4:25pm: Bukauskas will get a $3.6MM bonus, per MLB.com’s Jim Callis (via Twitter), which lands just $11,800 over the 15th pick’s allotment.
10:56am: The Astros have agreed to terms with first-round pick J.B. Bukauskas, reports Mark Berman of Houston’s FOX 26 (on Twitter). The former UNC right-hander is in Houston to complete his physical and formally sign his contract.
Bukauskas was a top draft prospect out of high school back in 2014, though he fell to the 20th round after asking teams not to select him. The D-backs took a shot on swaying him anyhow, though he rather predictably honored his commitment to North Carolina. This time around, he entered the draft rated as the No. 6 overall prospect, per Baseball America. Meanwhile, Jim Callis and Jonathan Mayo of MLB.com ranked him seventh, while ESPN’s Keith Law rated him ninth and Fangraphs’ Eric Longenhagen ranked him 12th.
Bukauskas is a bit undersized, as he’s listed at 6’0″ and 195 pounds, though scouting reports across the board give him credit for a plus fastball and slider combination. Baseball America, in fact, calls his slider “the nation’s best breaking pitch,” noting that it consistently receives 70-grade ratings on the 20-80 scale, with some scouts placing an 80 on the pitch. He also has a changeup that has, in the past rated as an above-average offering but was rarely used this past season with the Tar Heels. Callis and Mayo, like others, note that there’s concern that he could end up pitching out of the bullpen, though they add that if he does ultimately prove to be a reliever, Bukauskas has closer upside.