MILWAUKEE -- Brewers general manager Doug Melvin would like to get both of the team's first-round Draft picks signed and sent off to a Minor League affiliate, but he's not holding his breath. More and more, top Draft picks are waiting until the signing deadline -- midnight ET on Aug. 15 this year -- to settle on a bonus. Right-hander Taylor Jungmann, the 12th overall pick in the Draft who is advised by agent Alan Hendricks, is still active with the University of Texas in the NCAA Super Regional, and talks cannot begin until his collegiate season is over. Georgia Tech left-hander Jed Bradley, the 15th overall pick in the Draft, is advised by Greg Genske. Melvin and Brewers amateur scouting director Bruce Seid will at some point open negotiations with both players. Melvin will push the benefits of signing early in the summer, in time to join one of the team's Minor League affiliates.
"I try to tell guys that and they don't understand," said Melvin, who has spoken personally with both Jungmann and Bradley. "Look at all of our guys who signed quickly and were in the big leagues by 23 -- Ryan Braun, Yovani Gallardo, Prince Fielder, Rickie Weeks -- and now they're all making $30 million-$100 million on their contracts. "You can also look at players on other clubs -- [Tim] Lincecum, Ryan Zimmerman -- I think [Buster] Posey signed fairly early. They all played, and they're in the big leagues. They don't understand that players need to sign and get going."
That group of players represents a cross-section of high school and collegiate Draft picks. Weeks, for example, was the Brewers' first-round selection in 2003 out of Southern University."Jonathan Lucroy is another guy that's here," Melvin said, referring to Milwaukee's starting catcher, a third-round pick in 2007. "He was a quick sign and had [about] 250 at-bats his first year. If he doesn't have that, he's not here now." Why do so many first-round picks wait until the deadline to sign? Because the size of one player's signing bonus is tied to the pick before and after him in the Draft, and nobody wants to be the first to set the standard. Melvin wishes that more players would buck that trend. "The money is made up here" in the Major Leagues, he argued.