For the second time in four years, the Dodgers failed to sign a first-round draft pick.
J.T. Ginn, a hard-throwing high school pitcher from Mississippi, announced he would attend Mississippi State rather than sign with the Dodgers, who selected him at No. 30 last month. The deadline to sign is Friday. Later on Thursday evening, West Virginia pitcher Michael Grove, chosen in the second round by the Dodgers, said on Instagram he had signed.
It is unclear why Ginn and the Dodgers could not reach an agreement. Andrew Friedman, the Dodgers president of baseball operations, indicated he could not comment until Friday’s deadline passed.
The recommended slot bonus for Ginn was $2.275 million. The Dodgers had the smallest bonus pool in the majors, as a receipt for finishing with the best regular-season record in 2017. The entire pool for their first 10 rounds was worth $5.3 million; Detroit signed No. 1 overall pick Casey Mize for a $7.5-million bonus.
As compensation for not signing Ginn, the Dodgers would receive the 31st pick, and the corresponding bonus pool money, for next summer’s draft.
Ginn grew up in Brandon, Miss., about two hours south of the Mississippi State campus in Starkville. He called his decision to play for the Bulldogs “my lifelong dream.”
“After being drafted by the Los Angeles Dodgers in the first round, I had a lot to think about over the last month,” Ginn wrote on Twitter. “My ultimate goal is to one day play in the Major Leagues, and the draft provided one path to that goal. College baseball offered another path.”
Ginn chose college. The Dodgers struck out in similar fashion in 2015 with Louisville pitcher Kyle Funkhouser, who went 35th in the compensatory first round. Funkhouser chose to play one more season in college and fell to the fourth round in 2016. He has a 3.89 ERA in 16 starts with Detroit’s double-A affiliate this season.