Three 2018 first-rounders go unsigned
Today's deadline for signing 2018 Draft picks was more notable for who didn't come to terms than who did.
Carter Stewart (Braves, No. 8 overall), Matt McLain (D-backs, No. 25) and J.T. Ginn (Dodgers, No. 30) failed to sign contracts before 5 p.m. ET, marking the first time since 2010 that three first-rounders went unsigned in a single Draft. In the previous six Drafts of the bonus-pool era, all but four first-rounders turned pro.
Supplemental first-rounder Gunnar Hoglund (Pirates, No. 36) also didn't come to terms, making this the first Draft since 1989 where four of the top 36 selections didn't sign.
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All four teams will receive compensation choices in the 2019 Draft, which will fall immediately after the pick they failed to land. Atlanta will get the No. 9 overall choice next June, while Arizona will add the 26th selection, Los Angeles the 31st and Pittsburgh the 37th.
With the Braves and Stewart and the Pirates and Hoglund, the two sides took differing views of post-Draft physicals. Sources said Atlanta never committed to offering Stewart more than 40 percent of his assigned pick value ($1,992,280), the bare minimum required to secure a compensation choice if he didn't sign.
McLain's asking price was $3 million, and he turned down an offer equal to his pick value of $2,636,400. After signing second-rounder Michael Grove for $1,229,500, the Dodgers couldn't give Ginn more than $2,390,570 without forfeiting a future first-round choice for exceeding their bonus pool by more than 5 percent. He declined their max offer, which was believed to be roughly $500,000 less than he was looking for.
Stewart and Ginn are committed to play at Mississippi State, while McLain is headed to UCLA and Hoglund is ticketed for Mississippi.
There were some notable signings on Friday. The Rays landed sign first-rounder Shane McClanahan (No. 31) for a slightly above-slot $2,230,100. Third-rounders Blaine Knight (Orioles, $1.1 million) and Cal Raleigh (Mariners, $854,000) received bonuses greater than their assigned pick values as well.
All told, 310 of the 314 players taken in the first 10 rounds signed pro contracts. The four unsigned choices are the third-lowest total ever, after two in 2016 and three in 2017.
The 30 teams combined to spend $294,648,102 on Draft bonuses, eclipsing the record of $287,700,870 set last year. The average bonus for the 32 first-rounders who signed was $3,754,124, second all-time to the $3,880,723 average in 2017.
The Tigers led all clubs by spending $14,784,100 on bonuses, the eighth-highest total in Draft history. They barely edged the Royals, who doled out $14,768,200.
The complete list of team-by-team Draft spending for 2018:
White Sox: $12,284,400
Blue Jays: $9,890,300
Red Sox: $7,252,900