While the 2013 MLB draft is now more than a month in the past, not every first-round pick has signed a professional deal with the organization that selected them.
All but four prospects taken in the first round have inked big-league contracts, and time is running out for those who have yet to sign on the dotted line. These prospects have until 5 p.m. ET on Friday, July 12 to sign with their respective teams. If they don’t, then they can return to school for next season if they’re still eligible.
One player who has signed is Mark Appel. Last season, Appel was drafted by the Pirates, but instead of signing with Pittsburgh, he returned to Stanford for his senior campaign. Appel pitched well for the Cardinal and was chosen as the first overall pick in this year’s draft by the Houston Astros, who signed him to a lucrative deal.
In the coming days, we’ll learn if three college players and one high school player are going to sign professional contracts or return to their schools for the 2013-14 season.
In the meantime, let’s analyze the chances that the deals get done before the deadline. Here are the odds that each drafted prospect reaches a deal before time runs out.
The Chicago Cubs made a bold decision to take Kris Bryant with the No. 2 overall pick in the draft instead of Jonathan Gray.
Bryant was the top hitter in this year’s draft class, though, and the Cubs made offense their priority. But Chicago may not have Bryant in its system this year—or potentially ever.
Bryant and the Cubs have yet to come to an agreement on a contract that would make the San Diego standout a member of the organization. Jesse Rogers of ESPNChicago reports that the Cubs are confident that the two sides will be able to work things out before the deadline, according to general manager Jed Hoyer:
There’s no update. With four or five days left, we’re confident we’ll get it done. We’ll make him an exceptionally fair offer. If Kris wants to be a Cub and be a professional baseball player I’m confident we’ll get a deal done.
Bryant hit 31 home runs at San Diego this season, which led the nation. He’s a perennial slugger who is bound to be a star in the majors one day. His value isn’t going to increase if he decides to return for his senior campaign, so it doesn’t make much sense for him to keep holding out. Bryant should accept Chicago’s offer.
Chances of Signing: 90 percent
Colin Moran was the sixth overall pick in this year’s draft and was taken by the Miami Marlins.
There’s no guarantee, however, that he’s going to show how grateful he is by signing with Miami. Moran has yet to ink a deal with the Marlins, and it wouldn’t be out of left field if the Tar Heels star decided to go back to North Carolina for another year.
North Carolina was the No. 1 team in the nation entering the NCAA tournament and the College World Series this year, but the Tar Heels came up just short. UNC lost its opener in Omaha and was bounced by eventual national champion UCLA.
UNC could make it back in 2013-14 with Moran.
The Marlins are hoping that the $3.52 million they offered Moran, per Clark Spencer of the Miami Herald, is going to be enough for the third baseman to forgo his senior year at one of the country’s top programs. Spencer reports that the belief is that Miami and Moran will agree before Friday at 5 p.m., ET.
In 71 games for the Tar Heels this season, Moran hit .345/.470/.544 with 13 home runs and 91 RBI. He has an excellent bat and a slick glove that he flaunts at the hot corner.
The Marlins desperately need to add him to their organization, as Miami cannot afford to lose a player of Moran’s potential.
Chances of Signing: 75 percent
Phil Bickford could end up being the Debbie Downer of this list of four draft picks because as the lone high school player, he has the lowest odds of signing.
When Toronto drafted him with the 10th overall pick, it appeared that he was going to sign. Bickford told Gregor Chisholm and Teddy Cahill of MLB.com that he was optimistic about joining the Blue Jays:
I’m just told to talk it through with my family and just see what happens. I’m excited for the opportunity to sign and start to pursue my big league career.
As of now, it’s still being discussed but when I know what the deal is, then we’ll see how it plays out.
It doesn’t seem like things are playing out very well for the right-handed stud. Bickford has yet to sign a deal with Toronto, and while there’s still plenty of time before the deadline, he might be better off going to school.
Bickford is expected to pitch for Cal State Fullerton next year if he doesn’t sign with Toronto.
While being the 10th pick in the first round is a major accomplishment, Bickford may feel that he can do better in three more years. Bickford has a bright future ahead of him on the mound, and a few more seasons of college experience could land him in the top five of the 2016 draft.
Chances of Signing: 55 percent
The Yankees made three selections in the first round of this year’s draft, but Aaron Judge is the only one giving them trouble.
As Jon Heyman of CBS Sports reports, the other two top picks for the Bronx Bombers took the slot value, but the Fresno State standout still hasn’t.
Judge is a big kid who could play a large role in the outfield for the Yankees. He has a ton of power and could end up hitting 20-30 home runs per season in the big leagues some day. But at the moment, his path to the majors is going to be delayed a year because he might return back to school.
Jim Callis of Baseball America was asked if there was anything new on Judge over the last few days. Callis said there was nothing brewing, but he expects the outfielder to sign before the deadline. Callis notes that Judge is likely looking for more than the recommended value for being the 32nd pick in the draft.
Judge hit .369/.461/.655 with 12 home runs and 36 in 56 games at Fresno State this season. It will be a bit of a head-scratcher if he decides to give it one more year in college. His value probably won’t increase very much and he will likely still be a late first-round pick next year.
He’s better off starting his big-league career right now.
Chances of Signing: 85 percent