Pressure rises as signing deadline looms

Kendall Rogers
Yahoo! Sports

There's light at the end of the tunnel with the MLB draft deadline nearing.

Several elite prospects have signed in the past week, but there are many players still unsigned as the deadline at midnight ET Monday looms.

Seventeen first round picks are unsigned. All but Diamondbacks pick Barret Loux and Dodgers selection Zach Lee are expected to sign, while the Angels are nearing a deal with Florida State signee Kaleb Cowart. The situation with Lee could take an interesting turn should the Dodgers make a final push for the two-way star who is preparing for football season at LSU.

Yahoo! Sports has you covered like no other as time runs out to get draft picks under contract.

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• Florida State faces an interesting weekend. The Seminoles have lost veterans Tyler Holt and Geoff Parker. As we first reported, Holt signed for $500,000 with the Indians as a 10th-rounder. Parker was a ninth-round pick of the Rockies and signed. The 'Noles are likely to lose two more. First-rounder Kaleb Cowart was thought to be leaning toward going to college, but it appears Cowart and the Angels have moved closer to a deal in the last week and Cowart is expected to sign. Ben Gamel was a 10th-round selection of the Yankees and signed with the organization for $500,000, though the deal hasn't officially been announced.

• LSU will be on pins and needles Monday because of two-way star Zach Lee, a first-round pick of the Dodgers. Lee was considered a tough sign but the Dodgers took a chance. Lee has been practicing at quarterback with the football team and will play baseball for Paul Mainieri's club in the spring should he choose to stay in college. Lee told reporters this week he is willing to listen to an offer, and the Dodgers plan to offer a bonus over the recommended slot. Lee is leaning toward going to college but that could change if the Dodgers up the ante.

• North Carolina has a trio of draftees to watch: Stetson Allie, Sean Coyle and Ty Linton. Allie was a second-round selection of the Pirates and is expected to sign. The same is expected of Coyle, who was a third round pick of the Red Sox and will likely get the money he wants to sign. The Tar Heels' last hope is Arizona 14th-round pick Ty Linton. As the weekend begins, Linton is 50-50 on signing.

• UCLA has been hampered by the draft this summer and hopes to have luck on its side as the deadline nears. The Bruins received some bad but not surprising news Friday when pitcher Dan Klein signed with the Orioles for $499,900. The Bruins also have their eyes on high school signees Adam Plutko and Zach Weiss. Plutko was a sixth-round selection of the Astros and Weiss a 10th-round pick by Pittsburgh. There's a good chance both players go to college but it will be a long weekend in Westwood.

• Texas' success in 2011 could hinge on the decisions of pitchers Chance Ruffin, Brandon Workman and Cole Green. Ruffin, a first supplemental pick, and Green, a fourth-round pick, were both drafted by Detroit. The Tigers have been slow-playing the duo. Ruffin likely won't be deterred by that. Expect him to sign. However, Green is closer to 50-50 and could return to Austin. It would be a mild surprise if he returns, considering he likely won't improve his draft stock next season. Workman, meanwhile, was a second-round pick of the Red Sox and is expected to sign by the deadline. UT would be ecstatic should Ruffin and Green decide on college for another season.

• Virginia Tech has its eyes on veterans Austin Wates and Jesse Hahn. Wates was a third-round pick of the Astros and he reportedly has been to Houston for a physical. Wates is expected to sign assuming he passes the physical. Hahn, meanwhile, had surgery but is still expected to sign with Tampa Bay. Hahn was a sixth-round pick and has a wealth of potential.

• Cal State Fullerton's Gary Brown, a first-round pick of the Giants, has yet to sign, but it will be a major surprise if he doesn't have a deal done by Monday. The same can't be said for Michael Lorenzen, Joe Terry and Pete Tago. Lorenzen was a seventh-round pick of the Rays and is a safe bet to attend college. Terry is also a decent bet to attend college, but still is weighing his options. Tago was a first supplemental pick by the Rockies and there's a chance he attends college – but it's a very slim one.

• Georgia Tech is another team waiting on a pair of high school signees. Alex Lavisky and Matt Grimes are still being courted. Lavisky, an eighth-round selection of the Indians, is expected to sign for over slot, while Grimes, a fourth-round pick of the White Sox, is leaning toward going to college. His situation, though, still is volatile and could turn at any second.

• There has been plenty of drama with Texas A&M pitcher Barret Loux, the first-round pick of the Diamondbacks. Loux and the D'backs had a $2 million deal on the table back in June, before Loux had his physical exam. When some potential arm issues arose, the organization backed off the righty. Loux and the Diamondbacks haven't spoken since. The two sides aren't negotiating and it looks like the Diamondbacks are happy to take another first round pick in 2011. Something could change by the deadline, but don't count on it. If no agreement is reached, it'll be interesting to see if the MLB Player's Association gets involved.

• Georgia pitcher Justin Grimm didn't have a good 2010 campaign, but has a decision to make. Grimm, a fifth-round pick of the Rangers, is expected to sign by the deadline. Grimm has a wealth of potential despite finishing last season with an unimpressive 5.49 ERA in 77 innings.

• Missouri hopes pitcher Nick Tepesch decides to return for another season. Tepesch, who has loads of potential, could benefit by returning. For now, though, the talented pitcher has a tough decision to make. The 14th-round pick by the Rangers is said to be 50-50 between returning to college and signing. He's expected to be a deadline decision.

• Pepperdine pitcher Matt Bywater could lose some leverage by returning to college next season, but there are some that believe he could get more money with a strong final campaign for the Waves. Bywater, a seventh-round pick of the Orioles, hasn't made a decision and is thought to be 50-50 between going back to college or signing. The Waves could again use his services.

• Speaking of Pepperdine, signee Scott Frazier was a fifth-round pick of the Phillies and has a difficult decision to make. Frazier is asking for around a million to sign with the organization, so chances are good he goes to college unless he is bluffing. Then again, with the ridiculous over-slot signings so far in this draft, anything is possible.

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