Tampa Bay Rays don't expect to sign their top two draft picks
Update: 2:56 p.m. Kenneth Diekroeger Sr. said his son told the Rays today he will be going to Stanford, and it's a final decision.
Diekroeger, the Rays second round pick, spent most of the summer debating it, and apparently it was more about going to college than not getting enough money from the Rays. He had made it widely-known when he was drafted that he still had a strong commitment to Stanford, and that hadn't wavered.
"It was a tough decision for him and he spent the better part of the summer debating it," Kenneth Sr told the Times. "But in the end, he decided he wanted to go to school and defer any potential professional career. The Rays handled everything with the utmost class and made it a very difficult decision because we won't know if he'll have a chance to be part of such a first class organization again and that's probably the hardest part about it."
The Rays just announced that they don't expect to sign their first and second round picks, LeVon Washington and SS Kenny Diekroeger, before tonight's midnight deadline.
Both will begin their college careers, with Washington at Florida, and Diekroeger at Stanford, and Tampa Bay will get compensatory picks for both in the 2010 draft.
“We are disappointed that LeVon has chosen not to sign with the Rays,” executive vice president Andrew Friedman said in a press release. “We offered him a bonus consistent with late first-round picks. Immediately following the draft, he seemed eager to sign but it has not materialized. We wish LeVon great success with his baseball career.”
Washington, 18, hit .400 (34-for-85) this Spring with seven home runs, 14 stolen bases, 19 RBI, four doubles, one triple, and 32 runs scored at Buchholz High School in Gainesville, Fla. Baseball America ranked him as the No. 2 “fastest runner” among high school players entering the draft. Baseball America also rated him the No. 29 prospect entering the draft, and the No. 9 center fielder.
Diekroeger, 18, attended Menlo High School in Atherton, Calif., where he hit .586 (34-for-58) with four home runs and 20 RBI during his senior year. He was the highest-drafted player ever out of Menlo High.
“When we drafted Kenny, we went in with our eyes wide open, knowing he had a strong desire to attend Stanford University,” Friedman said. “We knew that we would either be signing a top talent or receiving a comparable pick in the 2010 draft. We wish Kenny all the best at Stanford.”
The Rays have signed 32 of their 50 selections from Draft, including 15 of their first 20.
-- JOE SMITH