According to a report on ESPN.com, Stephen Strasburg, the #1 overall selection in the 2009 MLB draft by the Washington Nationals, has agreed to a record breaking deal worth a record $15.67 million over four years.
Strasburg, who pitched for the San Diego State Aztecs in the NCAA last season, throws his fastball upwards of 100 MPH. But the real reason he smashed the record with the highest deal for a draft selection is because of his “adviser”, Scott Boras.
Before the signing period for draft picks begin, Major League Baseball announces a slotting system that they hope for teams to follow. But big market clubs like the Yankees and Red Sox routinely blow the slot money out of the water in order to obtain the best young talent. Teams that strictly follow the leagues slotting system put themselves at an extreme disadvantage. Unlike the NBA and NFL draft, players are very often passed over because a team doesn’t believe it will be able to sign the prospect, and they instead go with a safer pick.
If Strasburg had not signed with the Nationals this evening, he would have been eligible to enter into the 2010 draft. The Nationals would then be awarded a compensation pick, which in this case would have been #2 overall. With far and away the worst record in the league, the Nationals would almost assuredly end up with the top 2 selections, but would not have been able to select Strasburg again.
The consensus #1 overall pick in 2010 is high school junior Bryce Harper, a catcher who was featured on the cover of Sports Illustrated earlier this year. Now fans in Washington can begin dreaming of a battery consisting of Strasburg and Harper. That should be fun.
Here’s video of Strasburg striking out 23 in a game against Utah.