An additional rule for this year’s draft is also significant, that the maximum signing bonus that an undrafted player can be offered is $20,000. Last year, for example, the slotted signing-bonus value for the last pick of the 10th round was $142,200. The rules were put in place as a cost-saving measure for team owners, whose revenues have been slashed by the games postponed or, perhaps, canceled due to the coronavirus pandemic.
“Those guys know, if they (stay and) get their degree and walk out, they’re very aware of what the average starting salary is (for a Tech grad),” Hall said.
Moreover, Hall may also be the beneficiary of the draft’s impact on the Yellow Jackets’ high school signees. Catcher Kevin Parada, pitcher Marquis Grissom Jr. (Counterpane School in Fayetteville, son of the former Braves outfielder), outfielder Jake DeLeo and outfielder/pitcher Brad Grenkoski (Kell High) are all in Baseball America’s top 500, but this year’s circumstances could also play a factor.
The draft has shifted toward college players in recent years, Hall said, and that balance could adjust even more in this draft because scouts saw high school prospects play very little or not at all this spring. Scouts could at least watch college players for a month this spring, to say nothing of fall practice and their previous college seasons.
“I think if you’re going to spend good money on a prospect, you want to know that he is a definite prospect,” Hall said. “I think that will help the college player that got out of the gate good (this spring) and (scouts) got a chance to evaluate him.”
Hall also has four seniors who have the option to return next year because of the NCAA’s decision to grant all spring sports athletes an extra year of eligibility due to the cancellation of their seasons. Middle infielder Austin Wilhite appears to be the only one who might take advantage of it.
Pitcher Jonathan Hughes, who graduated this past semester, has indicated to Hall that he will sign a contract whether he is drafted or not, and Hall said he’s convinced that Hughes will get offered an undrafted free-agent deal at the least. Outfielder Paxton Rigby, another graduate, plans to attend grad school. Infielder Jackson Webb, also a graduate, plans to look for a job if he isn’t offered a chance to play professionally.
Wilhite has indicated to Hall that he would come back if he doesn’t get the opportunity to sign.
If, for instance, Archer, Guldberg, Colin Hall, Hurter and Wilhite all return, that’s a significant boost for a team that earned one of the top four seeds for the 2019 NCAA tournament regular season and had begun the 2020 season at 11-5. All have been productive in the lineup or on the mound.
“So we’re in pretty good shape,” Hall said. “We’re pretty well-equipped to handle it either way.”