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SoxProspects News

August 17, 2009 at 9:42 AM

Draft Signing Deadline

Entering Monday morning, the Red Sox have signed twenty-five of their fifty picks from the 2009 draft. Keep in mind that over the course of Jason McLeod’s run as Boston’s amateur scouting director since 2005, the Sox signed, on average, twenty-nine picks per season. McLeod now has until 11:59 PM ET tonight – the universal draft signing deadline – to lock up any additional picks. While I expect that the Sox will manage to sign another couple players before tonight’s deadline, there is no guarantee that any more picks will sign tonight, especially considering that Boston signed six players on Friday, bringing the team's total number of signees since July 31 to nine. Moreover, Boston focused significant funds in the international market this season, including $8-million in bonuses on shortstops Jose Iglesias and Jose Vincio. However, even with the recent spending spree, Boston has only spent approximately $6.5-million on this year's draft class, after spending over $10-million on the draft in 2008. One other consideration is that MLB’s Basic Agreement (the CBA) expires after next season, and there have been rumblings that a mandatory draft slotting system could be discussed as part of the negotiations of a new agreement – so some big market teams may be pondering spending the cash on draftees this season and next while the getting is good.

Of the remaining unsigned draftees, the Sox will likely focus the most attention on Kendal Volz (9th round) and Luke Bard (16th round). Volz, a right-hander out of Baylor, was a highly-regarded prospect coming out of high school, but his performance over the past year has been far from stellar, thus the word on the street is that the two sides are far apart in terms of bonus expectations. Volz has another year of eligibility remaining, and may return to Baylor in an attempt to improve his draft stock for next season. If the Sox aren’t able to lock up Volz, look for them to make a hard push for Bard, the brother of Sox phenom Daniel Bard. Luke Bard comes out of Charlotte Christian High School in North Carolina, and is committed to Georgia Tech this fall. It has been reported that Bard is leaning towards college, but is open to signing with the Sox if the right deal is on the table. Ultimately, McLeod may be seek to use some of the $900,000 bonus that the team formerly committed to Dominican lefty Victor Payano, to lock up Volz and/or Bard. Payano, an international free agent, had previously agreed to terms with the Sox on a $900,000 deal last month, but the agreement fell through after Payano failed his physical in early August.

Two other draftees that are still believed to be in play are:
Jimmy Patterson (34th round) – Left-hander out of Central Arizona, committed to Arizona State. Patterson excelled this summer for the Mankato Moon Dogs, striking out 17 in 13.1 IP, posting a 0.68 ERA.
Zeke Devoss (38th round) – The Sox are making a big push for Devoss, a five-tool centerfielder out of Astronaut High School in Florida. Devoss played for the Florida Bombers this summer and is committed to the University of Miami.

Some other names that may still be on the radar, particularly if other deals fall through:
Randall Fant (21st round) – Left-hander out of Texas High School, committed to Arkansas
Dan Kemp (24th round) – Shortstop from Tantasqua Regional in Massachusetts, committed to Franklin Pierce
Reed Gragnani (27th round) – Shortstop from Godwin High School in Virginia, looking for a bonus over $600,000. Boston's most recent offer was in the $300,00 range. Committed to Virginia.
Cody Stubbs (29th round) – First baseman from Tuscola High School in North Carolina, committed to Tennessee.
James Dykstra (40th round) – Highly-regarded righty from Rancho Bernardo High School in California, committed to Yavapi Junior College. Fastball hits 96 mph, also has an excellent bat with high power potential. Would likely require a large bonus, but no offer had been forthcoming as of last week.
John Pivach (46th round) – There was an unconfirmed rumor this weekend that Pivach had signed with Boston, but that doesn’t appear to be the case. Pivach is a righty out of New Orleans with a decent fastball, but he has had an injury-plagued career. He also didn't impress during summer ball this year.

A long list of players have expressly indicated that they will not be signing. In most cases, that means just that – the player will not be signing. However, in some cases, it could be a negotiation ploy. Regardless, I don’t expect that the Sox will sign any players off this list, unless Boston has a change of heart and makes a last-minute, significantly increased offer:
● 6th round (198) - Branden Kline, RHP, Gov. Thomas Johnson HS (VA) (committed to Virginia)
● 17th round (528) - Kraig Sitton, LHP, Oregon State University (PG:230) (sophomore)
● 25th round (768) - Austin House, RHP, La Cueva HS (NM) (committed to New Mexico)
● 32nd round (978) - Michael Clark, LHP, American Heritage HS (FL) (committed to NC State)
● 33rd round (1008) - Blaze Tart, RHP, The Pendleton HS (NC) (committed to UNC-Wilmington)
● 35th round (1068) - Matt Milroy, RHP, Marmion Academy HS (IL) (committed to Illinois)
● 36th round (1098) - Michael Yastrzemski, RF, St. John's Prep (MA) (committed to Vanderbilt)
● 37th round (1128) - Matt Koch, RHP, Washington HS (IA) (committed to Louisville)
● 39th round (1188) - Gavin McCourt, OF, Harvard-Westlake HS (CA) (committed to Stanford)
● 42nd round (1278) - Gera Sanchez, RHP, New Mexico JC (no known 2010 commitment)
● 43rd round (1308) - Luke Maile, C, Covington Catholic HS (KY) (committed to Kentucky)
● 44th round (1338) - Derrick Thomas, RF, Roswell HS (GA) (committed to Memphis)
● 45th round (1368) - Kyle Arnsberg, C, Arlington Lamar HS (TX) (committed to Arizona State)
● 48th round (1458) - Brian Heere, RF, Kansas (sophomore)
● 49th round (1488) - Chris Constantino, 3B, Bishop Hendricken (RI) (committed to Walters State)

If the Sox were to make one of those last-minute, life-chagning bonus offers, the most likely recipients would be Kline, Tart, or Maile.