The Mariners and second-round pick Nick Neidert have agreed to an over-slot bonus of $1.2MM, reports MLB.com’s Jim Callis (via Twitter). Per Baseball America, the slot value of Neidert’s No. 60 overall selection was $1.026MM.
A high school right-hander out of Georgia, Neidert was the 48th-best prospect in this year’s draft in the estimation of ESPN’s Keith Law. Baseball America ranked him 55th overall, and both Kiley McDaniel of Fangraphs and MLB.com’s duo of Jim Callis and Jonathan Mayo ranked Neidert 80th among draft prospects.
As Callis notes in his tweet, Neidert’s fastball has been clocked as high as 96 mph, and he has an advanced changeup for his age. Though BA is optimistic with its overall ranking, their scouting report notes questions pertaining to Neidert’s size (6’1″, 185 pounds). BA does praises Neidert’s ability to fill the strike zone but cautions against his current lack of an out pitch. Both BA and MLB.com note that he’d be better served to throw a slider than a curve due to his arm slot. McDaniel feels that Neidert could eventually end up with a 60-grade fastball and a 55 changeup in addition to a 50 breaking ball (grades on the 20-80 scale), which one would think to be enough for him to stick in the rotation. ESPN does add that some scouts view Neidert as a future reliever, primarily due to questions about his size and durability.
The Mariners likely aren’t overly concerned about Neidert’s ability to stick in a rotation, given the over-slot agreement and the fact that the team used its first pick in this year’s draft on him. Seattle’s first-round pick was forfeited in the offseason when the team signed Nelson Cruz, who had rejected a qualifying offer from the Orioles. It shouldn’t be too difficult for the Mariners to find the necessary savings to accommodate Neidert’s bonus, as his deal is not significantly over slot. In fact, the team already saved about $52K on No. 72 overall selection Andrew Moore, who agreed to an $800K bonus last week.