The Cubs have signed sixth-round draft pick Dylan Cease to a contract with a $1.5MM bonus, MLB.com’s Jim Callis reports (via Twitter), which far exceeds the $269.5K slot price attached to the 169th overall pick.
Cease, a high school right-hander, had committed to attend Vanderbilt in the fall, yet the large bonus is still somewhat surprising given that he will undergo Tommy John surgery later this month. The Cubs also went well above slot in handing out seven-figure bonuses to fourth-rounder Carson Sands and fifth-rounder Justin Steele, as the team had extra draft pool money available after going almost a combined $1.75MM under slot to sign first round pick Kyle Schwarber and second-rounder Jake Stinnett.
In pre-draft prospect rankings, Cease was rated 48th amongst all draftees by ESPN’s Keith Law, 76th by MLB.com and 77th by Baseball America. The BA scouting report says Cease needs to improve on repeating his breaking pitches and he has something of a rushed delivery, but the young righty’s fastball has touched 98mph and his curveball has potential to be an above-average pitch if he can be consistent with it.