The Chicago Cubs have signed another one of their top 2012 draft picks, high school pitcher Paul Blackburn. The Northern California righty, whom the Cubs took in the supplemental first round at number 56 overall, will get a $911,700 signing bonus, which is the full slot recommendation.
Blackburn is said to have a “clean delivery,” and a fastball that sits in the low 90s, but reaches 94. He’s got the potential for three big-league caliber pitches. In other words, Blackburn is very much an “upside” pick.
He’s a 6’2″, 180 lbs high school senior, who turned 18 in December. You can assume he put up video game numbers in high school, because that’s what Draft prospects do. (He had a 0.93 ERA this year.) MLB.com ranked Blackburn as the 69th best prospect in the Draft. John Sickels had him at 61, and Baseball America had him at 57. Blackburn throws a fastball that sits in the low-90s, but ticks a bit higher at times. He’s got a decent curveball and changeup, which scouts think can be much better. They also believe he can add some more velocity yet, and can improve his command. He’s a great athlete ….
With this signing, the Cubs are still about $370,000 under their bonus pool of $7.933 million (and that’s not considering the extra 4.99% by which they can exceed their pool without losing a future draft pick), which will help them lock down first rounder Albert Almora, or try to entice a late round high school flyer like Rhett Wiseman.
The signing deadline is July 13.