That didn’t take long. (Or maybe everything was in place already.)
According to a report out of Knoxville, the Chicago Cubs have already signed one of their top draft picks, despite selecting him just yesterday. Trevor Clifton was one of the top right-handed high school pitching prospects in the Draft, expected to go in the Round 3 to 5 range, but he slid to the Cubs in the 12th round. They grabbed him, and immediately put together a deal that Clifton told Knoxnews.com was for “third-round money.” I suspect that he hasn’t actually “signed” his deal yet, as it would be pending a physical. But the terms have clearly been agreed upon.
Clifton, who was the Cubs’ top high school draftee and the only high school pitcher they took before Round 34, already gets his fastball up to 97, and usually sits in the mid-to-low 90s. He’s a big kid with a big arm, and that’s always what the Cubs are looking for. After going heavy on high school pitching talent early last year, the Cubs focused on the college ranks this time around. But Clifton was the exception, and, for that reason, I’d imagine the Cubs are very excited to have him in the fold.
“Third-round money” is a slightly nebulous term because, although the Cubs’ third round pool amount is $736,200, that’s at the top of the third round scale. In the third round, the slot values range all the way down to $491,200, so anything in that wide range would be “third-round money.”
Picks taken after the 10th round can be given up to $100,000 without it counting against the bonus pool, so, either way, this is going to be an over slot signing. Given that the Cubs were willing to sign Clifton immediately to an over slot deal suggests some confidence on their part that they won’t be going too far over slot on their first 10 picks, in total. Indeed, it suggests that they know they’ll be able to come in under slot on those picks.
As the picks start to sign over the coming days/weeks, we’ll start talking more extensively about the bonus pool implications. For now, it’s all a bit too speculative. All we know is that Clifton is signing, and it’s a great get for the Cubs in the 12th round.
(Picture via Heritage Mountaineer Baseball.)