The deadline for drafted players to sign with their professional teams is tonight at midnight, meaning college coaches from around the state will be holding their breath to learn the status of some of their would-be freshmen and returning players. I thought I’d give a quick refresher about where some of the unsigned players stand before the deadline:
- Pleasure Ridge Park alum and Arkansas third baseman Zack Cox is the lone first rounder among Bluegrass draftees, but all indications point to him signing before the deadline. Cox is a draft-eligible sophomore so he has enough leverage that he probably won’t sign until a few hours, if not minutes, before the deadline. Draft expert Jim Callis of Baseball America is on record as predicting Cox will sign with the Cardinals.
- Seattle Mariners fourth-round pick James Paxton, the former University of Kentucky left-handed pitcher, is unsigned but is not restricted by the midnight deadline as he pitched in an independent league in 2010. Don’t expect any movement on Paxton today, as his agent Scott Boras has plenty of other first-round draftees to negotiate for before the deadline.
- Danville native Blake Perry, a right-handed pitcher who played high school ball in Florida in 2010 and has signed to play collegiately at UK, is still in negotiations with the Arizona Diamondbacks as the team’s sixth round pick. Arizona has evidently cut off negotiations with its first-round pick, leaving Perry as the team’s highest drafted unsigned player. Negotiations are expected to last through the day, Steve Gilbert of MLB.com reports.
- University of Louisville signee Dace Kime, the Pittsburgh Pirates’ eighth-round pick, has said he will attend UofL, though Kendall Rogers of Yahoo! Sports and Rivals.com tweeted over the weekend Kime to UofL wasn’t a 100 percent lock.
- Keep in mind this stat from Callis and BA: Last season clubs signed 93 percent of all players drafted in the first 10 rounds. Callis also notes big signing bonuses after the 10th round are the exception rather than the rule.
- As for the rest of the unsigned players, it appears likely most if not all of the Kentuckians drafted after the 25th round will end up at their respective schools in the fall. However there might be a surprise or two among the group so keep checking the BluGrass Baseball twitter feed all day for updates.