Yesterday, I wrote a little bit about the WSU baseball team's chances to return to the postseason next year. Step one of that process might be convincing Mitch Gueller to head to Pullman.
Gueller, who signed with WSU in December, is arguably the best baseball prospect in Washington. ESPN's Keith Law ranked him as the 39th best prospect in next week's MLB draft. Donnie Marbut called him "the best athlete in this class or we have ever signed." A standout pitcher and hitter, Gueller could make an immediate impact in Pullman next season, the problem is getting him there.
Depending on where he is selected next week, Gueller could be looking at a signing bonus north of $1 million. That is a lot to turn down, but it's not unprecedented. In 2008, the Yankees selected Gerrit Cole 28th overall and were reportedly willing to offer up to $4 million. Cole instead headed to UCLA and was selected No. 1 overall in last year's draft and signed for $8 million. Ben Roberts, who redshirted this past season at WSU, was selected in the seventh round last year but opted to become a Cougar.
For his part, Gueller sounds as if he is still considering his options. In this story from the Tacoma News Tribune, Gueller said he hasn't decided how high he would need to be selected to forgo college. It's really a win-win situation for him. If he signs this year, he's likely getting at least $1 million. If he heads to Pullman he'll get a fantastic college experience, could develop into the best two-way WSU player since John Olerud and head back into the draft.
The MLB draft and signing process is a tough one to predict, but if the deadline passes and Gueller doesn't sign, I'll bet Donnie Marbut will be the happiest man in Pullman.
2012 Draft: Mitch Gueller | River Avenue Blues
Raised just outside of Olympia in Chehalis, Washington, Gueller is a two-way star at West High School. He’s committed to Washington State.
Attracting attention: 2012 All-Area Baseball Team | High School Sports - The News Tribune
CHEHALIS – The scene at W.F. West High baseball games when Mitch Gueller pitches has become, well, like a zoo, says coach Tom Zuber.