The Detroit Tigers have agreed to terms with first-round pick Matt Manning on Thursday, initially reported by Elk Grove Citizen's John Hull. The 18-year-old traveled to Lakeland, Fla for a physical before signing with the organization for the No. 9 overall slot value, which comes in at $3,505,800.
Manning, a high school flamethrower out of Sheldon High School in Elk Grove, Calif., carried a high price. Doubly talented in both baseball and basketball, the Loyola Marymount commit was reportedly looking for a higher signing bonus, so as to deter him from going to college on scholarship.
While fresh out of high school, Manning already has three pitches and tops out at 98 mph. Manning's parents discussed sticking with the collegiate option, but his father, Rich, thought it best for his son to develop under organizational coaches, according to Hull.
Manning will begin his time in the Tigers' organization at Lakeland with the rookie-level Gulf Coast League Tigers. And given that Manning was drafted as high as he was, the decision to sign with Detroit was an easy one.
"We've been asking, 'Is this really real?'" Rich Manning told Hull. "We've always believed all our kids are going to do something special in this world, but we've believed Matt has always had a path that was different and different than others just by the way he acted, the way he watched sports and how he interacted.
"My wife has always had the gut instinct he was going to play baseball. That mothers' intuition and look was is happening."
Manning is still developing his changeup, but he has a fireball fastball and a breaking ball with command already. The Tigers didn't see a risk with Manning playing two sports, nor did they believe it would affect their ability to sign him.