At 8:00 a.m. Central Sunday, the market for MLB teams to sign undrafted free agents will open. The most any undrafted player can sign for is $20,000. The White Sox have practiced their recruiting talking points as some targets will have multiple offers on hand. What has been tough to figure out since the end of the 2020 MLB Draft is which players are intent on returning to school.
That option became more viable after the NCAA announced eliminating the roster cap of 35 players, and increased players on the active roster to 32 from 27. The 25% scholarship minimum is still in play, but there have been discussions to eliminate it to help programs keep more players. College seniors will not count towards the scholarship minimum.
This is a roundabout way of saying that colleges have enough roster space to allow undrafted players back to school, which complicates things on that side of the $20,000 deal. It’s also unclear on Major League Baseball’s side, because the second and third days of the draft usually help teams fill roster gaps in the minor leagues, but how many roster spots will teams have after the agreement MLB and MiLB expires after September? Forty-two minor league teams are on the cutting board, and who knows if that number will increase after an agreement is settled. Maybe it would be more accurate to say “if an agreement” can be made between MLB and MiLB. With how things are going with the MLBPA, it is not safe to assume negotiations will be settled promptly.
Scouts will be making their offers, but with college seniors allowed to return, those players who might have been easy targets can play harder to get. Who could be targeted by MLB teams, including the White Sox, this upcoming week to forgo college and sign for up to $20,000? Using D1Baseball’s Analytics Dashboard, below are the best available options for pitchers and hitters.
|Van Belle, Brian||RH||Miami (FL)||4||4||26.1||0.68||38 K / 4 BB|
|Barkley, Aaron||RH||Mississippi Val.||7||6||35.1||3.57||47 K / 9 BB|
|Peters, Christian||RH||Portland||4||4||28.2||0.63||35 K / 3 BB|
|Powell, Walker||RH||Southern Miss.||4||4||29.0||1.24||22 K / 2 BB|
|Block, A.J.||LH||Washington St.||4||4||27.2||3.25||34 K / 5 BB|
|Dodd, Dylan||LH||Southeast Mo. St.||4||4||26.2||3.38||36 K / 7 BB|
|Young, Brandon||RH||Louisiana||4||3||24.2||1.10||37 K / 9 BB|
|Hall, Tanner||LH||Mercer||5||4||24.2||2.55||37 K/ 4 BB|
|Weaver, Tristan||LH||Indiana St.||4||4||24.1||1.85||34 K / 8 BB|
|Brahms, Parker||RH||Sacramento St.||4||4||23.2||1.14||32 K / 0 BB|
|Velez, Antonio||LH||Florida St.||6||1||17.1||0.52||21 K / 3 BB|
|Taggart, Luke||RH||Incarnate Word||4||4||26.1||3.08||28 K / 6 BB|
|Parker Bates||Louisiana Tech||CF||422/.531/.891||8||28||11 BB / 9 K|
|Justin Dirden||Southeast Mo. St.||RF||.414/.471/.900||9||26||8 BB / 11 K|
|Kyle Cuellar||UCLA||LF||.341/.451/.537||2||9||7 BB / 5 K|
|Dan Bolt||Bradley||LF||.357/.449/.881||7||15||4 BB / 13 K|
|Gene Wood||TCU||RF||.353/.514/.706||5||14||12 BB / 14 K|
|Ari Sechopoulos||Col. of Charleston||1B||.360/.475/.680||2||20||10 BB / 2 K|
|Zac Cook||UT Arlington||2B||.321/.500/.623||4||12||13 BB / 13 K|
|Brandon Henson||VCU||LF||.321/.446/.736||6||17||10 BB / 12 K|
|Elian Merejo||Georgia St.||LF||.407/.527/.763||5||13||15 BB / 14 K|
|Kyle Battle||Old Dominion||LF||.383/.500/.683||3||16||15 BB / 10 K|
|Jake Dunham||Northern Ill.||C||.305/.481/.610||4||15||18 BB / 8 K|
|Brett Auerbach||Alabama||C||.388/.506/.642||3||14||17 BB / 8 K|
|Dylan Harris||North Carolina||CF||.274/.404/.575||5||11||14 BB / 8 K|
|Ty Johnson||Tulane||RF||.362/.492/.681||1||6||7 BB / 3 K|
More draft coverage:
- First round: Garrett Crochet, LHP, Tennessee
- Second round: Jared Kelley, RHP, Refugio (Tex.) HS
- Rounds 3-5: Pitcher, pitcher, pitcher
I’d like to see the Sox sign Cullen Kafka out of Oregon. He might turn into something memorable.
The White Sox not signing any UDFA so far doesn’t bode well for certain long term trends
–lack of innovation in player acquisition
–poor player development track record (prospects are not necessarily going to think they’re the team to maximize their talent)
–cheap in certain ways (not so much the $20K bonuses, which are crumbs, but the apparently willingness to get rid of one or more minor league affiliates when they arguably did not have enough affiliates to begin with).
I see they signed their first undrafted free agent — Madrigal’s twin brother. So not sure if that is a favor or if he can play. Also not sure how much it matters that he is only one — Rays didn’t sign any either and I think they have proven they know what they are doing. Speaking of signings, when should we expect the top picks to sign?