The 2011 MLB Draft signing deadline is at midnight on Monday night, and the Washington Nationals still have plenty of work to do to sign their top picks. This is nothing new, since most teams wait until the last minute to get deals done, but there's always a bit of apprehension. The Nationals went right down to the deadline to sign Stephen Strasburg and Bryce Harper in consecutive years, and will probably do so again in 2011.
The top prospect the Nationals need to sign is third baseman Anthony Rendon, the sixth overall pick in the draft. Agent Scott Boras, who has a history with the Nationals, will probably push for the Nationals to sign Rendon above the slot value of the No. 6 pick, because many observers had Rendon as the top prospect in the draft. General manager Mike Rizzo has a history of paying draft picks above slot value, so there's a good chance it happens again.
The Nationals also need to sign fellow first-round pick Alex Meyer and sandwich pick Brian Goodwin, who came to the team through compensatory picks. Both players are also represented by Boras.
The one player still up in the air is Matt Purke, the TCU pitcher who fell because of health concerns. He could easily return to school and improve his stock for next year, but that comes with a risk because MLB commissioner Bud Selig is pushing for a slotted system where rookies have mandated signing bonuses based on draft position. If that happens, Purke could lose out on that raise from improving his stock.
For more on the Nationals' 2011 MLB Draft signings, visit Federal Baseball.