News came Friday that the Cincinnati Reds and 3rd round pick Tyler Callihan had agreed on a signing bonus of some $1.5 million, enough to coax the high school standout to forego his commitment to attend the University of South Carolina and turn pro. With such an over-slot amount, though, that meant how the rest of the Reds draft class got under contract was going to be a bit of financial Tetris, and on Monday it was revealed that a few more pieces have come together.
As The Enquirer’s Bobby Nightengale reported earlier today, the Reds have signed 3 of their top 10 picks - not yet including Callihan, officially - highlighted by 4th round pick Ivan Johnson.
#Reds have officially signed 3 of their first 10 picks in the MLB Draft: 2B Ivan Johnson (4th round), RHP Graham Ashcraft (6th) and CF Quin Cotton (8th).— Bobby Nightengale (@nightengalejr) June 10, 2019
Johnson, a middle infielder from Chipola Junior College (by way of the University of Georgia), was the 114th overall pick in last week’s draft, and since the Callihan signing is not yet officially official, he becomes the team’s highest pick to sign so far. In addition to Callihan, we’re anxiously awaiting the signings of #7 overall pick Nick Lodolo as well as 2nd rounder Rece Hinds, another high profile high school pick that will require a massive over-slot bonus to get under contract.
In Graham Ashcraft, the Reds have under contract the highest ever draftee from the University of Alabama-Birmingham, a burly RHP who can sits 94-96 mph with his fastball. Quin Cotton, meanwhile, is a toolsy OF from Grand Canyon University.
Like with Johnson, neither Ashcraft nor Cotton were college seniors, however, meaning they had ample bargaining power to negotiate slot-value deals. So, it’s highly likely that when we eventually find out their signing bonuses, we’ll discover the Reds didn’t save money on any of these deals, meaning the savings they’ll need to get each of their top 3 picks under contract are going to have to come elsewhere.