Several unsigned players still on table

Kendall Rogers
Yahoo! Sports

It's sweat week for many college coaches around the country.

With the Aug. 17 deadline to sign a professional contract less than a week away, some teams will receive boosts with the return of highly drafted players. Other teams will spend the fall trying to find able replacements.

San Diego State pitcher Stephen Strasburg was the first pick of the MLB draft and has yet to sign. However, all indications point to the stud right-hander either signing a pro contract or perhaps pulling an Aaron Crow and heading to the Independent League to prepare for another draft next summer.

Nine first-round picks, including Strasburg, have yet to sign, and Missouri's Kyle Gibson is the most likely candidate to return to college for another season. Gibson suffered a stress fracture at the end of the college season and could return for another campaign as a result of the Minnesota Twins being skeptical about his arm.

With the deadline approaching, it's time to predict who will sign or not sign a pro contract by the end of Aug. 17.

Our predictions cover players selected through the fifth round.

P Stephen Strasburg

College: San Diego State

Team, Round: Washington, First

Prediction: Strasburg reportedly is asking for one of the largest signing bonuses in professional history, but if he signs, there's a good chance he'll agree to much less than his original demands. If Strasburg doesn't sign with the Nationals, there's a good chance he plays in an Independent League as with Missouri's Aaron Crow last season. For now, I'll say Strasburg signs by the deadline.

1B Dustin Ackley

College: North Carolina

Team, Round: Seattle, First

Prediction: Ackley is rumored to be asking for a signing bonus near $10 million, but all indications point to the versatile position player signing with the Mariners. Ackley let his summer intentions be known at the College World Series in June. Ackley often referred to how much he will enjoy playing in the Mariners system at some point this summer. That type of speech implies he has been ready to sign for a while.

P Mike Leake

College: Arizona State

Team, Round: Cincinnati, First

Prediction: Sources close to Leake say the right-handed pitcher wants to sign, but he has yet to sign the dotted line. Leake had an amazing 2009 campaign with the Sun Devils and has very little reason to return for his senior season. Look for Leake and the Reds to get a deal done before the deadline strikes next week.

SS Grant Green

College: Southern California

Team, Round: Oakland, First

Prediction: As with most Scott Boras clients, Green has waited a couple of months to sign a professional contract with the Athletics. But Green toured the A's ballpark late last week, and Oakland officials are confident he will be signed by the deadline. It would be a huge surprise if Green decides to return to USC for another season.

P Alex White

College: North Carolina

Team, Round: Cleveland, First

Prediction: As with teammate Dustin Ackley, White appears to be set on signing with the Indians. Therefore, it's only a matter of time before he signs the dotted line. With Vanderbilt left-handed pitcher Mike Minor signing with the Braves last week, look for White and other first-round pitchers to hop on board. The market value has been set.

P Chad Jenkins

College: Kennesaw State

Team, Round: Toronto, First

Prediction: Jenkins was one of two Kennesaw State players drafted in the first round. As with other first-round picks, Jenkins definitely is expected to sign with the Blue Jays before the signing deadline. It is interesting that he has waited this long, but sources are saying a deal will get done.

P Kyle Gibson

College: Missouri

Team, Round: Minnesota, First

Prediction: Gibson could be a prospect to watch right up to the deadline. The talented right-hander suffered a stress fracture in his throwing arm before the draft, and that created a cause for concern for the Twins. Gibson may need to throw for the Twins before they feel comfortable with signing him for a high amount. There's a decent chance he returns to Missouri for another year, but I believe he will sign.

P James Paxton

College: Kentucky

Team, Round: Toronto, First supplemental

Prediction: What a year it has been for Paxton. The talented left-hander put together an outstanding strikeout-to-walk ratio this past spring, and pro organizations took notice. Paxton is a Canadian and was drafted by Toronto, so many observers thought he would sign much earlier than now. With less than a week until the deadline, insiders still believe Paxton will sign the dotted line.

OF Kentrail Davis

College: Tennessee

Team, Round: Milwaukee, First supplemental

Prediction: What a strange situation between Davis and the Brewers. Several reports a few weeks ago indicated the Brewers equaled Davis' monetary demands. But with the deadline less than a week away, the Tennessee sophomore has yet to sign. Davis is a client of Scott Boras, and Boras obviously is playing some hard ball. With a wealth of leverage again as a junior next season, it looks like Davis may return to school.

P Brad Boxberger

College: Southern California

Team, Round: Cincinnati, First supplemental

Prediction: The Trojans had a tough 2009 campaign, but the same can't be said for the junior right-handed pitcher. Boxberger had a spring to remember and certainly dazzled professional scouts. The Reds drafted Boxberger and everything points to the righty signing the dotted line by the deadline. Boxberger has nothing to gain by returning to USC for his senior season.

P Andy Oliver

College: Oklahoma State

Team, Round: Detroit, Second

Prediction: Oliver is advised by Scott Boras and has yet to sign with less than a week until the deadline. Most observers believe the talented left-hander will sign with the Tigers when it's said and done. There's a good chance Oliver would be a first-rounder if he returns to OSU for his senior season. However, there's also a good chance Boras gets him a deal with Detroit well over slot. Expect Oliver to sign with the Tigers.

P Bryan Morgado

College: Tennessee

Team, Round: Chicago White Sox, Third

Prediction: Morgado was a draft-eligible sophomore this past season and could greatly increase his stock by the time the next draft approaches. For that reason and more, it appears Morgado is preparing to return to Tennessee for his junior campaign. The left-handed pitcher had a 3.06 ERA in 32 1/3 innings at the Cape Cod League this summer. It would come as a surprise if Morgado decides to sign at this juncture.

P Josh Spence

College: Arizona State

Team, Round: Los Angeles Angels, Third

Prediction: Sources close to the situation indicate Spence would've liked to sign earlier this summer, but the Angels apparently handed him a lower than expected signing bonus. If the Angels come in hard with a strong financial offer before the deadline, there's a good chance Spence still decides to sign. However, the left-hander would have no qualms about returning to ASU for his senior season. This will be an interesting situation to follow as the deadline approaches.

P Chris Dwyer

College: Clemson

Team, Round: Kansas City, Fourth

Prediction: Dwyer is one of the most intriguing prospects selected in the draft. The left-hander just finished his freshman campaign with the Tigers this past spring but is 21. Hence, he was eligible to be drafted. Sources have said that Dwyer and the Royals were close to signing the dotted line earlier this summer. However, his status the past few weeks has been under the radar. This one may come down to the wire.

P Tyler Blandford

College: Oklahoma State

Team, Round: Seattle, Fifth

Prediction: Sources close to the situation are saying there's a good chance Blandford decides to return to Stillwater, Okla., for his senior season. Blandford finished the spring with a good earned-run average and was drafted relatively high. However, he could increase his stock with a strong final campaign for the Cowboys. Blandford would be taking a risk by returning to OSU, but many are saying it's a risk he may take.

1B Brandon Belt

College: Texas

Team, Round: San Francisco, Fifth

Prediction: It was a surprise when Belt was drafted in the fifth round. But it's an even bigger surprise that Belt has waited this long to sign with the Giants. Several UT sources have told me in the past month that Belt definitely will sign. But as the deadline approaches, you kind of wonder if he will break down and sign the dotted line. For now, it still looks like Belt will sign. We'll see if he decides to return to UT for another year.

P Caleb Cotham

College: Vanderbilt

Team, Round: New York Yankees, Fifth

Prediction: Another draft-eligible sophomore, Cotham saw his stock rise this past spring. There's a chance Cotham decides to return to the Music City for his junior campaign, but sources at Vanderbilt are indicating Cotham likely will sign the dotted line by the deadline. Cotham could increase his stock by returning to Vandy for another year, but it doesn't take much to know New York is dealing with a wealth of money.

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