The Brewers have signed left-hander Nathan Kirby, reports ESPN’s Keith Law (via Twitter). Kirby, who was selected with the 40th pick in this year’s draft, will receive a signing bonus of $1.25MM, according to Jon Heyman of CBS Sports (also on Twitter). That figure comes in a ways below his slot value of $1.548MM. According to a second tweet from Heyman, Kirby at one point had an above-slot offer from Milwaukee, but a new medical concern caused the team to drop its offer.
Kirby was once looked as a potential top five pick but slipped down draft rankings rapidly due to a lat strain. The final edition of draft rankings from Law, Baseball America, MLB.com and Fangraphs placed Kirby 20th, 26th, 26th and 29th, respectively.
Law felt that Kirby represented a value pick in the late first round or Competitive Balance round, which is where Milwaukee selected him. Per Law, he has the upside of a mid-rotation starter if everything comes together, and Baseball America agrees. BA has his fastball in the low 90s, noting that he touched 94 frequently and made significant strides with a changeup this season. BA notes that he battled command in 2015, but some scouts think his issues are correctable, and he could move quickly to the Majors. Jim Callis and Jonathan Mayo at MLB.com note that his command may have suffered in 2015 from throwing too many sliders, though they also call the slider is a plus pitch for Kirby.