The Rangers have agreed to terms with fourth-round pick Brock Porter we have a deal for just under $4MM, tweet Jon Heyman of the New York Post. Levi Weaver of the Athletic first reported earlier in the week that Porter was likely to sign for a bonus around $3.7MM. Wherever the number precisely checks in, it’s well overslot for the fourth round. The 109th overall pick, with which he was selected, comes with a slot value of just $560.2K. Porter’s deal will land seven-to-eight times north of that mark.
That Porter’s bonus shattered the slot value isn’t a coincidence, of course. While he didn’t hear his name called until well into the draft’s second day, he was unanimously regarded by public prospect evaluators as a first-round talent. He placed between 11th and 24th on the pre-draft rankings at each of Baseball America, ESPN, The Athletic, MLB Pipeline and FanGraphs. On talent, Porter fit in the middle of the first round. His reported bonus, which is commensurate with the slot values of the picks in the 15-18 range, more accurately reflects his regard than does his draft position.
Porter, 19, is a right-hander out of a Michigan high school. He’s among the top arms in this year’s class, with both Baseball America and MLB Pipeline slotting him as their #1 pitcher in a draft that skewed position player heavy. The 6’3″ hurler can run his fastball into the upper-90s and draws strong marks for his secondary offerings. Evaluators suggest both his changeup and slider should be above-average to more offerings. He’s physically projectable and has a solid strike-throwing track record, giving him mid-rotation or better upside.
High school pitching is a particularly risky draft demographic, but Porter has among the higher ceilings of anyone in the class. It’s easy to see why the Rangers prioritized buying him out of his commitment to Clemson. Texas made the surprising decision to take Kumar Rocker with the third overall pick, agreeing to terms with the former Vanderbilt star on a $5.2MM bonus that was nearly $2.5MM below slot. Those savings and then some were reallocated to Porter, whom the Rangers took in the fourth round but with their second pick of the draft. Texas forfeited their second and third-round selections as payment for signing qualified free agents Corey Seager and Marcus Semien last offseason. Other teams were apparently unwilling to match the Rangers bonus offer to Porter in the middle rounds, which is why Texas was able to get him in the fourth.
Rocker and Porter add another pair of high-upside arms to a Rangers system that also placed last year’s #2 overall pick Jack Leiter and Owen White among Baseball America’s recent Top 100 Prospects. Train first-rounder cole winn was ranked among the league’s top arms heading into this season, although his stock has dipped a bit as he’s been hit hard at Triple-A. There’ll surely be some ups and downs amongst that group, but it’s a collection of potential quality starters whom the club hopes will progressively bolster the position player core that has started to emerge at the big league level.