Thu Aug 13 06:13pm EDT
In less than a week, many outstanding prospects from around the country will make a decision about their futures. Some college players will choose to start a pro career. Others will make the decision to return to school for another season.
Several high school prospects also have tough decisions to make.
With the draft deadline around the corner and arriving at midnight on Monday, August 17, here's what we're hearing from our sources:
• It's going to be a grueling next few days for the Texas Longhorns. The Longhorns lost first baseman Brandon Belt to San Francisco Thursday afternoon for just over $200,000, according to a source. Belt's departure is no surprise, as the Longhorns expected him to sign. But with Belt off the board, all UT's attention shifts to local product Everett Williams, an outfielder that was drafted in the second round by San Diego. The Padres appear to be close to inking first-round pick Donavan Tate and also feel very good about their chances of signing right-handed pitcher Keyvius Sampson, a Florida State signee. That means the Padres won't have as much money to play with in regards to Williams. Sources at UT are telling me that the coaching staff feels things are 50/50 with Williams. If Tate and Sampson sign contracts sooner rather than later, I think that percentage goes more in UT's favor.
• Much has been said the past few days about North Carolina right-handed pitcher Alex White still not signing a professional contract. White was the 15th pick of the draft to Cleveland and appeared to be a lock to sign earlier this summer. However, there are some sources who believe there's at least a chance he returns to UNC for his senior campaign. At least one UNC source told me Thursday they thought there was a 20-percent chance White returns to Chapel Hill, N.C., for his senior campaign. Speaking of other UNC players and recruits, they know first baseman Dustin Ackley will sign, but things are interesting with right-handed pitcher Cody Stiles, a 39th-round pick of the Yankees. The Tar Heels are worried they will lose Stiles at the last second. Outfielder Brian Goodwin, meanwhile, a 17th-round pick of the White Sox, is expected to report to campus for classes. Last but not least, outfielder Donavan Tate, who has left UNC football practice and was the third pick of the draft to San Diego, is expected to sign the dotted line with the Padres.
• USC is patiently waiting to see what happens with shortstop Grant Green and right-handed pitcher Brad Boxberger. Green was a first-round pick of Oakland and Boxberger was a first supplemental selection of Cincinnati. At least one source with knowledge of their situations said the pair would prefer to start their professional careers. That means there's a great chance the duo signs before the deadline. Green has visited Oakland, while Boxberger's situation has been a bit more under the radar.
• Oklahoma State head coach Frank Anderson will be glued to his phone this weekend. And no, it won't be to keep track of his son Brett Anderson, who is a stud pitcher for Oakland. The Cowboys have four key players still unsigned. The biggest news came out Wednesday night, as the Orioles announced they'd no longer be offering a contract to second-round pick and shortstop Mychal Givens. We'll see if the two parties can come together before the deadline. But for now, the Cowboys appear to be in the saddle to get him on campus. The focus also is on Andy Oliver (2nd round, Detroit), Tyler Blandford (5th round, Seattle) and Tyler Lyons (10th round, New York Yankees). Sources say Oliver and Blandford are 50/50 on returning to school for another season. Lyons, though, appears to be set on returning to Stillwater for another season. Still, given the fact the Yankees are the ones dealing with Lyons, it's not over until the deadline arrives.
• Clemson pitcher Chris Dwyer is one of the more interesting situations of the draft. Dwyer only was a freshman for the Tigers this past season, but still was draft-eligible in June. So, Kansas City decided to draft the first-year player in the fourth round. Sources told us a few weeks ago that a deal would get done. Well, it looks like Dwyer and the Royals have agreed to terms and will sign the dotted line before the deadline. This is a tough hit for the Clemson Tigers.
• There are some industry sources out there that have alluded to the fact stud left-handed pitcher Matt Purke, a first-round pick to the Rangers, could attend TCU. The lefty is scheduled to be at an orientation in Fort Worth this weekend for the freshman class, but sources close to the situation still fully expect to get a deal done. As a matter of fact, at least one source said they thought there was "little" chance he shows up to campus. That comment is not a surprise to most, but there are some out there that really think Purke is going to college. Likely not going to be the case.
• The situation with Arizona State pitchers Mike Leake and Josh Spence still is quiet. Sources close to the situation still are saying Leake wants to sign and eventually will sign with the Reds by the deadline. Sources aren't so sure on Spence signing. Spence apparently felt like he was a little low-balled with a financial offer from the Angels earlier this summer and is contemplating a return to Tempe, Ariz., for another campaign. Spence was a third-round selection of the Angels, and despite some of the rhetoric out there, his return to the Sun Devils would be a huge surprise to us.
• When it comes to some potential tough draft losses, look no further than Texas A&M. The Aggies received a punch below the belt a few weeks ago when left-handed pitcher Brooks Raley, a sixth-round selection of the Cubs, decided to sign. Well, the Aggies have their sights set on three high school prospects and a JUCO prospect. The high school prospects are Shelby Miller (1st round, St. Louis), K.C. Hobson (6th round, Toronto), Todd Glaesmann (3rd round, Tampa Bay) and John Stilson (19th round, Minnesota). An industry source told us Thursday that Glaesmann likely will ink a deal with the Rays this weekend. Sources close to the situation informed me that there is very little chance Miller goes to college, a 50-50 chance Hobson goes to college and a very good chance Stilson, a JUCO transfer, will go to A&M.
• As you might expect, there has been very little information about San Diego State right-handed pitcher Stephen Strasburg. The first pick of the draft originally was asking for an insane amount of money from the Nationals. However, as the deadline nears, there's much talk about Strasburg -- if he signs -- doing so for well under what he originally wanted from the Nats. That certainly would come as no surprise. In the end, most insiders expect a deal to get done. But again, you never know with a Boras client.