The Tigers and No. 9 overall draft pick Matt Manning have agreed to terms, reports MLB.com’s Jonathan Mayo (via Twitter). The high school right-hander out of California will receive the full slot value of $3,505,800, according to Mayo.
Entering the draft, Manning was a consensus Top 15 prospect, with ESPN’s Keith Law rating him ninth on his final Top 100 ranking. Mayo and colleague Jim Callis rated Manning 11th in the draft, as did Baseball America on their Top 500 ranking. Athleticism runs in Manning’s bloodline, as his father, Rich, had a brief NBA career from 1995-97. Law notes that Manning needs a good bit of development but is “so athletic” that he’s well worth the associated risk. Manning himself was set to play both basketball and baseball at Loyala Marymount but will forego that commitment to begin his pro career with the Tigers. BA praises his 6’5″, 195-pound projectable frame and a fastball that sits 96-97 mph and is said to have reached 99 mph. Like BA and Law, Callis and Mayo feel that his secondary pitches — a curveball and changeup — need some work but have the potential to be above-average offerings.
The Tigers haven’t had a selection as high as ninth overall since 2009, when they also took a high school right-hander (Jacob Turner). Despite their No. 9 overall selection, the Tigers have a small draft pool this season thanks to the fact that they parted with their second pick in order to sign right-hander Jordan Zimmermann to a five-year deal and their third pick to sign Justin Upton to a six-year deal. (The top 10 selections in the draft are protected, so the Tigers retained the No. 9 pick despite signing a pair of qualifying offer free agents.) Those losses left the Tigers with a pool of $5,424,300, and they’ll have $1,918,500 to allocate to the remainder of their picks in rounds four through 10 (plus any over-slot deals for players selected beyond the 10th round).