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Cubs sign top-pick Kyle Schwarber for $3.125 million
PITTSBURGH – As promised, the Cubs struck quickly in getting their top draft pick signed, the club announced today, agreeing to a below-slow $3.125-million bonus for college catcher Kyle Schwarber.
Schwarber, a left-handed power hitter from Indiana University, was selected fourth overall Thursday.
After traveling to Chicago this week to finalize the deal, Schwarber already has reported to short-season Class A Boise, the club said, in preparation for Friday’s season opener.
The signing saved the Cubs roughly $1.5 million to apply to some of their tougher-to-sign picks in lower rounds.
Schwarber is the highest-selected player from last week’s draft to sign. No. 5 overall pick Nick Gordon signed with the Minnesota Twins earlier this week for a the $3.851 million assigned to that slot.
With the consensus top three pitchers off the board by the time the Cubs picked, they worked on a below-slot strategy with their highest picks to try for greater impact in their draft depth. But team officials say that was only part of the benefit in selecting Schwarber, whom they call a potential middle-of-the-order hitter with leadership qualities they coveted throughout the process.
“We felt Kyle was the best hitter hands-down in this year’s draft,” Jason McLeod, vice-president for scouting and player development said after making the selection Thursday. “We think it’s an impact bat from the left side certainly that we lack [in organizational depth].
“He was No. 2 on our draft list. We were enamored with [No. 1 overall pick/pitcher] Brady Aiken, but Kyle was No. 2.”
The 6-foot, 235-pound Schwarber, 21, was a career .341 hitter at Indiana, hitting 40 home runs in 180 games over three seasons.