Mohegan Lake, NY product Sammy Stafura was generally considered one of the Top 25 prep players in the country this year, his play in the cold weather state still earning him the attention of (and scholarship offer from) Clemson University for his future services. That, of course, was before he was selected with the 43rd overall pick in the 2023 Major League Baseball Draft by the Cincinnati Reds, with the Reds hoping they could find a way to persuade him into eschewing his commitment to Clemson and join the professional ranks.
When the Reds 1st round pick, Rhett Lowder, signed an under-slot deal over the weekend, suddenly there appeared to be enough cash left in the team’s overall draft pool to throw a little bit more the way of Stafura to get his signature, and on Monday, we learned that’s exactly what happened.
Jim Callis of MLB Pipeline relayed Monday evening that the Reds had signed Stafura to a $2.497 million bonus, going over-slot by almost the exact same amount they went under on Lowder’s $5.7 million deal (from his $6.28 million slot value).
2nd-rder Sammy Stafura has officially signed w/@Reds for $2,497,500 (pick 43 value = $1,998,200). New York HS SS, gives off Anthony Volpe vibes w/better physical tools at same stage, quality defense, plus speed, intriguing pop. Clemson recruit. @MLBDraft pic.twitter.com/6UO1Y0wo4g— Jim Callis (@jimcallisMLB) July 17, 2023
Navigating slot values with a larger overall bonus pool is never easy, but this is an excellent example of the Reds using the leverage they had over a college product to squeeze out enough cash to entice a high school product to skip the college route altogether. Now, they’ve added two of their top three picks from this year’s draft, with LSU pitcher Ty Floyd the lone member of that trio remaining. Given that talented prep arm Cole Schoenwetter was taken with the team’s 4th round pick - and that he’ll likely require a significant over-slot deal to sign - we may well see the Reds employ a similar tactic with Floyd/Schoenwetter than we did with Lowder/Stafura.
Welcome to the Reds, Sammy!