As mentioned in today's Ten Pack, I did a quick poll of industry folks, from area scouts to assistant GMs of how the 2011 draft signing deadline would look when the clock struck midnight. More than half of the insiders polled believed that all 33 first-round picks would be signed by the deadline, and no respondents believed more than one first pick would end the day without a deal.
For those that predicted a 33-for-33 night, I asked what player would they predict not signing if forced to choose, and the most common name as No. 24 overall pick Taylor Guerreri (Rays), for reasons detailed in today's Ten Pack. Still Guerreri was not the only name mentioned, so here are the next three finishers, in order of votes:
Joe Ross, RHP, Padres (25th overall): Players the commit to UCLA are never easy signs, and many believe Ross could have gotten into the early teens if he was considered more signable. With the Padres focusing as much on later picks like catcher Brett Austin and Austin Hedges, there are questions about how much money and/or time will be left for Ross.
Robert Stephenson, RHP, Reds (27th overall): Stephenson is another version of Guerreri on a lesser scale, in that he expected to go higher, and more troubling to Cincinnati, will expect to be paid as much. He's a very good pitching prospect and an absolute first-round talent, but he's far from a classic over-slot player. Insiders are mixed on just how high the Reds with go.
George Springer, OF, Astros (13th overall): He received only one vote, and I'm as surprised as you to see him here. As a college player, Springer has limited leverage, but he's suddenly rumored to be asking for an elite-level package like the top three pick he had the potential to be heading into the year. He didn't earn that kind of money with just a solid but unspectacular junior year, and the Astros are betting he flinches before the bell tolls.