Tick, tock: 13 first-round picks remain unsigned

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With the midnight deadline to sign draft picks looming the focus has obviously been on No. 1 overall pick and “greatest college pitcher since [fill in the blank]” Stephen Strasburg, but there also are a ton of other first rounders still unsigned. Here’s the complete list, as of noon today:

1.   Stephen Strasburg   RHP    Nationals
2.   Dustin Ackley       OF     Mariners
3.   Donavan Tate        OF     Padres
6.   Zach Wheeler        RHP    Giants
9.   Jacob Turner        RHP    Tigers
11.  Tyler Matzek        LHP    Rockies
12.  Aaron Crow          RHP    Royals
13.  Grant Green         SS     A's
14.  Matt Purke          LHP    Rangers
15.  Alex White          RHP    Indians
19.  Shelby Miller       RHP    Cardinals
22.  Kyle Gibson         RHP    Twins
30.  Levon Washington    OF     Rays

Everyone expected Strasburg and agent Scott Boras to drag things out until the last second, but with about 12 hours remaining until the deadline each of the top three picks and 13 of the first 30 picks are still unsigned. There are also plenty of prominent non-first rounders still negotiating, including Tanner Scheppers, who dropped to the Rangers at No. 44 after not signing last year.
There are last-minute signings every year, but it seems like there’s more uncertainty than ever on this deadline day, perhaps because teams are able to take a hard-line (or harder-line, at least) stance while knowing that not signing a first rounder will result in receiving a compensatory pick one slot down next June. In other words, the worst-case scenario no longer involves being left empty handed.
For the latest updates on all the signings, check out Rotoworld’s player news page and Baseball America‘s draft blog.

Chris Sale will start on Opening Day for Red Sox

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No surprise here: Chris Sale will start on Opening Day for the Red Sox, Pete Abraham of The Boston Globe reports. The Red Sox open the season on March 29 in Tampa Bay against the Rays. Sale will oppose Chris Archer.

Sale, 28, is the fifth different Opening Day starter the Red Sox have had in as many years, preceded by Rick Porcello, David Price, Clay Buchholz, and Jon Lester. Sale started on Opening Day for the White Sox in 2013, ’14, and ’16.

Sale finished second in AL Cy Young Award balloting last year and finished ninth for AL MVP. He went 17-8 with a 2.90 ERA and a 308/43 K/BB ratio in 214 1/3 innings. Sale and Clayton Kershaw (2015) are the only pitchers to strike out 300 or more batters in a season dating back to 2003.