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I have a couple of questions. Do you advise only college players? Do you advise hs players as well? Do you have one stance on going to college over going pro? Or do you feel it is a case by case basis? If it is case by case, what are the criteria for your approval? Do you feel that MLB ought to not draft hs players? If someone is a really good student, but wants to chase his dreams, how would you advise? Not judging, just curious.
"Don't sweat the small stuff." "I am responsible for the effort -- not the outcome. "
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I advise both HS and College players. I look for the best player I can find and evaluate them by my own set of standards. Remember I am not just looking for kids that will high draft picks I am looking fo kids that will becaome good Major Leaguers. As far my how I advise them in regard to signing if it is HS player I tell the family a couple of things. One pick a good college that you ACCUALLY WANT TO ATTEND. Too many time kids pick a school to get the decision out of the way thinking there is no way they will go there because tey are going to sign. I tell families your mind set should be I am going to college until I call you and tell you we got to the number we decided on BEFORE the Draft. I try as hard as possible to disuade kids from signing out of HS and make them really think about what the are giving up. Before the Draft ever happens I sit with te Family and we decide on a number that it will take to sign. This way when they are drafted and all the excitement and emotions get involved we can come back to center and focus on the hard numbers and the business. As for the HS kids it s very much case by case thing but remember this I can't make that choice. It is up to the parents and the player. I can only advise and give opinions based on 20 years experience in Pro Baseball. Whn you talk about what kind of HS kid is ready I will tell you this. There is more importance on maturity and emotional stability than there is on Physical ability. To be sure some kids have no business in clooege and have no business being there these kids have few choices but to sign. Last year I represented John Danks he was the 9th pick in the country. John is the exception to the rule. He is mature beyond his years and ready to start a career I have few worries about him getting caught up in **** off the field or about being able to handle the stresses of his choosen career. He s an exceptional young man. Conversely I had done contracts for several HS players that I know will have many problems and are not ready I tell them and their families "this is a mistake but I will support you 100% and be there for you when you need me." As ar as whether MLB should draft these kids out of HS they absolutely should. T persons right to choose their path in life should not be infringed upon. I would advise a reaaly good student to go to school the dream will still be there in 3 or 4 years and you will be much better prepared to handle it and give it your best shot. There is no criteria for approval because it is not for me to approve. I would ask a parent to think back to when they were 17 or 18. How many of them were ready to have and manage a career? Now add the pressure of a 6 to 7 figure signing bonus, add the fact there is no stability or family structure, or for that matter any rules. Just show up on time and play hard. Would you be ready for that at 18 or would you be better prepared fr that at 21? There is no wrong or right answer, but it is my moral and ethical duty to give all the facts to families; not just try to sign them and collect commisions. As an Agent you become a business advisor, a father figure, a friend, a coach, marriage counselor,ECT... You have to treat these boys as you would your own. I have 5 children and each is different I treat them each differently but try to guide and advise them with the wisdom I have picked up over the years. I treat my clients the same. I have made many mistakes in my life and learned from them all as I am sure you have. I guess at the end of the day I never want some to say " if I had only known, I wish I did it different" I know this will still happen but I am all about education both on the business of baseball and in the classroom.
I know Mr. Danks all to well. My son's Plano East Team was eliminated by Round Rock in the series before the state finals. He and Matt Nachreiner made quite a pair. My son pitched the first game and lost 3-0.

You advocate coming up with a number before the draft. Do you recommend then broadcasting that number to scouts?

How do you suggest handling calls the night before or the day of the draft asking, "would you sign for this amount?" If a player agrees to the amount and then you find out it is low. What then?

We all know that everybodys money number will be different depending on circumstances and needs. Do you have criteria for arriving at a number?

John Danks is one thing, every one knew he would be a top couple of round guy. What about the guy who shoots up onto the radar screen and may be a top 10 round guy? Do you think that the same advice applies to him? I would think that it is easier to set a number for a Danks than let's say a guy who doesn't know if he wil go in the 3rd or 10th round. How would you advise him?
You raise some good points and i ill try to give you some honest answers though they may be a litle generic. I would not advise advertising your number to te scouting comunity before the draft for several reasons not the least of which is this is a private topic to be shared only by the family and the team tat secures the rght to negotiate with them. Remember all the draft does is give the team the right to negotiate with the family.
This "sharing of numbers and bonus demands" cn seem harmless and as an honest way to do business but there are a few snags to look out for. Not the least of which is teams sharing disinformation. The draft is a tricky and complex thing that can take a life of its own. Get too many people gossiping about money and rounds and you can be assured of a train wreck.
So no I would not broadcast that number to scouts. In regard to handling the calls the night before an few days prior to the draft I would tell you let a professional handle it. If you choose to feld these questions beware. Why would you negotiate with a team before they even pick you? Aren't you putting the cart before the horse? If they want to draft and sign your son believe me they will pick him. And if you are using a competent advisor he will know what the market will bear and what the price should be. (Jeff Kahn from Tanzer Sports Consultants is excelent at this). As far as setting the price too low and being picked in a higher round, as a team if I knew you would sign for x and we took you in y and te fir bonus for that rd is z why would I pay you z if I didn't have to. I already got you to agrre to x. Not all teams would do this and most tems deal quite honorably but there are always exceptions and you sgouldn't be one of them. As for setting a number it is a VERY Personal thing and several factors go into it too many to explain here. Talent, Position, family situation, educational goals, personal goals, ect... This is why you need to work with someone who really understands you and your needs. There are some good one out there its you job to sort through te garbage an find them.
So no I would not broadcast that number to scouts. In regard to handling the calls the night before an few days prior to the draft I would tell you let a professional handle it.

Isn't that a violation of the NCAA guidelines?

And if you are using a competent advisor he will know what the market will bear and what the price should be. (Jeff Kahn from Tanzer Sports Consultants is excelent at this).

Wasn't Tanzer Matt Harrignton's agent? Sorry couldn't resist. I know that has no bearing on Jeff Kahn's ability.

Isn't it true that more teams are now demanding a deal the night before or the day of the draft before they make the pick? Then insisting, "well we had an agreement"? How does the nominal pick handle that. I was told by one scout that. "we will call and ask if you will sign for X amount. If you hesitate, we will move on to the next player." How would you deal with that? Let us face it, more and more teams are playing hardball. They are using slot money as an excuse to not negotiate. We all know this doesn't have much of impact on top guys, but others it has a great impact on. How would you suggest dealing with that?
Yes Tanzer was Harringtons agent and the deal was a classic example of what can go wrong with a predraft deal. Teams are in fact trying to do more and more predraft deals and yes in some cases demanding them. Teams are in fact playing hard ball. I will reiterate find a competant agent and let them handle it. In some cases (you must know your player and the market) the deal my be the best you are going to get. But I will refer back to what I said several emails ago. Pick a school you accually want to attend and have the mind set you are going there until a deal you want is agreed to. If you are good enough and the team wants you bad enough the deal will get done. There are a few cases where a predraft deal is a good one and makes sense. If a team says take it or leave it you are generally better off leaveing it. If they really want him they will negotiate with in the bounds of their pre draft offer. I had a team call last year between rounds and ask for as deal. It was not a number the family wanted and so I passed. This was during the draft, the team hung up and said "we pick in less than 1 minute", "we are going to pass on him". Then 2 picks latter picked him. We got significantly more money in fact the 2nd highest Bonus in the round. I had done my homework I knew who was negotiating with and I used my resources to know how bad they wanted him. This was not a first or second round pick either. Don't worry about the round it is all about value and knowing the market. Sometimes the (SLOT) might be the right number for the player, sometimes its not. As for NCAA regulations yes the Advisor should not be in dirrect contact with the team but and this is a big but, this is never how it works the teams would rather deal with us and the families ussually would prefer that as well. You must as an advisor choose your words tactfully and never represent the family you inform the team about what you are advising the family on. Letting the advisor handle it with the team keeps it cleaner for both sides. As long as you tell the team " I am advisiong the family that they should ask fo X " "I am advising the family that he is worth X because...." It is very Grey but the NCAA knows whats going on and doesn't get involved for several reasons. I don't care to list them here.
I want to thank all of you for the information posted here. I have read everything. My son is an early signee to a DI. His high school coach has recently been contracted by scouts from several teams wanting to know when he will be pitching so they can come see him. I don't have anyone around here to talk to about all this stuff. So what I read here is very helpful.

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