Castellanos, Ruffin, Smyly agree to terms with Tigers
The Tigers continued their solid record of signing their top draft picks, but they had to go into the wee hours of Monday night to do it. They agreed to terms with their top three Draft picks — first-rounders Nick Castellanos and Chance Ruffin as well as second-rounder Drew Smyly.
Castellanos agreed to terms just a few minutes before the midnight ET deadline. It was close enough that Major League Baseball officials went into Tuesday morning to review the case and make sure he agreed on time. If it was ruled he hadn’t agreed by midnight, the Tigers would’ve lost his rights, and he would’ve had to decide to either go to school or to play independent ball. He had a scholarship offer to play at the University of Miami.
“It was stressful,” Castellanos said by phone early Tuesday morning. “It was exciting. It was exhausting, now that I think about it. … I had an idea it was going to come down to the last minute, but I didn’t know it would come down to the very last minute.”
Castellanos, a high school infielder from Archbishop McCarthy High School in south Florida selected with the 44th overall pick, agreed to a contract that includes a $3.45 million signing bonus. The Tigers are expected to put him into their farm system as a third baseman
Ruffin, a University of Texas reliever taken with the 48th overall pick, agreed to terms with the club on a contract that includes a $1.15 million signing bonus. His signing came down earlier in the evening.
“It was pretty tough, all the good memories and great teams,” Ruffin said. “It was tough to leave all that behind. But it was time for me to move on and pursue a professional career.”
Smyly, the University of Arkansas left-handed
The son of former Major League pitcher Bruce Ruffin, his negotiations took longer than some might’ve expected as he weighed whether to return to a talented Longhorns squad or start advancing towards the big leagues now.
His signing adds another talented relief arm to a Tigers farm system that already has quite a few. Ruffin has been projected by some as a pitcher who could progress quickly through the system, and has garnered comparisons to Major League closer Huston Street. He isn’t the prototypical power arm the Tigers usually go for, but he has a good arm and a solid track record with the Horns.
Smyly will receive a $1.1 million signing bonus, according to Baseball America. The University of Arkansas left-hander, who was eligible as a sophomore this year, helped his Draft stock with a breakout season for the Razorbacks. He could’ve gone back for his junior season and done the same thing in next year’s Draft, but opted to capitalize now.