MLB Draft Signing Deadline: A Review Of The First-Round Picks

The deadline for MLB teams to sign their draft picks is Monday at midnight, ET. Which first-round picks have signed, and which first-round picks are waiting until the last second?

If draft day is one of the best days for baseball fans, then the signing-deadline day is one of the best days for people who are huge fans of staring contests. In the absence of a professional staring-contest league, this is as good as it's going to get. Teams want to spend a lot of money. Players want to get a lot of money. The definition of "a lot" is the sticking point, and teams have until midnight ET to sign their picks.

If the picks don't sign, the team will be awarded a compensatory pick for the 2012 draft, though it will be a couple of picks below their unsigned 2011 selection. Here's a breakdown of the various categories the first-round picks fall into:

Unsigned because they're top-ten picks and they want a billion dollars in unmarked bills

1. Gerrit Cole, RHP, Pirates
2. Danny Hultzen, LHP, Mariners
4. Dylan Bundy, RHP, Orioles
6. Anthony Rendon, 3B, Nationals

Cole is the first overall pick, always a tricky sign. According to Baseball America, he wants Stephen Strasburg money, but is likely to get David Price money. Hultzen is probably going to sign, and Bundy is looking to become the highest-paid draftee in Orioles history.

Rendon is in that tricky spot of being a consensus top pick at one point before injuries and performance hurt his draft stock a bit. So does he get something close to what he was expecting to get nine months ago, or does he get something closer to what the standard #6 pick gets?

Same category as above, but with added two-sport leverage

5. Bubba Starling, OF, Royals
7. Archie Bradley, RHP, Diamondbacks

Starling and Bradley are both blue-chip quarterback prospects, so it's not a given that they'll want to play baseball for a living. Starling is already attending classes at Nebraska, and Bradley has an offer to play football at Oklahoma. The Diamondbacks are optimistic about signing Bradley, while the Royals will need to pay through the nose to get Starling (who grew up just outside of Kansas City).

Picks who are expected to sign

9. Javier Baez, SS, Cubs (Source)
11. George Springer, OF, Astros (Source)
12. Taylor Jungmann, RHP, Brewers (Source)
15. Jed Bradley, LHP, Brewers (Source)
20. Tyler Anderson, LHP, Rockies (Source)
27. Robert Stephenson, RHP, Reds (Source)

These players are expect to wait until the deadline, but the indication is that the two sides aren't that far apart. The reason they were grouped into this category is because of an article or tweet, which is linked in the "source" up there. That seperates them from ...

Picks who might be trickier to sign, or whose status is mostly unknown

8. Francisco Lindor, SS, Indians (Source)
13. Brandon Nimmo, OF, Mets (Source)
14. Jose Fernandez, RHP, Marlins (Source)
19. Matt Barnes, RHP, Red Sox (Source)
21. Tyler Beede, RHP, Blue Jays (Source)
23. Alex Meyer, RHP, Nationals (Source)
24. Taylor Guerrieri, RHP, Rays (Source)
25. Joe Ross, RHP, Padres (Source)
26. Blake Swihart, C, Red Sox (Source)
30. Levi Michael, SS, Twins (Source)
31. Michael Mahtook, OF, Rays (Source)

The articles on those players includes phrases like "far apart" and "should go down to the deadline." They all have some sort of leverage (college commitments or the option to return to college for another year), and they're going to stress out partisan baseball nerds until midnight tonight.


3. Trevor Bauer, RHP, Diamondbacks (minor-league stats)
10. Cory Spangenberg, 2B, Padres (stats)
16. Chris Reed, LHP, Dodgers (n/a)
17. C.J. Cron, 1B, Angels (stats)
18. Sonny Gray, RHP, Athletics (stats)
22. Kolten Wong, 2B, Cardinals (stats)
28. Sean Gilmartin, LHP, Braves (stats)
29. Joe Panik, SS, Giants (stats)
32. Jake Hager, SS, Rays (stats)
33. Kevin Matthews, LHP, Rangers (stats)

With the exception of Hager (who hasn't hit quite yet) and Reed (who hasn't pitched at all yet), all of the players up there have had impressive debuts in small samples. It's not all good news, though -- Cron is already out for the year with a dislocated kneecap. I'll guess that it came on a home-run celebration, but that's only because I'm a jerk.

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