)

The players have been selected and now, the job of getting them signed and designated to a team is front and center. Early reports out of the Phillies system are good on not only who the Phillies chose, but who they'll be able to sign.

Less than a week after the draft, it's hard to figure out just how good the draft was for any particular team. Most experts seem to agree that the Phillies did very well with their top five picks and some of those pundits believe they may have done the best job of drafting potential talent of any team in baseball.

Time will tell.

Now comes the fun part. Getting these guys signed and ready to play at either Williamsport or in the Gulf Coast League, both of which open their seasons next week.

"Our scouts did a great job. If I recall correctly, we've got 20 or 21 of our picks signed and ready to go," said assistant director of minor league operations Steve Noworyta. While Noworyta didn't have the list of signees in hand, he was enthusiastic about the players that the club drafted and how the early negotiations are going.

Two signings that have been reported are third round pick Cord Sandberg (OF) and 13th round pick Joey Martarano (3B/SS). Sandberg has reportedly reached an agreement on a deal worth $775,000,  more than $180,000 over slot for a third-rounder. The reason for the over-slot money is because the Phillies had to buy out Sandberg's commitment to play quarterback at Mississippi State, where he had committed to play. Giving Sandberg the extra money made it convincing enough for him to sign and report to Clearwater for rookie camp.

Martarano is another potential college football player, but he's not quite as sold on baseball as a career. Martarano has signed to play football at Boise State - you know, the team with that ugly blue field - and admits that's his first choice, although he wants to keep the door open to play baseball if the football thing doesn't work out. The fact that Martarano signed with the Phillies (he'll get $50,000 up front and another $50,000 when he reports to the Phillies) is actually a softening of his stance. Not long ago, Martarano was set on playing college football and had pretty much ruled out signing with any team that drafted him. The Phillies won't have Martarano on the field this summer and he'll basically let them know after the football season what he's going to do next.

"They told me that I could sign up (to play baseball) when I wanted to and I told them I that I would do that," explained Martarano to the Idaho Press-Tribune.

Elsewhere, it looks like 29th rounder Cavan Biggio (2B), son of former major leaguer Craig Biggio, isn't going to sign. He's been pretty steadfast that he's going to attend Notre Dame in the fall and play baseball there. Also, 33rd rounder Harrison Musgrave (LHP) has told people that he's headed back to West Virginia University.

On the plus side, Denton Keys, a left-hander out of Rye High School in Colorado, has told friends that he's ready to sign and will choose playing professional baseball over going to the University of Kansas. Another Colorado high school player, a right-hander who was chosen by the Phillies right after they selected Keys, has also indicated that he's leaning toward signing with the Phillies and starting his pro career. Ironically, Keys and Jax were playing together in a game Saturday just before they were drafted. The two are friends and texted congratulations back-and-forth.

"I've told everybody that I want to play professional ball," Keys told The Denver Post. "It feels good that it all worked out the way that it did."

Right-hander Lee Ridenhour (16th round) has said that he's headed to Clearwater for rookie camp and will then be assigned to Williamsport from what the Phillies have told him. Mark Meadors (RHP, 21st round), Cody Forsythe (LHP, 25th round) and Tyler Buckley (RHP, 27th round) have all indicated that they have either signed or will sign very shortly.

Right-hander Mark Leiter Jr., who is from Toms River, New Jersey, was drafted by the Phillies out of the New Jersey Institute of Technology in the 22nd round, will also be signing with the Phillies. Leiter's dad pitched two seasons for the Phillies and often had his son with him at the ballpark. As a kid, the younger Leiter picked up the nickname Leiter Light, while hanging around Veterans Stadium with his dad and other Phillies players.

"I am very excited," Leiter Jr. told The Asbury Park Press. "I am so happy the Phillies took me. I am a Phillies fan and living so close to Philly, it's just awesome."

There has been no word of either first round pick J.P. Crawford (SS, 16th overall) or second rounder Andrew Knapp (C, 53rd overall) having reached an agreement with the Phillies.


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