Sean Black told the Philadelphia Inquirer (hat tip: District of Baseball) that he was "shocked" when the Nats selected him with the fifty-ninth pick yesterday. Not "shocked" as in ecstatic, but "shocked" as in Why'd they do that?:
Earlier in the draft, Black said, the Boston Red Sox called and were prepared to take him with the 40th or 44th overall pick. (Boston owned both of those compensation picks, which were awarded between the first and second rounds.) He said the Red Sox offered him an $800,000 bonus.
But Black told the Sox thanks-but-no-thanks; if he didn't go in the first round, he wasn't going to sign.
The Inquirer reports that, just a few days ago, Black had stated an intention "to turn pro if chosen in the first three rounds." But:
After telling the Red Sox he wasn't interested, Black was stunned to be chosen by the Nationals.
"They knew our price range, and I'm shocked," he said.
However, the Inquirer also added that Black would "talk with Washington to see what it will offer." If the offer is insufficient in Black's eyes, he will go to Seton Hall.
This kind of situation, of course, is not in the least uncommon, and Black would certainly not be the first high schooler to toss himself back in the water in the hopes of getting first round money down the road. In fact, a subsequent pick by the Nats, Cory Van Allen, was a third-rounder three years ago, the third-highest pick from the 2003 draft not to sign. It hasn't worked out so far; Van Allen was the 151st pick yesterday. (The two more highly-selected unsigned guys from '03, Andrew Miller and Drew Stubbs, were more successful.)
So we'll see what happens. The Nats clearly considered Black a special talent; according to Jim Bowden (and many others), Black and the rest of the Nats' first five picks had all been considered first rounders within the past year. Thus, it will be interesting to see how far the Nats are willing to go above "slot" to induce Black. Dana Brown told the Fredericksburg Free Lance-Star that, while "[a] couple of [the selected players] are tough signability issues," Bodes announced that "we are going to take the best player available each time we pick and not worry about signability being an issue."