Six of the seven Georgia Tech players selected in the major league baseball draft have signed. Right fielder Daniel Palka (Arizona), catcher Zane Evans (Kansas City), pitcher Buck Farmer (Detroit), center fielder Kyle Wren (Braves), center fielder Brandon Thomas (New York Yankees) and third baseman Sam Dove (Philadelphia) have all signed deals with the teams that selected them, according to Baseball America. It does not come as a surprise - Farmer, Thomas and Dove were seniors and thus had no option to return. Palka, Evans and Wren all expected to leave after their junior seasons, and their draft positioning solidified the decisions.
Palka, the first Tech player chosen, was signed by Arizona for $550,000, about $50,000 below slot for his third-round spot. (Major League Baseball assigns a signing bonus value for each pick in the first 10 rounds, which creates a pool for each team. Any team that exceeds that pool is penalized with a fine and possibly draft picks.) He’ll start out with the Missoula (Mont.) Osprey in the Pioneer League.
Evans, a fourth-rounder, signed for $400,000, also about $50,000 below slot. He said he was told he would start in the Arizona League.
Farmer, a fifth-rounder, signed for $225,000, about $75,000 under slot. He will begin with the Connecticut Tigers in the New York-Penn League.
Wren, taken in the eighth round, signed for $150,500, which was the slot value to the dollar. He’ll start with the Danville (Va.) Braves in the Appalachian League.
Thomas, also an eighth-round pick, signed for $75,000, about half of the assigned slot value. (Thomas was not the only Yankees draftee to get low-balled. They signed a sixth-round pick, another college senior, for a $20,000 signing bonus, about 10 percent of slot value. According to the Connecticut Post, a Yankees scout called the player, John Murphy, and asked him if he would sign for that amount and, when he assented, made him their pick. The player the Yankees took before Murphy signed for $371,000, about $93,000 over slot.) Thomas will begin with the Staten Island Yankees, which is also in the New York-Penn League.
Dove, taken in the 14th round by the Phillies, signed for an unspecified bonus, and last week was at the team’s spring training headquarters in Clearwater, Fla., according to the Tennessean.
The lone player who hasn’t signed is pitcher Matt Grimes, who was drafted in the 31st round by the Phillies, as well. It’s an interesting case – Grimes last pitched at the beginning of the 2012 season before elbow problems shut him down for the rest of the season. In the fall, another elbow injury required Tommy John surgery and put him out for all of the 2013 season. Even still, the Phillies thought enough of Grimes – who was picked in the fourth round by the Chicago White Sox coming out of high school – to spend a pick on him in hopes of enticing him to leave Tech.