Top pick still left unsigned

Top pick still left unsigned

ST. PETERSBURG -- With the Aug. 16 deadline to sign draft picks from the June First-Year Player Draft looming, the Rays have signed six of their selections from the first 10 rounds. Tampa Bay had 13 picks in the first 10 rounds this year.

But don't count the Rays' top pick, outfielder Josh Sale from Bishop Blanchet (Wash.) High School among the signed.

Conversations are ongoing between the team and Sale's representatives.

Signing position players and getting them onto the field is viewed by many to be more important than getting the pitchers onto the field early. While both need to get acclimated to professional baseball as soon as possible, there is almost a science to how many at-bats a hitter needs before he is ready to reach the Major Leagues. Whereas time off for a pitcher is viewed more as saving his arm for pitches he can make later.

Tim Beckham signed quickly with the Rays after being the top pick of the 2008 Draft and accrued 283 at-bats that summer, which became a big factor in his starting this season at Class A Charlotte -- a high A league -- this early in his career.

Ryan Brett, the Rays' third round pick, already signed with the Rays and is hitting .500 in 26 at-bats.

The Rays were not able to sign Levon Washington, their No. 1 pick from the 2009 Draft, and received a compensation pick.