Discussion

Must-sign draft picks for N.L. teams

Updated: July 29, 2011, 11:46 AM ET
By Jason A. Churchill

It's been seven weeks since the selections were made in the 2011 MLB first-year player draft and a few major talents have agreed to terms. Most of the key signings have yet to take place, however, and contrary to what most might expect, the most important signings for clubs aren't always the organization's highest selection.

There were two major signings this week, with the Arizona Diamondbacks inking No. 3 overall pick Trevor Bauer and the Oakland Athletics getting Sonny Gray's autograph on the dotted line. The right-handed Bauer received a big league contract worth a reported $7 million guaranteed. He'll begin his career next month at Class-A Visalia in the California League.

Gray, the No. 18 overall selection, will get a reported bonus of $1.54 million and report to Double-A Midland in the coming weeks.

Nine first-round picks have now signed, with Bauer being the highest. The UCLA product's deal may impact the deals of the top two picks -- Bauer's teammate Gerrit Cole, who went No. 1 to Pittsburgh, and Virginia southpaw Danny Hultzen, who went to Seattle -- and certainly not in a manner that is likely to excite the Pirates and Mariners.

Let's take a look at the remaining critical picks and potential signings for National League teams. To check in on the American League, click here.


Arizona Diamondbacks

After getting Bauer to sign, prep star Archie Bradley becomes the key negotiation and getting the right-hander to pass up on a full ride to Oklahoma could make the Diamondbacks' draft haul among the top classes in the league. Bradley is a potential No. 1 starter with fastball velocity into the mid-90s and a plus curveball. His presence in the club's farm system gives the organization a deep set of high-impact arms that already includes Jarrod Parker, Bauer, Tyler Skaggs and David Holmberg.

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