First round pick J.B. Bukauskas has yet to sign, but Jim Callis says not to worry Astros fans.
The Houston Astros won again versus the Atlanta Braves last night 10-4. That is 58 wins in the first 85 games. Even though they should have a few more players, there will be five Astros at the All-Star game next week. With the trade deadline less than a month away, this team could get better by landing a top starter.
Everything seems to be going right until you see that the 2017 first round pick J.B. Bukauskas has not signed. Unfortunately, we know all too well that the Astros failed to sign 2014 first round pick Brady Aiken. That decision was centered around medical reports that concerned the Stros front office. Time will tell if it was the right call or not.
The bright point was Houston got Alex Bregman with the second overall pick the next year. The Astros received that pick because they didn’t sign Aiken. Bregman could be a big piece to this puzzle that is destroying pitching staffs everywhere. That will not be the case this year, so the Astros need to get down to business. Brian McTaggart says that negotiations are ongoing.
What’s the deal?
Bukauskas was drafted with the 15th overall pick in the 2017 draft. He was projected to go higher in the draft, but he dropped due to late season struggles. The Astros are excited because they got top ten value with the 15th pick. However, Bukauskas could be looking for a high signing bonus. After a bad end of the season, could Bukauskas gamble Mark Appel-style that he can improve his stock in his senior year?
He was a first-round pick this year, so I don’t see him taking that gamble. So why hasn’t he signed on the dotted line with the Astros? Some people believed that the Astros were waiting to sign their 10th round pick. Kyle Serrano is considering returning to the University of Tennessee. The phrase, “Good shot,” was used to describe him returning.
According to an interview, Serrano could be waiting out for a $300k signing bonus. That is $166,500 more than his slot value of $133,500. The Astros could be waiting out that situation before addressing the Bukauskas situation. The Stros have about $3,804,900 left to sign Serrano and Bukauskas. Should they go over the amount, the will have to pay an overage tax and/or lose future picks.
Jim Callis assured me last night when I asked if the Astros would get a pick in next years draft if we don’t sign Bukauskas. Callis said, “Yes, but they will sign him.” This echoed what he wrote earlier. Jonathan Mayo wrote earlier that Bukauskas could join the Astros in the bullpen as early as this year.
"“If Houston wanted to shorten him up for his first summer, his fastball-slider (especially that slider) combination could help its big league bullpen before the season is over.” – Mayo."
Mayo said the Stros probably wouldn’t do it, but he could be a quick riser. If the Astros were hoping to use him this year, then they would want to get him into the fold quickly. No matter what, I wouldn’t worry too much Houston fans about Bukauskas not being signed yet. Maybe at 3:55 pm on Friday would be the time to panic, but be patient.
***Signing bonus information from MLB.com Draft Tracker***