The Cubs have reached an agreement with their sixth-round pick, high school catcher Ethan Hearn, NBC Sports Chicago’s David Kaplan reports (Twitter link). Hearn had been committed to Mississippi State, though he will instead begin his pro career after receiving a substantially large signing bonus. Kaplan reports that Hearn “will receive second round money,” rather than the $247K recommended slot price attached to the 192nd overall selection. This likely means Hearn’s bonus is in the seven figures, as the second-round slot prices range from $929.8K to just over $1.771MM.
Hearn’s college commitment dropped him into the sixth round, though most draft pundits projected him in the low-second/high-third round area (Baseball America ranked him 66th among all draft prospects, and Hearn was ranked 67th by MLB.com, and 71st by Fangraphs). Generally considered the top high school catcher in this year’s draft class, Hearn is described by Baseball America’s scouting report as possessing “above-average raw power but a below-average hit tool” for now. He has a strong throwing arm and strong defensive potential behind the plate, though his overall defensive work may still need some seasoning, which isn’t unusual for such a young catcher.
By going significantly over slot to sign Hearn, the Cubs will eat into a big chunk of their $5,826,900 overall draft pool. It’s worth noting that Hearn is the only high schooler taken within Chicago’s first seven picks, so the Cubs have positioned themselves to create some savings elsewhere.