FRIDAY: Pittsburgh has announced the signing. Baz gets $4.1MM, just over the slot value, per Stephen Nesbitt of the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette (via Twitter).
WEDNESDAY: The Pirates and No. 12 overall pick Shane Baz have agreed to terms, reports Mark Berman of Houston’s FOX 26 (Twitter links). Baz, a Houston-area native, tells Berman that the Pirates made an offer that he “can’t pass up,” calling it a “tough decision” to forgo his commitment to Texas Christian University.
Terms of the deal have yet to be reported, though Baz’s No. 12 slot comes with an assigned value of $4,032,000. The Pirates have a bonus pool of $10,135,900 and can go over that assigned slot value to sign Baz if they save money on other picks further down the draft board.
Baz ranked No. 11 on the pre-draft rankings of ESPN’s Keith Law, Fangraphs’ Eric Longenhagen and Baseball America. Jonathan Mayo and Jim Callis of MLB.com pegged him as the draft’s No. 12 prospect. Considered the top prospect in the state of Texas, Baz draws praise for his mid-90s fastball that has already reached 98 mph. He also draws potential plus grades on a cutter, slider and curveball, with each of the listed scouting reports offering varying levels of praise. Baseball America, in particular, suggests that his secondary offerings create a lofty ceiling, writing that Baz “has the ingredients to surpass [Hunter] Greene going forward due to his more potent breaking pitches.”
The 6’3″, 190-pound Baz would’ve played both third base and pitched had he attended TCU — both BA and MLB.com reference his plus raw power — but he’ll focus on pitching now that he’s embarking on his pro career. He’s one of the younger prospects in the top echelon of the draft class, as he has yet to turn 18 years of age. Most of the above-linked reports agree that Baz still needs to refine his command and doesn’t yet feature enough deception in his delivery, though there’s potential for him to develop into a front-line starter down the road. He becomes the first of this year’s first-round draftees to agree to terms.