The Miami Marlins wasted no time signing their top draft pick of the 2014 MLB Draft. The Fish officially came to terms yesterday with right-hander Tyler Kolek out of Shepherd High School in Texas. The big, burly right-hander signed on the dotted line and received a $6 million bonus for his deal with the Fish.
"It's something I've dreamed of doing my entire life," Kolek said. "I just can't wait to be able to do it for real and be here for a long time."
Kolek seemed likable and calm at the press conference sitting next to president of baseball operations Michael Hill and general manager Dan Jennings. Hill seemed more than happy to have him on board, as it sounds as though the franchise had targeted him with their top choice and likened him to the best talent in the draft. This follows Miami's historical tendency towards prep pitchers, especially those with hard-throwing pedigrees.
As you will recall, no one has a harder-throwing pedigree than Kolek, who is considered to have the fastest fastball in the modern draft era. The Marlins have recounted tales of him being caught at 102 mph on their own radar guns in their visits to him in the offseason.
The Marlins seemed happy, and their deal with Kolek had to make the club happy overall. Kolek signed for $6 million, which is $0.8 million lower than the suggested slot value of the second pick of the draft. But it is also the third-highest bonus ever given to a high school pitcher in draft history.
Marlins fans were hoping the team would use the savings for extra signing power lower in the draft, but the $0.8 million is just a nice convenient extra amount to spread around. Miami did not pursue a player who would sign significantly lower than slot like the Houston Astros did a few years ago. Kolek was among the best prospects in the draft, so it is unsurprising that he commanded a near-slot value.
Miami has also signed Blake Anderson, their competitive balance draft pick, Justin Twine, their second round pick, and Brian Anderson, their third round pick, to contracts. Overall, the Fish have saved about $1.2 million in terms of slot value versus actual spent resources, and the team has signed 19 of its 42 drafted players.