Now that all 40 rounds of the 2013 MLB draft have transpired, the real challenge for general managers begins—signing as much of their draft haul as possible.
There's no question that prospects who have yet to graduate college and are taken in the draft are faced with a tough decision.
On one hand, it's tough for any 17 to 22-year-old to turn down the kind of money that a signing bonus would bring. Not many high school or college students can say they have the opportunity to secure a six-figure paycheck.
However, some players would be better suited to go back to school for another year. Not because another year of biology will be the beginning of a more lucrative career, but because a higher draft selection in the 2014 draft will mean more cash—Mark Appel can attest to that.
So which MLB draftees should seriously consider spurning the cash for the sake of the long-term development of their skills and wallet? Let's examine.
Note: All draft slot values, unless otherwise noted, are via Baseball America.
Ryan Boldt, CF, Boston Red Sox (Pick No. 653)
The decision to sign or go back to school can be especially challenging for high school players. Unlike college juniors who can just go back to school for one year and return to the draft like Appel did last year, they basically make a three-year commitment.
College players aren't eligible to enter the draft until after their junior season or until they are 21. However, the decision should be easy for Boldt: He should avoid signing with Boston and honor his commitment to play baseball for the Nebraska Cornhuskers.
The Red Sox drafted Boldt outside of the first 10 rounds, which means that they aren't likely to use their assigned draft pool money to sign him. That means the maximum amount of money they can offer him is $100,000.
For a player that ESPN's Keith Law thought could go with the 40th selection overall, that's simply not enough.
Boldt can go to Nebraska for three years and develop his skills. When he declares again, there's a good chance he would go somewhere in the first round, which would make him a millionaire.
Andrew Mitchell, RHP, Chicago White Sox (Pick No. 123)
TCU hurler Andrew Mitchell was taken in the fourth round by the Chicago White Sox at a draft slot that should net him a signing bonus in the neighborhood of $413,000. So why should he return to the Horned Frogs for his senior season?
He was ranked the 50th overall prospect by Baseball America leading up to the draft.
Mitchell showed great stuff at TCU but struggled with command at times—a flaw that could have caused his stock to drop. Had he been selected at or around No. 50 overall, he would garner a signing bonus of around $1 million.
Another year at TCU to show that he can improve his control could prove to be a great move financially.
Bobby Wahl, RHP, Oakland Athletics (Pick No. 161)
The Oakland Athletics got an absolute steal when they snagged Ole Miss pitcher Bobby Wahl with the 161st pick in the draft.
Like Mitchell, Wahl was ranked much higher on Baseball America's big board (No. 36) than his draft slot would indicate. The Rebels ace racked up 10 wins in the SEC this season.
With a mid-90s fastball and good breaking ball, Wahl has the stuff to be successful at the pro level, but command was an issue for him. If Wahl is willing to go back and show that he can fix his mechanics to deliver more control, he could be in line for a payday of around $1.5 million.
That's a lot more than the $286,200 value of his current slot.
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