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The Curious Case of the Unsigned First Round Draft Pick

MONDAY NIGHT, the only first round draft pick not to sign was Tyler Beede. Beede is a RHP from Lawrence Academy (HS) in Groton, MA. who decided to attend Vanderbilt and try his luck in three years. Yesterday Aaron Fitt from Basbeball America tweeted the following:

Just got off the phone with freshman to be Tyler Beede, who said the final offer he turned down from  was $2.4 million.

and this:

Beede said his number was $3.5 million. "Life is not without risk, and I plan on working hard for three years." Good head on his shoulders.

Those tweets caused my head to explode, and brought a certain someone to my mind.

Remember this guy?

Week11_jeremysowers_medium

via www.rightfieldfog.com

    It also made me wonder, "What's been the eventual outcome of guys that don't sign when drafted?". In a stunning development I decided to take it upon myself instead of asking someone else to find out for me. Results after the jump.

   Over the last twenty years a total of 21 first round selections did not sign with the team that drafted them.

  In 1996 four of them (Travis Lee, John Patterson, Matt White, and Bobby Seay) exploited a loophole and became free agents ten days after being drafted thanks to their conniving agent. If you don't know who I'm talking about here, I give you a hint: His name rhymes with Hot Chorus.

   Since those guys never really stood a chance of signing I've thrown them out and moved on with the other 17. Here's what I found, and my take on it.

 

1993 - Jason Varitek - C - Georgia Tech - #21/MIN (Drafted 1994 #14/SEA) - Ended up better than okay, having  carved out a solid ML career, catching four no hitters and winning two rings. 

1995 - Chad Hutchinson - RHP - HS - #26/ATL (Drafted 1998 #48/STL) - Made the Cardinal's roster out of camp in  2001, put up a 24.75 ERA in three games, then ended up being a mediocre QB for the Cowboys and the Bears before "retiring" in 2004.

1997 - J.D. Drew - OF - Florida St. - #2/PHI (Drafted 1998 #5/STL) - Ah, the infamous J.D. Drew. He ended up getting his money and has had a nice long career (even winning a WS), so I'd say it all worked out in the end.

1997 - Tyrell Godwin - OF - HS - #24/NYY (Drafted 2000 #35/TEX, 2001 #91/TOR) - Interesting story here. Goodwin played both football (given up after two years) and baseball at North Carolina while attending school there on the prestigious Morehead-Cain Scholarship. I would imagine that this fact heavily influenced his decision not       to sign with the Yankees but considering he played a total of three games in the major leagues, that first                         round money's probably looking really good right now.

2000 - Matt Harrington - RHP - HS - #7/COL (Drafted 2001 #58/SDP, 2002 #374/TB, 2003 #711/CIN, 2004  #1089/NYY) - Drafted five times, never signed. This is pretty much the worst case scenario.

2001 - Jeremy Sowers - LHP - HS - #20/CIN (Drafted 2004 #6/CLE) - Here's our boy! After spurning the Reds and being drafted by the Indians, Sowers got his money but has not seen much major league success. Currently on the shelf after having rotator cuff surgery.

2001 - Alan Horne - RHP - HS - #27/CLE (Drafted 2004 #893/LAA, 2005 #349/NYY) - Spent three years in the Yankees' minor leagues, hasn't been heard from since 2009.

2002 - John Mayberry Jr. - OF - HS - #28/SEA (Drafted 2005 #19/TEX) - Going to Stanford for three years helped Mayberry move up nine spots in the draft, currently with the Phillies. Looks like it turned out okay for him.

2004 - Wade Townsend - RHP - Rice - #8/BAL (Drafted 2005 #8/TB) - Ended up getting his money, flamed out after five seasons over six years in the minors.

2008 - Aaron Crow - RHP - Missouri - #9/WAS (Drafted 2009 #12/KCR) - Instead of signing with the Nationals, Crowe opted to go the independent league route and was drafted by the Royals the following year, albeit three spots lower. The Royals converted him from a starter to a reliever and he's responded by going 3-3 this year with a 2.38 ERA and making the All Star Game. I'd say that worked out for him.

2008 - Gerrit Cole - RHP - HS - #28/NYY (Went to UCLA, Drafted 2011 #1/PIT) - Another success story, Cole just got an $8 million (!!!) signing bonus from the Pirates. Wow.

2009 - Matt Purke - LHP - HS - #14/TEX (Went to TCU, Drafted 2011 #96/WAS) - Purke turned down $4 million from the Rangers because MLB shut down their agreed-upon $6 million deal. This year Scott Boras somehow persuaded the Nationals to give Purke a ML contract worth around $4 million even though he had back problems and "shoulder soreness" and even visited Dr. James Andrews during this season. I'll go ahead and bet that this is a bad investment for the Nationals, but good on Purke for managing to get about the same amount he turned down two years ago.

2009 - LeVon Washington - 2B - HS - #30/TB (Went to Chipola JC, Drafted 2010 #55/CLE) - LeVon and his father accused the Rays of not dealing in good faith but I bet that #1 pick money looks pretty good now that he's hitting .231 at low-A Lake County and has been moved to the OF.

2010 - Barret Loux - RHP - Texas A&M #6/ARI (Failed physical, not offered contract, signed with TEX after being declared FA) - Loux failed his post-draft physical due to shoulder problems so his not signing wasn't a result of his stubbornness, just bad luck.

2010 - Karsten Whitson - RHP - HS - #9/SDP (Attending Florida) - Too early to tell obviously, but he WAS name a Freshman All-American.

2010 - Dylan Covey - RHP - HS - #14/MIL (Diagnosed with Type 1 diabetes, not offered contract, attending University of San Diego and playing baseball) - Covey had a similar fate as Loux, with Type 1 diabetes showing up during his post-draft physical.

2011 - Tyler Beede - RHP - HS - (Attending Vanderbilt) - I still can't believe he turned down $2.4 million at the age of 18. I guess we'll know soon enough whether or not it was a wise decision.

At the end of the day, there have been 17 guys who didn't sign as first rounder over the last 20 years. The breakdown:

8 - Drafted in a lower position later

4 - Drafted in a higher position

1 - Drafted in the same position

1 - Became a ree agent due to a failed physical

3 - Still in school

 

What would you have done if you were Beede? I can't imagine any scenario where I DON'T sign my name for $2.4 million.

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