Three amateurs picked in the first round of the 2010 MLB Draft did not sign by the deadline earlier this week. Since the inception of the earlier deadline a few years back, that is a normal number.
One of the three, Kharsten Whitson, simply thought he was worth more than the Padres offered, so he will go to the University of Florida. It might be interesting to track Whitson's career earnings, because he turned down $2.1 million guaranteed from San Diego. While I think there are many good reasons to turn down that kind of money, Whitson clearly indicated that he simply thought he wasn't offered enough. I am not sure I agree with him, but perhaps that is a post for another time. Bottom line, Whitson is what I would consider the prototypical case when a player doesn't sign. He compared the value of college to what he was offered as a pro, and chose college.
However, the other two unsigned first-rounders have unique stories.
To start with, there is 14th overall selection Dylan Covey. I liked him quite a bit, as I had him rated the 25th best prospect in the 2010. At first glance, Covey also looks like a typical case, because he will head to the University of San Diego this fall, instead of entering Milwaukee's farm system. The deciding factor was a surprise to everyone though, including Covey himself: Type I Diabetes.
Baseball Beginnings has the story, but it does not appear that Covey was diagnosed until after the draft. Dylan talked to Brandon Morrow, who pitches with Type 1 Diabetes, and Morrow talked about how it takes some time to get used to dealing with. Ultimately, Covey felt he would be able to transition to his new lifestyle better in college than in the pros.
The ironic part of this story to me is that Covey's diagnosis, combined with how he handled it, probably makes him a more attractive prospect than before. There were whispers of arm problems when his velocity dropped at the end of the year, but the fatigue from diabetes was likely the culprit. Moreover, the maturity Covey showed in making his decision only reflects positively on his make-up, at least if you ask me.
Even more unique is the case of Barret Loux, the highest draft pick not to sign. Drafted sixth overall by the Diamondbacks (and rated sixth on my board), Arizona and Loux had agreed to a deal in July. To make it official, Loux took a physical - but he failed it. There will never be official word from Arizona what the results were, but a report surfaced that they found issues in Loux's elbow and labrum. The elbow was a concern in college, but this is the first I have heard issues around his labrum. Whatever happened, the D'Backs were worried enough to back out of a deal that they had originally agreed to.
In fact, Barret's case is so unique that commissioner Bud Selig had to make a ruling. Arizona will receive a compensatory pick next year, as is protocol when a team does not sign their draft pick. However, Loux will not have to re-enter the draft. Instead, he will become an unrestricted free agent on September 1. I will likely write about Loux again around the start of the September, because I think his situation is quite fascinating.
While this year's draft negotiations look pretty normal at first glance, there were a couple exceptional cases. With Covey, it is nice to see that sometimes other things besides money still matter from time to time, although the circumstances are less than ideal. As for Loux, I can't remember any player becoming an unrestricted free agent the year that they were drafted, and considering that it took a ruling from Bud Selig to come to this, I say with some confidence that it has never happened before.
I don't know how to end this post, other than to say that's baseball.