The biggest news of the signing day was Vanderbilt’s Tyler Beede turning down an offer from the Toronto Blue Jays for over two million dollars to attend Nashville. Some people consider the move by Beede to attend Vanderbilt as the biggest recruit heading to campus.
I have been a member of the group that says if a team offers you “life-changing” money that you have to accept it as many things that could potentially happen to you in college. The biggest risk is injury especially to a pitcher. Lets take Matt Purke who was offered over six million dollars from the Texas Rangers and with MLB running the franchise the deal never got done. Two years later, Purke was selected by the Washington Nationals with the 93rd overall pick. He ended up signing with the Nats for about four million over four years.
So Purke decided to go to college, got injured during his sophomore season, and ended up getting two million dollars less then he would have gotten out of high school.
Another interesting case is Gerrit Cole who was the 28th overall selection in the 2008 MLB Draft by the New York Yankees. He ended up refusing to negotiate with the Yankees set on attending UCLA. Cole had an excellent career with the Bruins which led to him being the 1st overall pick in the 2011 MLB Draft. He signed for an eight million dollar signing bonus with the Pirates. Was it really worth spending two years in college for an extra four million?
A player that I look at who actually has hurt himself by going to college is Miami (FL) lefthander Eric Erickson who was a 43rd round selection in the 2006 MLB Draft by the New York Yankees. He decided to head to college where he had a great freshman season in 2007 going 10-4 with a 2.50 ERA and 63 strikeouts in 90 innings. His sophomore season in 2008 saw him drop off somewhat to a 9-1 record and a 4.15 ERA. He ended up suffering an injury in fall practice in 2008 making him miss the 2009 season with “Tommy-John” surgery. He returned in 2010 to the diamond 4-1 record and a 2.52 ERA in ten starts missing his last few of the years as his arm flared up. He ended up having another “Tommy-John” surgery after the season. He did not attend Miami in 2011 and will be back in the mix in 2012 for his sixth year of eligibility.
These were just a few examples of players which have improved or lowered their stock in college. So did Beede make a good decision going to Vanderbilt? or will he regret it? Only time will tell…What do you think he should have done?