Callis: All looks good with top picks except for Purke

The deadline to announce if draft picks have been signed is inching ever closer. Jim Callis, executive editor of Baseball America, is pretty confident the Nationals will be able to sign most of their top five selections, including first round selection, third baseman Anthony Rendon out of Rice.

“Rendon had a shoulder injury that hampered him this spring but I still thought he was the best player in the draft,” Callis said.

“I still think he will command a major league contract that could be worth around $7 million. If that is the case, then we won’t find out about it until 11:58 p.m. Eastern Time on the night of (Aug.) 15.”

Agent Scott Boras represents Rendon, Kentucky pitcher Alex Meyer and outfielder Brian Goodwin. Callis believes that helps the Nationals’ cause because of the previous signings of Stephen Strasburg and Bryce Harper, and the good relationship between Boras and Nationals’ general manager Mike Rizzo.

Callis is confident all three of those draft picks will sign.

Meyer turned down $2 million out of high school. Callis believes Boras will get his client at least that number or perhaps $2.1 million.

“Goodwin could be a higher draft pick if he goes to South Carolina next year and has a good year there next year,” Callis continued. “He is a very toolsy center fielder. It wouldn’t surprise me if he got a deal a little bit over $1 million.”

Callis also thinks fourth-round selection, left-hander Kylin Turnbull will sign over slot, “but not the kind of money we are talking about with the other guys.”

But Callis does not believe the Nationals will get third-round selection, left-handed pitcher Matt Purke from TCU.

Purke was originally selected by the Texas Rangers out of high school. Nolan Ryan and Purke’s dad agreed on a $6 million dollar deal but Major League Baseball did not sign off on the deal because Rangers’ owner Tom Hicks was having financial trouble.

Then, as the story goes, the Rangers reportedly offered Purke $4 million one minute before the deadline, but there was no guarantee MLB would approve of that deal either. Callis believes that may have been a face-saving move by the Rangers versus a legitimate offer.

So, Purke stayed in school and took TCU to the College World Series in 2010. But last year, he had some shoulder issues and his velocity went down.

“I don’t think Purke is going to sign for the less than the money that was taken away from him out of high school,” Callis said. “I think the Nationals can offer him maybe $3 million. But, I think Purke is so competitive that his attitude would be ‘you know what, I will come back next year, fully healthy, and I will go No. 1 in the draft.’ “

Callis said the Nationals could also offer Purke $2 million or $2.5 million, but Callis thinks ultimately that Purke is virtually unsignable and his attitude would be he that he will try to make that money next year.

Even with the signability issues and shoulder problems, Rizzo felt like it was still a good calculated example for the Nationals because the Purke selection at No. 96 is a protected pick. If Purke doesn’t sign with the Nationals, the team would get that same selection back in next year’s draft.

My complete radio interview with Callis can be heard Sunday at 6:30 p.m. as I host “Nats Insider” on 106.7 The Fan.

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