Part of the Astros’ strategy in drafting Carlos Correa with the No. 1 overall pick was their ability to sign him to a below-slot bonus and use the savings to snag a tough-to-sign player later.
That player turned out to be high school right-hander Lance McCullers, who was considered a top-20 prospect based on talent alone but fell to the No. 41 pick due to signability issues.
Houston’s strategy worked, as they inked Correa for $4.8 million compared to the $7.2 million slot for the top pick and have now used the savings to sign McCullers for twice the slot amount for the No. 41 pick.
Jim Callis of Baseball America reports that McCullers agreed to a $2.5 million deal, compared to the slot amount of $1.25 million. Obviously the debate over whether the Astros made the right call with Correa will rage on for years to come, but in passing on Byron Buxton and Mark Appel they were able to add McCullers as a second high-upside pick.
San Diego and No. 7 overall pick Max Fried have agreed to a $3 million deal that’s the exact slot amount for the pick.
Fried, a high school left-hander from California, ranked seventh on Baseball America‘s list of the top players in the class and ESPN.com rated him fifth, behind only Byron Buxon, Carlos Correa, Kevin Gausman, and Mark Appel.
He was the first high school pitcher chosen, although a healthy Lucas Giolito may have changed that.
Add another name to the list of first-rounders signing early, as the Cardinals and No. 19 pick Michael Wacha have agreed to a deal.
Derrick Goold of the St. Louis Post Dispatch reports that the starting pitcher from Texas A&M will get $1.9 million, which is the exact slot bonus for the pick.
Baseball America ranked Wacha as the eighth-best player in the class and ESPN.com rated him 15th, so the Cardinals did well to snag the 6-foot-6 right-hander who many considered the best college pitcher in the draft behind top-10 selections Mark Appel, Kyle Zimmer, and Kevin Gausman.