Two University of Washington baseball signees face a tough decision after being picked during the first day of the 2011 MLB Draft on Monday. Robert Stephenson, a pitcher and outfielder from California, and Blake Snell, a pitcher from Shoreline, were each taken over the course of the first round and compensatory round A on Monday, and must now decide whether to stick with their commitments to Washington or forgo college and enter the professional ranks.
It's a common decision for top-flight prospects out of high school. Signing bonuses stretch into six figure territory and beyond for first day picks, and if the players opts to head to a four-year school, they will not be eligible again until after their junior year. Because of the eligibility issues in play in the MLB Draft, the Huskies may lose one or both players, though nothing will be known until just before the signing deadline in August.
According to Washington Athletics, Stephenson was the Gatorade Player of the Year in California after compiling an 8-2 record with a 1.19 ERA and 142 strikeouts over 76.1 innings this past year. He also threw back-to-back no-hitters, striking out 32 in the process. The Cincinnati Reds picked Stephenson with the 27th pick in the 2011 MLB Draft.
Snell was just as good, finishing his senior year with a 9-0 record and 1.00 ERA while striking out 128 in 63 innings. The Tampa Bay Rays chose Snell with the 52nd pick in the draft.
Both players have a decision to make, but it's a nice position to be in. With a hefty bonus likely on the table, the lure of money and Major League Baseball may be too much for Snell and Stephenson. We'll keep an eye on what happens and whether the two end up at Washington or in the major leagues.
We'll be tracking the day's events and will have more on the Mariners' picks in our 2011 MLB Draft . StoryStream. For a local look at what the Mariners are planning, head over to SB Nation's Lookout Landing.