Signing deadline highlights
I don't know whether anything is really surprising at MLB's signing deadline anymore, given the strategies by so many clubs to ramp up spending on amateur talent (which remains a tremendous value for MLB clubs). If anything, it's surprising that any player turns down the potentially life-changing money offered by big league clubs every summer. Because of that, I wrote before the signing deadline that if you predicted that each first-round pick would end up signing, you'd be correct on at least 93 percent of them, meaning that I thought at least 31 of the 33 would sign. As it turns out, all but one did, and the one who didn't, Toronto selection Tyler Beede, garnered as much attention as any other unsigned first-round pick leading into the deadline.
It seems that Beede believed that other clubs would have offered him $3 million had Toronto not taken him, which may or may not be the case. That said, even though Vanderbilt is one of the top programs in college baseball and has a great track record of developing pitching, I don't think Beede is likely to get much more than that in three years. He's polished for his age but doesn't have the huge projection that might push his fastball to the mid-90s and slide him up to the top 2-3 spots in the draft, which is where he'd have to go to justify the decision on financial grounds.
As for Toronto, it switched to its backup plans (as predicted) in right-hander Kevin Comer and left-hander Daniel Norris, landing two other top-50 talents while still getting an extra (but unprotected) pick back in next year's draft. Toronto also landed Texas prep third baseman Matt Dean, who looked like a probable first-rounder coming out of his junior year but struggled in the 12 months leading up to the draft; for a 15th-round pick and a six-figure bonus, that's a strong gamble. The Blue Jays spent money throughout the summer to bring upside into the system, boosting what was already among the majors' top three farm systems.
Some other teams with notable deadline days:
To read more about Keith Law's reaction to the signing deadline, become an ESPN Insider. Sign up now!