Players selected in the 2009 MLB Amateur Draft still have roughly a month and a half to decide if they will sign with the team that drafted them or return/go to college. Even though there is a lot of time left before players must make that tough and important decision, 9 of the 32 athletes selected in the first round have already signed and are playing for their respective organizations in the Minors. The highest pick to sign is#4 overall, Tony Sanchez ($2.5 million – Pirates), followed by the 5th pick, Matt Hobgood ($2.42 million – Orioles). The top three picks – Stephen Strasburg, Dustin Ackley, and Donavan Tate will likely not sign or decline until the deadline, which is August 17th.
Guess who represents #1, #2, and #3 overall. Scott Boras. John McGrath of the News Tribune thinks that at least Ackley might be hurting himself by holding out until the deadline. He wrote,
Either way, Ackley’s fast track to the bigs is in peril of losing momentum. This is too bad, because if ever there were a team in position to give a college player the keys to the car – and the freedom to put his pedal foot to the floor, without adhering to a speed limit – it’s the Seattle Mariners.
For elite talents with college experience, good things can happen in a hurry. Troy Tulowitzki (Rockies), Ryan Braun (Brewers) and Evan Longoria (Rays) needed between 10 months and a year to reach the big leagues after signing. None of these guys, it might be noted, held out. It also might be noted that none was represented by Boras.
But will a month and change really affect Ackley that much? I believe good things may still come his way even if he delays his appearance in Rookie Ball for another month or so. What if Ackley doesn’t end up making it to the big leagues in a year? The signing bonus is what he will be surviving on. For all we know, Ackley could step on a crack in a sidewalk on August 18th and break his leg (G-d forbid). The signing bonus is the only thing guaranteed for these guys.