According to Sports Illustrated's Jon Heyman, the Toronto Blue Jays and 2011 first round draft picks Tyler Beede (21st) and Kevin Comer (57th), both Vanderbilt recruits, are said to be "Millions apart" in their negotiations.
If Toronto fails to sign these two promising young pitchers it would leave a sour taste in the mouth of Jays fans. However, would it mean that this draft was a failure?
In a word, no.
Blue Jays GM Alex Anthopoulos was incredibly aggressive with his draft choices this year, selecting 22 high school prospects in his first 25 picks. Many of whom were top ranked kids but fell due to signability issues.
Here's a quick run down of a few of these signed prospects.
OF Dwight Smith Jr: Taken 53rd overall with the pick Toronto received for Miguel Olivo. Smith signed yesterday (August 15th) for $800,000 which is $125,000 over the recommended slot price.
Smith's father was a long time Chicago Cub and finished in second place for the NL Rookie of the Year award in 1989. Although not as fast as Smith Sr., Jr still has plus speed who projects to hit for a high average with decent power. In fact, many scouts felt he had the best pure swing outside of college.
RHP John Stilson: Arguably the best closer prospect coming out of the college ranks, Stilson dropped like a stone because of a torn labrum suffered late in his season. Even though Toronto paid out a $500,000 signing bonus for the third round pick (double the slot price), Anthopoulos still got first round talent for a fraction of what it would have cost if they took him 21st.
Blessed with a four pitch arsenal that includes an MLB ready changeup and an electric fastball that can touch 100mph, Stilson could be in the show as early as next year if he heels fast enough.
OF Jacob Anderson: Another supposedly tough sign, Anderson was committed to Pepperdine but was swayed to join Toronto with a $990,000 signing bonus.
The first round pick (supplemental—35th overall) has a tantalizing speed/power combo that could translate in to 30/20 player as a pro. Anderson is also athletic enough to play Center Field so this signing adds yet another high ceiling prospect to Toronto's growing stable of toolsey outfielders.
3B/SS Matt Dean: Once touted as a possible first round pick after his junior year, Dean struggled last season and because of it his stock plummeted to the point that Toronto was able to select him in the thirteenth round. Nonetheless, he was also considered a tough sign as his potential was still sky high and many teams felt that he'd go to college and reclaim his top prospect status in time for the 2013 draft.
Does the Signing (or not) of Tyler Beede make or break Toronto's Draft?
Instead, Toronto threw a massive $737,500 signing bonus at him which was $237,500 more than Toronto gave first round pick (supplemental—46th overall) Joe Musgrove.
Dean projects as a power hitting third baseman with above average defense and a very strong arm.
RHP Joe Musgrove: The big right-hander (6'5", 230lbs) was the first draftee to sign. At a mere $500,000, Musgrove was a relative bargain but he was drafted a bit earlier than projected. Still, the young man has a huge frame and strong build that he uses to exploit his heavy fastball and hammer curve.
Already playing in Toronto's system in the Gulf Coast Rookie League, Musgrove has shown nice command and strikeout ability as his 1.085 WHIP and 7.0 K/9 ratios show.
These players are but a few of the exciting prospects signed by Alex Anthopoulos and even if Tyler Beede and Kevin Comer spurn the Blue Jays for Vanderbilt, this is still a draft class that could reap huge returns in a few years.
You also may notice that there's been no mention of second round pick Daniel Norris. That's because both Toronto and Norris's camp have been incredibly tight lipped on any contract negotiations. Norris was the consensus second best left handed pitcher in the 2011 draft behind Danny Hultzen, who was taken second overall by Seattle.
However, even though Norris was projected as a top 15 pick, he fell in to the second round due to a perceived strong commitment to Clemson University.
You can read my analysis of the pick here.
At the time of publication there is just shy of nine hours left until the deadline. I'm sure Twitter be lit up with all sorts of buzz and conjecture on the status of these three kids. If Toronto does indeed sign them, or at least one of the three, then this draft class has the potential to one of Toronto's best ever.
As always, feel free to follow me on Twitter @TheDelgadoShift
UPDATE: 11:02 PM - one hour left and there is still 23 of 33 first rounders left to sign, including Tyler Beede. Close to half of the supplemental picks still unsigned as well, including Kevin Comer. This is going to be a barnburner. Follow my tweets for up to date info.
UPDATE: 12:18 PM - Daniel Norris ($2M) and Kevin Comer ($1.65M) sign mere seconds before the deadline.