The big domino in the Detroit Tigers’ quest to sign their 2023 draft class has fallen. First rounder, and third overall pick, outfielder Max Clark signed his contract to turn pro with the Tigers’ today. With that accomplished, signing the rest becomes more straightforward.
Clark inked his deal for a slot bonus of $7,700,000, coming in just about exactly at the slot bonus for the fourth overall pick. The third overall selection came with a slot bonus of $8,341,700, so the Tigers essentially signed Clark for almost $650,000 under slot. That money will now help get the large crop of prep prospects the club selected under contract.
The Tigers total bonus pool started at $15,757,200. They’ve already signed fifth rounder RHP Jaden Hamm out of Middle Tennessee State for $400,000, which was about $42,000 under slot. 15th rounder C Brady Cerkownyk from Connors State has signed for $400,000. Rounds 11-20 all start at $150,000 as a slot value. Going over that amount requires that the money come from the total bonus pool, so Cerkownyk was essentially $250,000 over slot.
The result, is that the Tigers should have $7,407,200 to spend on their remaining picks. Second round selection, 2B Max Anderson out of Nebraska, has already signed but the amount hasn’t been disclosed. It seems assured to be less than his $1,906,200 slot value as the 45th overall selection. The Tigers sixth rounder, catcher Bennett Lee out of Wake Forest has also signed, but the terms haven’t been announced.
The big ticket items remaining are the other prep picks taken in the first ten rounds. CBA selection SS Kevin McGonigle is the biggest ticket item, but the Tigers may well have to reach to sign LHP Paul Wilson (3rd Rd), 3B Carson Rucker (4th Rd), and RHP Jatnk Diaz (8th Rd) overslot.
By the way, if you haven’t read this article from Jeff Seidel of the Freep on Jatnk Diaz’s road from total obscurity to the draft, it’s worth your time. Easy kid to root hard for, and possibly a huge steal for Tigers.
Beyond the first ten rounds, the Tigers continued their prep haul as they selected RHP Andrew Dunford out of Houston County High School (GA) in the 12th round, LHP Bradley Stewart out of Cooper City High School (FL) in the 17th round, 3B Ethan Farris from Cypress Woods High School (TX) in the 18th round, and RHP Johnathan Rogers from Tupelo High School (MS) in the 20th round.
It would be a real coup if the Tigers manage to sign them all. As for the college picks not yet signed, they don’t have much leverage, so we’ll see how well Scott Harris and his scouting chiefs can trim from one to pay another. Hopefully they can make this work and get everyone under contract.