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To Sign, or Not to Sign ??? H.S. Draft vs. a College Scholarship

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For many of the upper-round draft choices that are just finishing high school at 17 or 18 years-old, deciding to sign with the club that drafted you isn't often a tough decision, due to the high dollar amounts that their signing bonuses command.

 

But what about the middle-round and lower-round choices ??? Is signing to play with a team that drafted you in the 15th, 30th, or 45th round necessarily worth passing up a college scholarship in which one (at the very least) gets a paid-for education ??? Plus, it is not uncommon for players whom were drafted in the middle and lower rounds in high school to increase their draft status/value greatly by playing (and excelling) for 3 or 4 years in Division-I baseball. At the top of a player's baseball-reference page, I will often read something along the lines of "Drafted by the Giants in the 38th round of the 2010 Draft out of Central High School , but did not sign ......... Drafted by the Indians in the 2nd Round of the 2013 Draft out of the University of Tennessee, and Signed."

 

The starting pitcher whom the Orioles face in tomorrow's game against the Blue Jays pondered just that decision back in 2012, when he was drafted by the Blue Jays in the 15th round out of high school. His name is Ryan Borucki, and he eventually settled on a $426,000 signing bonus shortly after the article was written, and passed up a full scholarship offer from the University of Iowa.

For Borucki, it has worked out well ........ not only did he get a very good signing bonus for a 15th-round pick ($426,000), but he also has made it to the Major Leagues 6 years later, and is currently in the starting rotation for the men from Canada. Plus, he has already locked up a pension for the years long after he retires from the game, as MLB only requires one to be on a Major League roster for 43 days to get one.

 

But what becomes of the other middle-round and lower-round draft choices who sign right out of high school (thereby immediately forfeiting their eligibility for a baseball-related college scholarship), who get only a few thousand dollars as a signing bonus, and who never make it to the Majors ???

 

I find the entire subject interesting. This article about the Orioles' opposing pitcher for tomorrow's game was written back in June of 2012, when he (Borucki) was weighing the pros and cons of either signing with the team that drafted him or taking a full scholarship to the University of Iowa.

 

 

Borucki Weighs 15th-Round Selection by Blue Jays

(By Patricia Babcock McGraw)

https://www.dailyherald.com/article/20120606/sports/706069646/

 

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I’ll play along. The player you are referencing here got a large enough bonus to put away a chunk for college if it didn’t work out. If the bonus were say $100k and I thought I could increase my value in college, I may still take the $100k. Let’s say $25k. I may still take it because I may get hurt and never get the chance to live out my dream. I am a gambler and hate school. Now that I am 37, I may say take the scholarship and have a back up plan. But I really don’t know, I dropped out of high school and managed to live a life that many would say is a successful one. I probably would have stream lined things if I did take the path of college instead. 

Wordy, but my final answer is bet on yourself now. Fastball to the cheek in college may change everything and you end up with just your crushed dreams and a fractured orbital. 

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4 hours ago, sevastras said:

I’ll play along. The player you are referencing here got a large enough bonus to put away a chunk for college if it didn’t work out. If the bonus were say $100k and I thought I could increase my value in college, I may still take the $100k. Let’s say $25k. I may still take it because I may get hurt and never get the chance to live out my dream. I am a gambler and hate school. Now that I am 37, I may say take the scholarship and have a back up plan. But I really don’t know, I dropped out of high school and managed to live a life that many would say is a successful one. I probably would have stream lined things if I did take the path of college instead. 

Wordy, but my final answer is bet on yourself now. Fastball to the cheek in college may change everything and you end up with just your crushed dreams and a fractured orbital. 

My understanding is that money for college can be included without using draft pool money.

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It’s really an individual decision, depending on draft position, size of bonus and how much a guy wants to attend college.    And there’s risk either way.   

Take Colin Poche, our 5th rounder in 2012.    I don’t know what signing bonus he was offered, but it was probably in the $300 k neighborhood.    That would have paid for four years of college if baseball hadn’t worked out.    Instead he went to college, had TJ surgery while he was there, ended up transferring schools, and was drafted in the 14th round in 2016 and got a $100 k bonus.    So, he probably cost himself $200 k+.   Plus, he’s now in AAA at age 24, and there’s a very good chance he’d be in the majors making $500k now if he’d started his pro career in 2012, even with a TJ surgery detour.   

But for every case like that, I can give you one that went the other way.

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1 hour ago, Frobby said:

It’s really an individual decision, depending on draft position, size of bonus and how much a guy wants to attend college.    And there’s risk either way.   

Take Colin Poche, our 5th rounder in 2012.    I don’t know what signing bonus he was offered, but it was probably in the $300 k neighborhood.    That would have paid for four years of college if baseball hadn’t worked out.    Instead he went to college, had TJ surgery while he was there, ended up transferring schools, and was drafted in the 14th round in 2016 and got a $100 k bonus.    So, he probably cost himself $200 k+.   Plus, he’s now in AAA at age 24, and there’s a very good chance he’d be in the majors making $500k now if he’d started his pro career in 2012, even with a TJ surgery detour.   

But for every case like that, I can give you one that went the other way.

To me, its much like the college basketball player, trying to decide to forsake 2-3 years of college and a degree, and enter into the NBA draft.

You can cite numerous cases on both sides of the equation where it worked and did not work.

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A little closer to home for us Oriole fans .........

 

Jason Esposito was drafted by the Royals in the 7th Round of the 2008 MLB draft, right out of high school. The amount that they offered him was $1.5 Million.

Esposito turned it down, and instead chose to accept a full scholarship to Vanderbilt University.

 

3 years later, Esposito was drafted in the 2nd Round, by the Baltimore Orioles ........ so if he was drafted in the 7th Round out of high school and offered $1.5 Million, he CERTAINLY would be getting a larger bonus if he moved all the way up to the 2nd Round 3 years later with 3 years of Division I-A College baseball under his belt, right ??? No. Now, the amount that he and the Orioles settled on was $600,000.

 

In spite of  getting a significantly smaller chunk of signing bonus, coupled with the fact that Esposito never made it to the Major Leagues, Esposito is very happy with the decision that he made ........ and he does not regret that decision for a minute.

 

 

Losing $1 Million, and Still Profiting

(By Jason Esposito)

https://medium.com/@jasonesposito/losing-1-million-dollars-and-still-profiting-3e885c7f68db

 

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On 8/29/2018 at 9:43 AM, Frobby said:

 

It’s really an individual decision, depending on draft position, size of bonus and how much a guy wants to attend college. And there’s risk either way.   

Take Colin Poche, our 5th rounder in 2012. I don’t know what signing bonus he was offered, but it was probably in the $300 k neighborhood. That would have paid for four years of college if baseball hadn’t worked out. Instead he went to college, had TJ surgery while he was there, ended up transferring schools, and was drafted in the 14th round in 2016 and got a $100 K bonus. So, he probably cost himself $200 K+. Plus, he’s now in AAA at age 24, and there’s a very good chance he’d be in the majors making $500k now if he’d started his pro career in 2012, even with a TJ surgery detour.   

But for every case like that, I can give you one that went the other way.

 

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I found this example to be modestly interesting .........

 

Tonight's starting pitcher against the Orioles (James Paxton) was drafted by the Blue Jays in the 1st Round after pitching for the University of Kentucky for 2 years. He was offered a $1 Million signing bonus ........ but he chose not to sign, and instead returned for his junior season at Kentucky.

One year later, he dropped a bit in the draft (the 4th round), but he didn't lose much money in the process ........ after much squabbling, the Mariners gave him a $942,000 signing bonus, which was almost as much as the $1 Million that the Blue Jays had offered him one year earlier.

 

 

Mariners Finally Sign 2010 4-Round Draft Pick James Paxton

(By Bob Condotta)

https://www.seattletimes.com/sports/mariners/mariners-finally-sign-2010-fourth-round-draft-pick-james-paxton/

 

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