Detroit Tigers sign 3rd-round pick LHP Paul Wilson to over-slot deal

Detroit Free Press

The Detroit Tigers’ draft class of 2023 continues to fill in, with the team coming to terms with third-round pick Paul Wilson on Thursday.

Wilson, a high-school left-hander and the son of former MLB pitcher Trevor Wilson, has agreed to a deal worth $1,697,500 (plus a $2,500 contingency bonus), well over the slot value of his pick (No. 76 overall) of $945,100.

The signing was reported by MLB.com’s Jim Callis.

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The 18-year-old was an Oregon State commit who features a fastball that averages 93 mph (and tops out at 97) along with a slider, curveball and changeup. Wilson, who is 6 feet 3 and 205 pounds, struck out 108 in 49 innings at Lakeridge High School in Lake Oswego, Oregon, a suburb of Portland. He was ranked as the No. 51 prospect in his class prior to the July 9-11 draft.

Wilson’s father, Trevor, pitched eight seasons (1988-93, ’95, ’98) in the majors with the San Francisco Giants and Anaheim Angels, posing a 3.87 ERA with 431 strikeouts in 728 innings over 169 appearances. He made two appearances against the Tigers in his final season, allowing two hits and striking out two Detroit hitters at Tiger Stadium on Aug. 11-12, 1998.

Now the Tigers will get to see firsthand what the elder Wilson passed along to his son.

“My dad has taught me everything I know about baseball,” Wilson told reporters the night he was drafted by the Tigers. “And I’ve seen him on video pitch a little bit and I think it’s awesome that he did what he did, played in the majors for a while.

“So how he describes it is, he tried to develop my motion and my delivery as a more refined version of his,” Wilson added.

The Tigers entered the draft with about $15.7 million in allotted bonus money — second-most out of the 30 MLB teams — to spend on their 21 picks. They’ve already come to agreements with first-rounder Max Clark and second-rounder Max Anderson. Clark, the No. 3 overall pick out of Franklin, Indiana, and a Vanderbilt commit, signed for approximately $7.7 million — the equivalent of the No. 4 slot and well under his slot value of $8,341,700. Anderson, the No. 45 overall pick out of Nebraska, signed for approximately $1.4 million, under his slot value of $1.9 million.

Still unsigned among the Tigers’ top 17 selections is their second pick, Kevin McGonigle (No. 37 overall). The high-school shortstop from Pennsylvania (and Team USA teammate of Clark) is an Auburn commit who was the Pennsylvania Gatorade Player of the Year. His draft slot comes with a $2,309,500 value. Teams have until 5 p.m. Tuesday to sign their draft picks. McGonigle would not be draft-eligible again until after his junior season of college ball. If the Tigers are unable to sign McGonigle, they would receive a compensation pick in the 2024 MLB draft.

The Tigers announced the signing of seventh-rounder John Peck, 14th-rounder David Smith, 16th-rounder Donye Evans and 19th-rounder Blake Pivaroff last week, as well as 20th-rounder Johnathan Rogers on Friday, all without a bonus amount.

Among the known contracts for the Tigers’ later draft picks:

∎ Fourth-rounder Carson Rucker for $775,000 (about $150,000 over slot);

∎ Fifth-rounder Jaden Hamm for $400,000 (about $42,000 under slot);

∎ Sixth-rounder Bennett Lee for $297,500 (about $45,000 under slot);

∎ Eighth-rounder Jatnk Diaz for $247,500 (about $35,000 over slot);

∎ Ninth-rounder Hayden Minton for $162,500 (about $20,000 under slot);

∎ 10th-rounder Andrew Sears for $167,800 ($2,500 under slot);

∎ 11th-rounder Jim Jarvis for $175,000 ($25,000 counts against the bonus pool);

∎ 12th-rounder Andrew Dunford for $367,500 ($217,500 counts against the bonus pool);

∎ 13th-rounder Brett Callahan for $197,500 ($47,500 counts against the bonus pool).

The Tigers’ biggest bonus relative to slot thus far appears to have gone to 15th-round pick Brady Cerkownyk. The catcher out of Connors State College in Oklahoma signed for $400,000, of which $250,000 counts toward the Tigers’ bonus pool.

Teams are allowed to exceed their total bonus pool by 5% before suffering fines equivalent to 75% of the overage. Going over by more than 5% but less than 10% would cost a team a first-round draft pick. No team has gone over that 5% in the draft-slot era.

Free Press sports writer Evan Petzold contributed to this report.

Contact Ryan Ford at rford@freepress.com. Follow him on Twitter @theford. Read more on the Detroit Tigers and sign up for our Tigers newsletter.  

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