The Red Sox have reached an agreement with first-round draft pick Marcelo Mayer. The Athletic’s Chad Jennings (Twitter links) reports that the fourth overall pick will sign for a bonus of the assigned slot price of $6,664,000. While the team hasn’t yet officially announced the signing, Jennings and multiple other Boston reporters noted that Mayer and several team officials took part in what appears to be the official signing ceremony on the field at Fenway Park.
There was quite a bit of speculation prior to the draft that the Pirates would take Mayer with the first overall pick, though when Pittsburgh instead opted for Louisville catcher Henry Davis, it triggered something of a surprise drop for Mayer to Boston at the fourth pick. The Rangers drafted Vanderbilt righty Jack Leiter with the second selection, and the Tigers (rumored to be very high on Mayer) went with high school right-hander Jackson Jobe third overall.
Since Davis signed with the Pirates for a $6.5MM bonus that fell well below the $8.4153MM assigned slot price for the 1-1 pick, Mayer will end up actually making more money than Davis in his first pro contract. Since it’s fair to assume that Mayer might have insisted on full slot value wherever he was selected, that probably factored into the Pirates’ decision to take Davis and thus spread their bonus pool money around to multiple members of their draft class.
It could be that the Red Sox ended up with a steal, as Fangraphs’ scouting report on Mayer described him as nothing short of “the most well-rounded player in the draft, a teenage shortstop with a chance to hit for contact, power, and stay at a premium defensive position.” Fangraphs, MLB Pipeline, and The Athletic’s Keith Law all ranked Mayer as the best overall prospect of this year’s draft class, while Baseball America and ESPN.com’s Kiley McDaniel had Mayer second on their boards.
A product of Eastlake High School in Chula Vista, California, Mayer is a left-handed hitter who is already 6’3″ and 188 pounds at 18 years old — according to Pipeline’s scouting report, he might yet develop more raw power as he grows. Mayer is considered a plus hitter overall, and a moderate speed tool might be the only semi-flaw in his toolkit. There isn’t much doubt amongst observers that Mayer will be able to remain at shortstop, with BA describing Mayer as “arguably the top defensive shortstop in a class that is deep at the position.”