It happens frequently: Highly touted prospects don’t hear their names early in the MLB first-year player draft and fall far into the later rounds.
That was the case with Malvern Prep outfielder Chris Newell, who was the 96th-ranked draft prospect according to MLB.com. Newell, who has signed with the University of Virginia, dropped all the way to the 37th round and was selected by the St. Louis Cardinals.
It didn’t surprise Newell, a 6-foot-3, 195-pounder who throws and bats left-handed.
“Before the draft, we set the [bonus] money pretty high of what I would be asking for,” he said in a phone interview after the draft. “I sat and watched the first couple of rounds. And once those were over, I kind of figured I would be going to school.”
Teams have taken prospects later than expected and then offered them well above slot for a bonus. The slot for players drafted after the 10th round is $100,000.
The Cardinals did that in 2014 when they chose Delsea pitcher Bryan Dobzanski in the 29th round. He was ready to attend the University of Louisville but changed his mind when the Cardinals offered him a $700,000 signing bonus.
Newell says he knows teams go above the slot, but he said he called Virginia and told the coaches that he will be attending the Atlantic Coast Conference school.
“I am committed to school and talked to the coaches,” said Newell, who hit .411 with 12 doubles, eight home runs and 31 RBIs this season. He had a .565 on-base percentage.
Newell said it was still an honor to be drafted no matter how late it was.
“I am fortunate a team took me late just to, in a way, congratulate me for everything I have done so far,” he said. “It is still pretty cool to hear my name.”
But college is next.