In last night's portion of the 2016 MLB Draft, three Florida State signees were selected within the first 30 picks. Although the athletes have signed scholarships with Florida State, they may still opt out and sign contracts with lucrative signing bonuses, forgoing their collegiate eligibility. Many players out of high school elect to sign if taken in the first since that round usually comes with the highest signing bonuses. Once selected in the MLB Draft out of high school, the player must commit three years at a four year university, such as Florida State, or they can go to Junior College and be eligible for the following year's draft if the player does not elect to sign with the team that drafted him.
The first FSU signee selected was infielder Josh Lowe from Marietta, Georgia who was taken 13th overall by the Tampa Bay Rays. In his senior year of high school, the third baseman hit .407 with 11 home runs and can pitch if needed, throwing 22 innings while striking out 33 to the tune of a 1.71 ERA. The recommended signing bonus for that slot is $3,090,900, however that doesn't necessarily mean that's how much Lowe will get from being selected so high. Still, he is expected to sign with the Rays for a seven figure signing bonus and start his minor league career.
Four picks later, pitcher and Florida State signee Forrest Whitley was selected 17th overall by the Houston Astros, the closest Major League team to his hometown of San Antonio, Texas. Although Whitley has not officially said, it is expected that he will sign with the Astros who were given a recommended signing bonus of $2,504,000 for that slot. At Alamo Heights High School, the righty was actually playing in a game when he was selected. Overall, during his senior year, Whitley threw 68 innings striking out 126 batters and had a microscopic ERA of .31. Baseball America had him projected to go much later, sliding to the Texas Rangers at No. 30, but was scooped up earlier than anticipated.
Instead, the Rangers took a different FSU signee with the No. 30 overall pick in southpaw pitcher Cole Ragans from Tallahassee. With a recommended slot bonus of $2,003,400, the North Florida Christian graduate wasted no time in announcing that he would sign with the Rangers instead of playing at nearby Florida State. At NFC, Ragans threw five shutouts this past season, including a no-hitter against local Chiles High.
One Florida State signee that did not have his name called was infielder Drew Mendoza from Minneola, Florida. Despite being a top prospect, the infielder had his mind set on attending FSU, and teams knew it would be hard to pry him away, opting not to use their top picks on the effort. Jim Callis of MLB Pipline commented on the matter, saying, "If he doesn't go in the first 40 picks, we know he was unsignable." Needless to say, he was not one of the first 40 selections, or one of the first 77 picks for that matter. During his senior season at Lake Minneola High School, Mendoza hit .416 with seven home runs and 31 RBI in 28 games. With a void to fill at third base for the graduating John Sansone, Mendoza could see his future at the hot corner in Tallahassee for years to come. Following the first day of the draft, Mendoza seemed to reaffirm his commitment to the Seminoles.