On Tuesday, veteran MLB report Jon Heyman tweeted that top 2016 MLB Draft prospect Delvin Perez failed a pre-draft drug test.
This tweet confirms what we had been hearing since Friday evening and will have a significant impact on Thursday’s day one of the draft.
Perez is clearly a top talent in this draft. To some, he is the top player in the draft. Yet he had slid because of character red flags even before this failed test. Then you take the attitude issues that were reported and add in drug use and, well, it makes his future murky. It takes a draft that was already jumbled and confusing and shakes it up some more.
Perez was getting some talk as an under-slot fallback option for every pick in the top five. I think he had a floor at Tampa but now it is a lot harder to judge where Perez ends up. The other question is how much this affects his signing demands. There is a case where if they drop enough it might not affect his position that much. Pool money is so valuable that teams being able to save money would be worth the risk to a certain point. I think it is pretty safe to say his days as a top-10 pick are likely done.
Perez is in a precarious situation here. He has no college commitment. He had no intention of going to school, which means he has no fallback. I am sure there are plenty of schools that would consider him even with this new issue. Yet, as of now, this is a player whose only plan was to be drafted and signed. Now he can’t even sit back safe in knowing he has a college to fallback to.
So which teams would be willing to roll the dice on Perez?
Cleveland might be his first landing spot as they have been big on him during the whole process, have three picks in the top-75 and have shown themselves to have no issues with risk taking the injured Brady Aiken a year ago.
The next team that would make the most sense is the Padres. They have five picks in the top-100, and have a preference for up the middle talent. The fact they are a non-risk adverse front office with a ton of draft capital helps.
I think the next logical team would be the Braves. The Braves are another team with a lot of draft capital. In addition they also have the advantage of incredibly deep minors as well to cushion the blow if the pick does not work out.
No matter what happens or punishments that Perez may or may not face, this is a massive story for this draft. In a draft lacking star power, one of the players with the most potential just made himself the biggest risk.