The Rays announced they’ve come to terms with Cooper Kinney, whom they selected in Competitive Balance Round A in this year’s draft. Kinney’s signing bonus is at or near the $2.1481MM slot value associated with the #34 overall selection, reports Marc Topkin of the Tampa Bay Times (Twitter link).
A high school infielder from Tennessee, Kinney was rated by most public evaluators a bit lower than where he ultimately wound up selected. Baseball America slotted him 69th among the class’ prospects, while Eric Longenhagen and Kevin Goldstein of FanGraphs placed him 47th. Both outlets praised Kinney’s advanced hit tool from the left side and power projection while expressing some trepidation about his future defensive home since he’s already moved off of shortstop.
Kinney received full slot value to sign away from his commitment to the University of South Carolina, so selecting him wasn’t a ploy by the Rays to save money and cut overslot deals with later selections. Evidently, Tampa Bay’s evaluators are a bit higher on Kinney’s long-term potential than are most in the public sphere.