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.
It’s been a rough week for Stanford’s Mark Appel.
On Monday night he fell to the eighth spot in the MLB Amateur Draft after being mocked by most experts to go in the top three.
And he was selected by an organization (the Pirates) that he clearly isn’t thrilled about joining.
Now his dream of an NCAA championship is in jeopardy.
Appel was shelled for seven runs (five earned) over four innings Friday in Game 1 of Stanford’s first-round matchup with Florida State. He yielded five hits and walked four while throwing only 55 of his 95 pitches for strikes.
His upside remains sky-high and his body of work with the Cardinal speaks for itself, but you can bet Pirates management was watching the rough outing. And may bring it up in negotiations with Appel’s agent, Scott Boras.
Stanford must now win two straight games over the Seminoles to advance to the second round.
No. 1 overall pick Carlos Correa has already agreed to a contract with the Astros and the Royals announced that No. 5 overall pick Kyle Zimmer is also under contract just three days after being drafted.
Zimmer is a right-handed starter from the University of San Francisco who many draft experts felt was neck and neck with Stanford right-hander Mark Appel and LSU right-hander Kevin Gausman as the top college arm available.
He’s a converted position player and just 20 years old, so Zimmer may not move through the minors quite as quickly as a typical college ace. MLB’s slot bonus amount for the No. 5 pick is $3.5 million, but Jim Callis of Baseball America reports that the Royals got Zimmer signed for $3 million.