Mariners To Sign First-Rounder George Kirby

The Mariners have agreed to a bonus with first-round pick George Kirby, team director of amateur scouting Scott Hunter told Ryan Divish of the Seattle Times (Twitter links).  The deal is set pending a physical.  Terms weren’t revealed, though the 20th overall selection has a recommended bonus value of $3,242,900.

Kirby is a 6’4″, 201-pound right-hander out of Elon University and a consensus top-25 prospect according to pre-draft rankings.  MLB.com had Kirby highest as the 18th-best prospect in this year’s class, with Fangraphs placing him 19th, Baseball America 20th, and ESPN’s Keith Law 24th.  Kirby has a fastball that usually sits in the 94-95mph range and is considered a plus pitch as per BA’s scouting report, and his repertoire also includes a changeup, slider, and curveball, though the latter two pitches “might be average pitches, at best, in a starting role.”

The Mariners put a big focus on young arms in this year’s draft, as the club took college pitchers in each of the first five rounds, and drafted eight pitchers overall within its first ten picks.  The M’s also took some prominent high schoolers outside of the top ten, including right-handers Anthony Tomczak (15th round) and Dutch Landis (17th round).  Any bonus given to a player from rounds 11-40 that is in excess of $125K counts against the team’s bonus pool, though Hunter said the Mariners are prepared to go over slot to sign the two youngsters.  Since clubs usually have something of a negotiating advantage with college seniors, Seattle should have some extra funds within their first ten picks to help their efforts in getting Tomczak and/or Landis signed.

from MLB Trade Rumors http://bit.ly/2MvQxSK

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