August 15th Deadline to Sign MLB Draft Picks: 1 Week Away

Monday August 8, 2011



MLB reports:  A popular topic on the Reports is the annual MLB Draft.  Readers love to learn about baseball prospects and future stars.  On June 6th, we summarized the first-round MLB selections and analyzed each player as selected by their respective club.  With the excitement of the draft still in the air, the August 15th deadline to sign each drafted player is only 1 week away.

A quick recap of the draft rules for everyone.  Players that were drafted by MLB teams this year must sign with their respective club by August 15th.  If unsigned, the player will enter next year’s draft if eligible.  In order to re-select the same player in a subsequent year, the team would need the permission of the previously drafted player. 

Another twist to the draft is that if a team is not successful in signing a pick by August 15th, the team would receive a compensation pick in the following year’s draft.  For a player drafted in the first or second round that goes unsigned, the team would receive the same slot pick the following year as compensation plus one.  For a player not signed in the third round, a compensation pick would be given in a supplemental round between the third and fourth rounds.  So for example, the National drafted Aaron Crow with the 9th overall pick, 1st round of the 2008 MLB draft.  When Crow did not sign, the National received as compensation the 10th overall pick in the 2009 draft, used to draft current closer Drew Storen, in addition to their existing 1st round pick (1st overall, which was used to take phenom Stephen Strasburg).  However, if a team is unable to sign the player taken with a compensatory pick, the team would not receive another compensation pick in following years.  Thus a team gets one chance to make-up a pick, so they better be sure they draft a signable player.

The story of signing MLB draft picks does not usually boil down to who signed, but rather who did not sign.  Draftees usually wait to the final hour to sign their contracts, minutes to the midnight deadline.  Sizeable contracts are handed out at the deadline, as players and agents attempt to one-up one another.  With the current MLB collective bargaining agreement set to expire on December 11, 2011, players and agents realize that future rookie contracts may be limited in a hard-cap, set-salary structure arrangement.  Thus many players would be well advised to sign their first professional contracts this year, rather than face the risk of the unknown future salary structure of rookies.

The biggest contract given to a 1st round pick this year so far has been Trevor Bauer, who signed a 4-year, $7 million contract with the Diamondbacks.  Other 2011 1st round picks to sign contracts already include Cory Spangenberg with the Padres, C.J. Cron with the Angels, Sonny Gray with the Athletics, Kolten Wong with the Cardinals, Sean Gilmarten with the Braves, Joe Panik with the Giants, Jake Hager with the Rays and Kevin Matthews with the Rangers.  To keep up-to-date on the 2011 1st round and supplemental MLB Draft picks signings, please click onto MLB Trade Rumors, a great baseball site that is maintaining a draft pick signing page.

As August 15th continues to approach, fans will continue to ask if and when the Pirates will sign Gerrit Cole, the 1st overall selection in this year’s draft.  Dylan Bundy of the Orioles, Bubba Starling of the Royals, Anthony Rendon of the Nationals and so forth also remain out there.  For all the anxious people worrying as to which players will sign, let us help alleviate your concerns.  The majority of the top picks will sign with their squads before the deadline and will get good contracts.  We will continue to cover the signing deadline and file a report when the final numbers are in.  The signing period is like a game of musical chairs with a great deal of money being thrown around with pre-arranged partners.  It will be interesting to see which draft picks are left standing without a contract in hand when the bell strikes midnight next week.




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