The 2015 UCLA Baseball recruiting classes included four players who were drafted in the first five rounds of the June MLB draft. The four players included the #1 selection overall, Brady Aiken, and a 5th rounder, Jacob Nix, both of whom were drafted by the Astros.
When you are drafted #1 overall, it is hard to see how you can improve your lot by going to college. The only question is whether you will receive the "slot value" signing bonus as the #1 selection (almost $8 million in Aiken's case), whether you can negotiate more, or whether you will accept a haircut. Each team gets a total bonus pool to spread over their selections in the first 10 rounds. The more you need to give a draftee in any given round, the less you have for other draftees. And the less you have to give a draftee in any given round, the more you can give other selections.
The Houston Chronicle in the attached post tells us that negotiations with Aiken have hit a snag. The current offer on the table is apparently $5 million. The offer has dropped due to an elbow ligament issue.
If Aiken signs for almost $3 million less than the slot value, then there is plenty of money available for the Astros to also sign Nix for a bonus above what he would receive as "slot value" for a 5th round pick. But, if Aiken decides that he can do better by coming to UCLA, and re-entering the draft in three years, then Nix will probably come to UCLA also. He was considered a solid commit to UCLA, and it was only the prospect of higher than 5th round money ($1.5 million in Nix's case) that was turning the tide against the Bruins.
The signing deadline is this Friday. At the end of this week, the Bruins will be an early favorite for Omaha despite losing two top recruits to the Astros, or the Bruins will be an early favorite for Omaha with also a suddenly deep pipeline for 2015 and beyond.
Another big item to watch before the Friday deadline is how David Berg winds up in talks with the Rangers. The Rangers drafted Berg in the 17th round. He is still unsigned, and could look for a lights-out senior season to improve his draft position in next year's draft. Berg is already the most accomplished reliever in the NCAA record books. But he had some arm issues late in the 2014 season, which could have impacted his draft status. Having Berg on the 2015 Bruin squad would be icing on the cake.
Go Bruins !!