11:38am: MLB.com’s Jim Callis tweets that Denaburg received a $3MM bonus, putting him $527K over slot value.
11:19am: The Nationals announced Tuesday that they’ve signed top their pick from the 2018 draft, high school right-hander Mason Denaburg. Fancred’s Jon Heyman first tweeted that the two sides were nearing a deal, while Chelsea Janes of the Washington Post added that the two sides had agreed to terms on an over-slot bonus (Twitter links). Denaburg was advised by and is now a client of the Boras Corporation.
Denaburg was selected 27th overall — a pick that comes with an assigned slot value of $2,472,700. That Nats, it seems, were willing to top that mark as a means of enticing the 18-year-old righty to forgo a college commitment to Florida. Denaburg would likely have gone earlier in the draft had he not missed more than a month of his 2018 season due to biceps tendinitis. He ranked 16th in the class per Kiley McDaniel and Eric Longenhagen of Fangraphs, while the team over at Baseball America pegged him 22nd. Jim Callis and Jonathan Mayo of MLB.com rated him 24th in the class, and ESPN’s Keith Law had him 29th on his rankings.
When healthy, Denaburg can reach 97 mph with his fastball, though he sits a few ticks below that. McDaniel and Longenhagen write that he boasts “one of the most consistently 60-grade breaking balls in recent memory,” adding that his changeup has the makings of an above-average pitch as well. Baseball America’s report suggests that Denaburg could be the most athletic pitcher in the class, as he would’ve also been a legitimate prospect as a catcher with a strong arm and impressive raw power. Denaburg’s future, though, is on the mound, and he’ll now join Erick Fedde and Seth Romero among the top-rated arms in the Nats’ minor league ranks.