Thursday, July 24, 2008

Signing Update - Figueroa and Clark

It doesn't stop! On Friday we announced the signings of SS Cole Figueroa from the University of Florida and 1B Matt Clark from LSU.

A left-handed hitting SS, Cole was a standout player throughout his amateur career, often being recognized for his baseball instincts and gamer mentality. That shouldn't come as much of a surprise, as Cole's father, Bien Figueroa, spent time as a Major League player and minor league manager. At the plate Cole has shown an advanced feel for hitting with a nice combination of strike zone discipline, bat control, and power. As a 20-year old sophomore this spring (he turned 21 at the end of June which is what made him eligible for the draft), Cole hit .350/.424/.534 while also stealing 20 bags in 24 attempts.

Since Cole was a sophomore eligible in the draft, he had been playing in the Cape Cod League for the second consecutive summer. When he left the Cape to sign with us he was in the midst of an eight game hitting streak and was hitting .306 in July.

When we selected Cole in the 6th round, we were fully aware that he was not a 6th round talent and therefore would not sign for 6th round money. In fact, Cole had turned down significant money after being drafted out of high school in order to attend Florida, and he had plenty of reasons to return to Florida for his junior season. However, our area scout, Rob Sidwell, had done an excellent job in understanding what it was going to take to sign Cole, and we decided he was well worth the investment.

At 6'5", 235 lbs, Matt has been a top prospect since his days at Etiwanda HS. After being ranked as a top 200 prospect by Baseball America in high school, Matt went to Riverside Community College where he was first-team All-Southern California, All-California, JUCO All-American, and MVP of the California State Tournament. All of these accomplishments got Matt drafted again in 2007, but he elected to attend LSU.

This decision appears to have been a good one, as Matt hit .344 with a whopping 28 home runs in 227 at-bats for LSU this season. Furthemore, Matt's LSU squad qualified for the College World Series and during one stretch won 26 out of 29 games.

As in Cole Figueroa's case, we knew that Matt's expectations were greater than 12th round money. Once again, however, we believe in his talent and are happy to sign him for a bigger bonus that his draft position would indicate. As I wrote during the draft, we were focused on taking the most talented players available regardless of signability, so we're very excited to add both of these players into our system.

For more on our draft, check out Grady Fuson's interview on the new Padres Channel.


Wazzel Sport's Humor said...

What the...a post sent from the past to warn us about the future?

Anyways, not to get lost in the fray, congrats on the signings. I keep hearing the term "paid above slot" which usually means "more talented than draft position suggests" which is always nice to hear.

Cole Figueroa I thought was a real nice pick as long as he signed (which he has now done) and as you said that is a testament to the area scout. A player's intentions as a person are a huge factor when deciding when to take guys and I am glad you guys knew Figueroa would sign for "x" amount.

On Clark, why is it that some elite talents choose a JC over a four year school? My first thought was time because they can enter after 2 years instead of 3 (if under 21 of course) but if that was the case why not just enter the draft out of high school? it seems like if you were a top 200 prospect out of high school there would seemingly be some schools willing to offer a scholarship (and presumably better baseball instruction and facilities).

Is it just a personal, case by case matter?

Paul DePodesta said...

Yeah, this one was a little tricky. As you can see, I started the post on Thursday afternoon because we had gotten the signed documents from both players. However, I didn't want to jump the gun on other outlets. Then, on Friday morning I was so excited about the Padres channel, that I wanted to post about it.

So, when I finally posted the news about Cole and Matt (both of whom are off to good starts in Eugene, by the way) this morning, it was posted to last Thursday. Hopefully it won't go totally overlooked.

I'm still figuring all of this out.

Gavin said...


Congrats on the signings. Count me as one Padre fan who likes the hearing the words "Padres" and "over-slot" in the same sentence.

I understand you cannot comment directly on the Dykstra situation, but with regards to the other unsigned "high" picks, was it anticipated that they, too would be tough signs?

Also, how is the club feeling about its chances of inking Mooneyham? Is it possible that some of the money not given to Dykstra could be allocated to Brett instead?

Gavin said...

Also, I have seen conflicting opinions on whether Figueroa will be able to stay at shortstop as he progresses. What position do the Pads project for him, SS or 2B?

Anonymous said...

Great job on the signings.

I really liked Clark (Huge Power) and figured you'd only sign him if things weren't going to work out with Dykstra because he was going to require above slot money.

Now it's down to Darnell for the first day "haul" to be reeled in. I look forward to having two first rounders next year.

Gavin said...

For anyone interested, Grady Fuson was on with Coach this afternoon and characterized the Darnell contract stalemate as an "old-fashioned stare down."

Paul, I know compensation rules dictate that any club failing to sign its 1st round pick gets the same pick the following year. My question is, what would happen if the club failed to sign said compensation pick? Would the cycle continue, or is it a one-shot deal?

Muwin said...

So how are the Padres going to AFFORD these compensation picks they are talking about in the media..???

They will have one of the top 3 picks in the draft... There's 4- to 7 million... if they don't sign Dykstra there is another 1.5 million for a 23A pick , and if they don't sign Darnell, maybe another 750K....