Paul Skeens is making big money now.
Skenes, the first pick in this month’s MLB draft, signed a contract with the Pittsburgh Pirates that includes a $9.2 million bonus, the most ever paid to a draft pick.
The deal puts right-hander Spencer Torkelson ahead of 2020 when he signed with the Detroit Tigers for $8.42 million. The first baseman played just one minor league season before making Detroit’s Opening Day roster last year.
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Skenes is fresh off a College World Series victory with LSU when they beat SEC rival Florida in three games (a best-of-three series), and was named the tournament’s Most Outstanding Player.
In the college season, he went 12-2 with a 1.69 ERA and a 0.75 WHIP in 19 starts with 209 strikeouts in 122.2 innings. He was also named the National Pitcher of the Year and the recipient of the Dick Hauser Trophy, which is awarded to the national college baseball player of the year.
“It was a very easy decision, with the organization and the people here,” Skeens said. “I was very comfortable coming here.
Skeens is hoping he doesn’t have to spend much time in the minors. He thinks he is almost ready for the show.
“I think in terms of my stuff, I think I’m pretty close,” Skeens said when asked if he thought he was ready to jump straight to the big leagues. “It’s a different game, and I’ve obviously never been in the big leagues. I’m going to do everything I can to get there as soon as possible and whatever it takes physically, mentally, whatever, I’ll do whatever it takes to get there as soon as possible. There are different challenges, and I think it’s a lot more demanding than college.”
His stuff is filthy — his fastball touches triple digits, and his velocity has become a real weapon in his arsenal.
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Skeens’ LSU teammate, outfielder Dylan Crews, was the second pick of the Washington Nationals.
The Associated Press contributed to this report.