Josh Bell Heading to School?

I re-tweeted this last night on Twitter, and talked about it some today.  Kendall Rogers of Perfect Game had this to say about Pittsburgh Pirates 2nd round pick Josh Bell:

Was told by couple of #Texas folks that #Pirates 2nd-rounder Josh Bell is slated to begin summer school at #UT. Could bode well. #mlbdraft

There’s some debate over whether this would end Bell’s eligibility to sign with the Pirates.  A quick look at the rules states that players are eligible to be drafted if they are:

  • High school players, if they have graduated from high school and have not yet attended college or junior college;
  • College players, from four-year colleges who have either completed their junior or senior years or are at least 21 years old; and
  • Junior college players, regardless of how many years of school they have completed

Bell fits the first criteria for now.  However, there’s some question as to whether attending summer classes is the same as attending for the Fall semester.  A college class is a college class, but the question is whether eligibility ends with one class, or with full time status.  If it’s one class, then Bell attending summer school would make him ineligible to sign with the Pirates.  Thankfully, we have the clarification in the MLB rules for the draft:

A Club generally retains the rights to sign a selected player until 11:59 PM (EDT) August 15, or until the player enters, or returns to, a four-year college on a full-time basis.

Emphasis on the bold part above.  “Full time” in college is generally 12 credit hours or more.  Summer school isn’t considered full time, since it’s typically 1-2 classes a summer, with two separate periods.  Therefore, it seems that Bell attending summer school wouldn’t remove his eligibility, as he wouldn’t be attending on a full time basis.

That makes sense, as college courses are offered at the high school level.  If you take Advanced Placement courses in high school, you get college credit, and in some cases, you have to go through the process of enrolling in a local college for the course.  That would remove a lot of eligibility, even though it’s a common educational path for high school students working on a college prep degree.

I’ve been skeptical about whether Bell is actually set on going to college.  It seems like this is all a negotiating ploy, and this just seems like the next step.  It’s hard to take him seriously when Scott Boras is his advisor, especially when the act of putting a player on college campus in a “will this remove his eligibility?” scenario is a page out of the Boras handbook.  That doesn’t mean that Bell is going to sign.  All we can take from this is that summer school doesn’t remove Bell’s eligibility.

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Tim Williams

Tim is the owner and editor in chief of Pirates Prospects. He started the site in January 2009, and turned it into his full time job during the 2011 season. Prior to starting Pirates Prospects, Tim worked with, providing MLB, NHL, and NFL coverage to various national media outlets, including ESPN Insider, USA Today, Yahoo Sports, and the Wall Street Journal. He also writes the annual Prospect Guide, which is sold through the site. Tim lives in Bradenton, where he provides live coverage all year of Spring Training, mini camp, instructs, the Bradenton Marauders, and the GCL Pirates.

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  • Nate

    I’ve always thought the chances of signing Bell seemed slim.  But it’s not the worst shot to take, as the Pirates would get a comp pick next year for not signing him (thus have two 2nd round picks next year).

  • Anonymous

     make him an offer and move on ,don’t lose out on some of the top shelf prep pitching they drafted by waiting to sign josh aug. 15.

    • F Lang

      But they knew all too well that with Boras as his agent, this would be going down to the wire. The Pirates FO, along with Boras will be taking this one down to the wire.

    • Anonymous

      A high profile  Scott Boras client isn’t going to sign until 1 minute before the deadline. i’m sure the Pirates have taken that into consideration and it will not affect other signings, the biggest drawback to over slot signings is MLB holding up the signings.

  • Chris M

    What does he mean “could bode well”… I don’t get why this would be good news

  • Ralph Rostock

    Bodes well for Texas – looks like that is a Texas tweeter.

  • jonathan

    full time for summer semester is generally 6 hours… if he registered for one class he’s good, if he registered for two classes he’s ineligible ( unless they have 1 hour orientation or 1 hour weight training or something that athletes take )… my assumption is that if he’s taking courses he’s going to texas

  • Lee Young

    also remember that they were going to remove Bell’s name from the draft, but his mother apparently said “Oh no, don’t do that”.

    I expect him to sign.

  • MarcH

    If he doesn’t sign, he might regret it…maybe.

    If hard slotting is implemented, he would most likely have to be a top 5 pick to get what the Buccos will most likely offer, I believe it to be around $5-$6 million. 

    He can go to school and risk falling in the draft, getting hurt, etc. or it could pay off if mlb doesn’t implement slotting or he becomes the top overall pick.

    Personally, I take the money and run.  If he’s as good as some say, he will benefit from playing ball full time.  If he gets hurt or flames out, he can always go back to school with that pocket full of money.

  • Chris O’Rorke

    the way the Pirates should approach Bell is as a second 1st rd pick THIS year. Our system has few power/”Andrew McCutchen” type prospects and he fits both. Lets add Bell and pay him the 5-6 mill. It’s the cheapest way to acquire top-notch talent these days. #letsgobucs

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