The Detroit Tigers have agreed to a contract with right-handed pitcher Kyle Funkhouser, their 4th round pick in the 2016 MLB Draft, according to MLB.com’s Jim Callis. Funkhouser, a Louisville product, agreed to a $750,000 signing bonus, above the slot value ($526,200) of the 115th overall pick.
Funkhouser is no ordinary fourth round pick, though. The big righthander was initially drafted by the Los Angeles Dodgers with the 35th overall pick in the 2015 MLB draft, but elected not to sign in hopes of moving up draft boards this season. He suffered through an inconsistent senior season, however, and ultimately fell to the Tigers three rounds later.
Funkhouser was rated as the No. 59 overall prospect in this year’s draft by MLB.com. His puzzling senior season left many evaluators flummoxed, but he still showed flashes of the potential that made him a first round pick in 2015.
The first Louisville player selected in the first round, Funkhouser profiled as a mid-rotation starter in 2015 but now evaluators aren't sure what to make of him. After he worked at 92-94 mph and reached 97 for much of last season, he operated at 88-92 along with a less sharp slider and less effective changeup for much of this spring. His stuff looked significantly better in May, leaving evaluators puzzled as to what to do with him.
If Funkhouser is able to regain his stuff and find his command, he’s a legitimate mid-rotation talent with the build to work 180-200 innings at the major league level. However, given all the question marks surrounding his profile — including a drop in fastball velocity, which is never a good sign — he’s more likely to end up as a No. 5 start or a bullpen arm.
The above-slot bonus is a surprise considering how little college seniors typically have when it comes to draft negotiations. There aren’t many options available for players set on entering pro ball, and bonuses fall as a result. However, Funkhouser is represented by MLB super-agent Scott Boras, who likely had a heavy hand in determining his client’s eventual bonus.