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June 27, 2012
With juniors Jayce Boyd and Robert Benincasa signing pro contracts on Monday, Florida State awaits the decision of fellow junior draftees Devon Travis and Justin Gonzalez.
Boyd signed with the Mets on Monday for $150,000, and Benincasa also agreed to an undisclosed amount with the Nationals. Travis was taken in the 13th round by the Detroit Tigers and Gonzalez was picked in the 27th round by the Los Angeles Dodgers.
FSU head coach Mike Martin is holding out hope that Travis and Gonzalez will decide to return for their senior seasons.
Once the team returned from Omaha and a 2-2 performance in the College World Series, Martin and the other coaches met with each player. Martin says the decision is up to the player and he does not try to "sell" the idea of coming back. Per MLB rules, players must decide if they will sign with a pro team by 5 p.m. ET on July 13.
"Totally up to them. I listen, I answer if I'm asked," Martin said. "These young men know the ins and outs, the ropes, they know how difficult it is to get to the Major Leagues. They know how fickle this game can be, but they're a group that has been led in the right direction by people that have come back for their senior year and made the most of it. I'm just excited that there is that possibility."
FSU pitching coach Mike Bell said that Travis and Gonzalez know what they have waiting for them in Tallahassee and the next few days will be more about what the professional organizations will offer them.
"It's more about what the professional teams come to the table with," Bell said. "Those guys are obviously going home for a couple days and those teams will reach out to them and set up meetings. Whether they do it in person or they do it over the phone I'm sure they have some of those talks going on right now as far as what they're looking for and if those teams can get their numbers basically."
FSU not only could lose four underclassmen to the 2012 MLB Draft, but it has already taken a hit to its 2012 signing class through the draft.
A trio of highly touted left-handed pitchers, Tyler Pike, Andre Martinez, and Max Foody, have signed professional contracts. Another FSU signee, catcher Tomas Nido also signed a pro contract. RHP Hayden Hurst elected to not sign a pro contract, but will go to junior college instead of FSU.
Bell said that he wasn't surprised at the many of the signees were drafted, but the fact that so many have signed he said is just a product of the new MLB draft rules that went into effect this year.
"I think what we're going to see when all the dust is settles here after the signing date and everything when it's all officially done, the new collective bargaining agreement, it's going to change a little bit of the college baseball landscape for not just us, but all Division I baseball," Bell said. "It didn't really matter what round you went in, it was more about the team that picked you and the pool of money that they had to work with. That being said it was more about what your signablitiy was ... I don't want to say they're signing everybody, but it seems like there's a higher percentage of guys are signing professional contracts."
Bell said he isn't worried about a lack of pitching depth due to the loss of players to the draft because of the number of experienced pitchers that will return to FSU next season. And with an earlier signing period for draft picks, he and the other coaches have time to add to the signing class before August.
"It's an ongoing process, it always shakes itself out, it will never be exactly what you expect it to be," Bell said. "I think a lot of people look at our signing class and go 'Well you've got three high school left-handers that signed three professional contracts, and one right-hander that's going to junior college, well we're not going to have any pitching'. Well they'd have to prove themselves this year and we have a lot more guys returning than what we've had in the past. It balances itself out in different ways."
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