The deadline to sign players picked in the 2011 MLB draft is upcoming on August 15th at midnight EST, but I thought I would run out a couple quick updates beforehand to hit on some noteworthy tidbits regarding the top Mountain West players picked. So far we've seen a few MWC players that have signed, but the majority of signings typically take place close to or right at the deadline. I am going to split this pre-signing deadline post into two parts, and will provide another update once the dealine has passed. That way I can keep them nice and short. In this update I'll take a look at C.J. Cron (Utah), Kyle Crick (TCU Commit), Matt Purke (TCU), and Kyle Winkler (TCU).
C.J. Cron - Utah - 1st Round (12th Overall) by the Los Angeles Angels
Cron signed a $1.467M deal with the Angels on June 28th, which is fairly early compared to most 1st round picks (only 9 of the 33 1st round picks have signed so far). Most 1st rounders will take the time allotted to negotiate better deals, Cron however signed early for slot money likely to get himself into some games before the short season leagues ended. Typically if a player signs right at the deadline they either make their debuts in winter ball or the Arizona fall league, but if a player signs early, such as Cron, they can get into some of their team's minor league games right away. Cron is currently playing for the rookie league Orem Owlz (rookie league is a step below single A), and his slash line so far is .298/.358/.615 (AVG/OBP/SLG) while showing tremendous power by hitting 11 HRs in only a short time in the league (via). A very nice start to his pro career.
Additional note: C.J.'s brother Kevin was a 3rd round pick by the Seattle Mariners and is a TCU commit. So far the younger Cron has not signed.
Kyle Crick - Sherman HS (TX) TCU Commit - Supplemental 1st Round (92nd Overall) by the San Francisco Giants
Kyle Crick signed on July 19th forgoing his TCU commitment to instead go pro. There's a good chance Crick was TCU's top pitching recruit, so this was significant for TCU's incoming class. Drafting high schoolers is a risk given their college commitments, so it was good for the Giants to get him signed and bring in a pitcher with some good upside after a very conservative 1st round selection.
Crick features a good fastball/slider combo while mixing in a spit-finger fastball and a change-up. He's 6'3'' 225, and has a stong build which is typically good for durability (via). High schoolers tend to take a longer time to reach the big leagues, but I could see Crick moving quickly. He will be an interesting name to watch.
Matt Purke - TCU - 3rd Round (96th Overall) by the Washington Nationals
Kyle Winkler - TCU - 10th Round (304th Overall) by the Arizona Diamondbacks
Neither Purke nor Winkler have signed as of yet, and I could easily see both returning to TCU next season. I'd say Purke has a better chance to sign despite being a draft-eligible sophomore, as Winkler's stock dropped significantly after an injury during the NCAA tournament. Winkler raised his stock last year filling in as the ace for TCU after Purke struggled with injuries during the season. There was talk of him as a late 1st round selection, so falling all the way to the 10th makes it quite possible he'll return for his senior year and try to improve his stock for next year's draft.
As for Purke, I could see Washington making a run at him if they are unable to sign 1st round picks Anthony Rendon and Alex Meyer, but they will likely prioritize both of those players over Purke. If those two sign, its doubtful Washington would have the money to buy Purke away from his junior season. They have, however, been aggressive and put a lot of money into their recent drafts (see: SDSU grad Steven Strasburg, Bryce Harper), so there is a non-zero chance they sign all three, but I would be surprised.