While the Chicago Cubs have agreed to terms with No. 6 overall pick Albert Almora on a $3.9 million contract, two of this year’s biggest draft picks are far from signing, leaning more towards returning to school for a final season.
Albert Burford of the New Orleans Times-Picayune reports that No. 4 overall pick Kevin Gausman will return for his junior season at LSU rather than sign with the Orioles, while Jon Heyman of CBS Sports reports that No. 8 pick Mark Appel is leaning toward turning down a $3.8 million offer by the Pirates and returning to Stanford, suggesting he would like to stick around for a shot at the College World Series.
Although initial reports indicate that Gausman would return to LSU, he didn’t exactly totally commit, as he was quoted by the Times-Picayune saying, “we’ll see what happens.”
Meanwhile, Scott Boras’ client Appel, who reportedly turned down a $6 million offer by the Astros, is expected to reject the Pirates deal, which is the maximum the club can offer without being penalized by losing a draft pick.
The Pirates have until 5 p.m. Friday to sign the right-hander, but if he declines, will receive compensation pick in next year’s draft.
Four other first-round picks also remain unsigned: Andrew Heaney (9, MIA), Lucas Giolito (16, WAS), Richie Shaffer (25, TB) and Ty Hensley (30, NYY).