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Original Issue

Missing Inks

A look at other first-rounders who have chosen not to sign

How rare was Mark Appel's decision to turn his back on first-round money? In the past 25 years, only eight other collegiate first-round picks have been offered first-round money and have chosen not to sign. In a few instances, the gamble paid off and the player improved his position the following year—most notably the case of Tennessee's Luke Hochevar (below), a sandwich pick (No. 40) of the Dodgers in 2005. Hochevar played a season of independent ball, and in '06 the Royals took him No. 1 overall. A few players saw their stock fall, none more dramatically than Kentucky lefthander James Paxton, who went 37th (to the Blue Jays) in '09 but only 132nd (to Seattle) in '10. There is a common thread, though. Of the nine college players who rejected deals, six (Appel, Paxton, Hochevar, J.D. Drew in 1997, Jason Varitek in '93 and John Burke in '91) were all advised by Scott Boras.