Since last weekend’s MLB Draft, multiple Hoosiers have signed contracts officially making them professional baseball players.
Left-handed pitcher Caleb Baragar was the first Hoosier drafted in the ninth round, and he was also the first Hoosier to sign a deal.
The Giants signed Baragar for an undisclosed amount, but did give him a $20,000 signing bonus. The amount is well-below what others drafted in his position receive since Baragar is a senior, giving him no negotiating leverage.
The next Hoosier to sign will never technically be a Hoosier. Skylark Szynski, a high-school pitcher from Penn High School in Mishawaka, Indiana, signed with the Oakland Athletics after being drafted in the fourth round.
The contract also came with a $1 million signing bonus, nearly double what other players drafted in the same position as Szynski receive. Left-handed pitcher Kyle Hart has still yet to sign a contract, but as a senior there isn’t much drama awaiting Hart or IU.
Instead, the drama lies with the looming decisions of junior pitcher Jake Kelzer, junior outfielder Craig Dedelow and high school outfielder Jack Suwinski.
Kelzer, drafted in the 18th round by the Philadelphia Phillies, and Dedelow, drafted in the 34th round by the Pittsburgh Pirates, have the option of returning to IU for another season. But that extra season might be the reason why both decide to sign with their respective teams.
Since they can both threaten to leave, they might receive larger signing bonuses. If they return, they do have the possibility of improving their draft position, but they will lose all leverage when it comes time to negotiate next year.
Suwinksi is in a similar situation. As a high schooler, he might be lured by a sizable signing bonus like Szynski, or choose to improve his draft stock and ability in college.
If he does choose that route though, he will be forced to play at least three seasons of college baseball, since MLB prohibits any college player being drafted before his 21st birthday.
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