For the first time since 2004, a first-round pick failed to sign. Aaron Crow, a right-handed pitcher from Missouri, could not reach an agreement with the Washington Nationals. The New York Yankees did not sign their first round pick, high school pitcher Gerrit Cole.
Crow initially asked for a bonus of at least $8 million before halving that request in the final hours before the signing deadline, according to Baseball America. The two sides were $700,000 apart at the deadline, according to Baseball America. Crow has agreed to pitch for the Fort Worth Cats of the independent American Association if he could not reach an agreement with the Nats. The Nats will receive next year’s #9 pick and are in line to receive the first overall selection in the 2009 draft if they maintain the worst record in baseball. Crow was #2 on our pre-draft rankings.
Cole meets nearly every criteria scouts look for in high school pitchers. Plus fastball? Cole’s reaches 98 mph. Nasty breaking ball? Cole has a dirty curveball that is already a plus pitch. Projectable body? Cole’s 6-foot-3 frame is ideal for a developing pitcher. Cole has had command issues and mechanical concerns. He fell to the end of the first round because of those concerns and because his agent — Scott Boras — has been known to extract top dollar for his clients. In the end, Cole walked away from the money to fulfill his commitment to UCLA. The Yankees will receive the 28th pick in the 2009 draft. We ranked Cole 56th in our pre-draft rankings.
The signing deadline did not apply to one first-rounder, Georgia relief pitcher Joshua Fields. Because Fields exhausted his college eligibility this spring, he has until the end of May to reach an agreement with the Seattle Mariners.