The Royals have agreed to sign competitive-balance pick Sean Manaea for $3.55MM, Jim Callis of Baseball America tweets. The Indiana State lefty was the No. 34 overall pick in the draft.
$3.55MM is way above the $1.62MM draft pool recommendation for the No. 34 pick. But the Royals’ intentions to sign Manaea to an above-slot bonus became clear very early in their draft — they surprised many observers by selecting college shortstop Hunter Dozier with the No. 8 overall pick, then took Manaea, who is advised by the Boras Corporation and was regarded as one of the top talents in the draft before an injury-plagued junior season at Indiana State. The Royals then signed Dozier for over $900K less than his slot value, saving money to sign Manaea.
ESPN’s Keith Law ranked Manaea the No. 10 prospect in the draft, while MLB.com’s Jonathan Mayo and Baseball America ranked Manaea No. 13 and No. 18, respectively. Manaea’s stock fell after most draft rankings were published, however, particularly when, shortly before the draft, he was scratched from a start with shoulder tightness.
Law writes that the lefty threw 96 MPH with an excellent slider during the summer of 2012 in the Cape Cod League, but both pitches took steps backward in the 2013 season, when Manaea threw 89-94 MPH with an inconsistent slider. He also throws a changeup.