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Ken SugiuraKen Sugiura

Three Tech juniors turning pro

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Four Georgia Tech underclassmen were selected in last week’s major league baseball draft. At least three of them will get a jump on their professional careers.

Pitchers Sam Clay (Minnesota Twins, fourth round), Josh Heddinger (Detroit Tigers, 14th) and Matthew Grimes (Baltimore Orioles, 18th) have agreed to terms, foregoing the remainder of their Tech careers. Junior center fielder Daniel Spingola (Chicago Cubs, 24th) has not yet decided, coach Danny Hall said in a text message.

Tech’s two senior draftees, pitcher Dusty Isaacs (Toronto Blue Jays, 18th round) and infielder Mott Hyde (Houston Astros, 26th) have also reached terms, according to a tweet from Tech sports information assistant director Mike DeGeorge.

Heddinger’s signing bonus was $100,000 as well as tuition payments, according to Heddinger’s advisor Allen McDuffie. Clay, reached in Minneapolis, declined to divulge his bonus. According to Baseball America’s website, most players selected in the fourth round last year received signing bonuses between $350,000 and $500,000.

“I’m definitely excited,” Clay said. “I’m looking forward to it.”

For the underclassmen – Heddinger, Grimes and Spingola just finished their junior seasons, Clay was a draft-eligible sophomore – a considerable enticement to sign is the leverage that they hold in negotiations. A junior can return to school if the signing bonus offer is not satisfactory. A senior has virtually no leverage.

In last year’s fourth round, for instance, a college junior received $800,000, the top bonus in the round. Two high school seniors signed for $700,000. The two college seniors signed for $300,000 and $95,000.

With the deals, coach Danny Hall loses two of his three weekend starters from this season (Grimes and Heddinger) and his top two relievers (Clay and Grimes). Saturday starter Devin Stanton will return, and Cole Pitts and Jonathan King, who were expected to be the top two starters, will return from season-ending arm injuries. Ben Parr, who started 10 games mostly in a midweek role and had a 2.62 ERA, will also be back.

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