Indians sign Justus Sheffield for below-slot bonus

Tennessean

That didn't take long...

The Indians have already signed #31 overall pick Justus Sheffield to a contract with a signing bonus reported to be $1,600,000.

Sheffield had a scholarship offer from Vanderbilt, which is both a baseball power and one of the better universities in the country, and his brother decided to go to college after being drafted last summer, so there were good reasons to think Sheffield might be a difficult player to sign, but clearly that was not the case. In addition to the $1.6 million, the Indians have also agreed to pay for 8 semesters' worth of tuition for Vanderbilt, so that if baseball doesn't work out, or if Justus wants to pursue a degree during the offseason or after his playing career is over, it will still be available to him at no cost.

The slot value of the #31 pick is $1,733,000, which means the Indians are now $133,000 below slot, giving them some extra money to work with in signing their other draft picks in the first 10 round.

Sheffied played this season for Tullahoma High School in Tennessee, where he finished the season 10-0 with a 0.34 ERA and 131 strikeouts in 61.2 innings. He was named Gatorade National Player of the Year, making him the first player from Tennessee ever to win that honor.

I've seen his height listed as 5'10" (which is that the MLB Network had last night during the draft) to 6'1" (which is what the Indians listed him at when they tweeted about drafting him). He throws a fastball that sits at 91-92 MPH, and has been clocked at 94. He also throws a curve ball and a changeup, both of which are considered advanced for his age.

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