The Yankees announced today that they’ve signed their first-round pick Blake Rutherford. Terms of the agreement weren’t included with the announcement, but MLB.com’s Jim Callis reports (on Twitter) that the No. 18 overall selection will receive a significantly over-slot bonus of $3,282,000. That sum is $840K more than Rutherford’s slot value of $2,441,600.
An over-slot deal figured to be a requirement for the high school outfielder out of Chaminade Prep in California, however, as he slipped down the draft board a bit from where some earlier projections had him landing. ESPN’s Keith Law rated Rutherford as the No. 6 prospect in the draft, while Callis and Jonathan Mayo ranked him eighth at MLB.com and Baseball America rated him ninth overall. Scouting reports on Rutherford praise his hit tool and potential for above-average power in a corner outfield spot. All three of the reports referenced here note that some scouts are a bit down on Rutherford because he’s already 19 years old, meaning he offers a bit less projection than the typical high school pick, and he’s yet to fully tap into his power potential.
Certainly, those concerns didn’t seem to exist within the Yankees’ front office, and they’ll land a talent that many pundits felt should’ve been off the board by the time they selected. The Yankees added in their announcement that they’ve now signed all of their picks from the Top 10 rounds of the draft, meaning the vast majority of their work on the draft front is in the books. New York went considerably over slot on Rutherford and third-rounder Nolan Martinez, but the Yanks saved a good deal of money on picks five through 10, including four straight $10K signings of college seniors to close out rounds seven through 10 (as can be seen in the draft trackers at MLB.com and Baseball America).
Yankees fans seeking to learn a bit more about their club’s top pick can check out a Q&A that MLBTR contributor Chuck Wasserstrom conducted with the highly touted Rutherford back in late April.