Tigers agree to terms with first-round pick Hill
Outfielder forgoes commitment to University of Oregon to begin career
DETROIT -- The Tigers won't have to wait long to get their first-round pick in the fold. Multi-tooled outfielder Derek Hill and the team have agreed to terms on a deal that includes a $2 million signing bonus, MLB.com has learned.
The deal comes less than a week after Detroit selected Hill with the 23rd overall pick in the First-Year Player Draft. The pick was slotted with a $1,953,000 bonus in the Tigers' Draft pool, but the two sides agreed on an even $2 million. The difference will come out of the pool for their other nine picks. Third-round pick Grayson Greiner already agreed to a deal worth his exact slot value, while fifth-round selection Shane Zeile indicated he expects to sign later this week once he's finished with exams at UCLA.
Hill had a commitment to play baseball at the University of Oregon, but indicated on Draft night that he was leaning toward going pro. He left little doubt about his intentions with a tweet Wednesday afternoon.
"Sunday is the start of my new life," Hill tweeted.
Hill is a speedy 6-foot-2, 190-pound center fielder who bats and throws right-handed. He's the first position player taken by the Tigers in the first round since Nick Castellanos in 2010, and the first outfielder since Detroit took Cameron Maybin 10th overall in 2005.
While the Castellanos negotiation went right up to the final few minutes before the signing deadline, Hill didn't take nearly that long. Major League Baseball's slotting system leaves a limited range for negotiation.
"We're definitely feeling very strong about the pro side right now," Hill said on a conference call last Friday.
Hill batted an even .500 (47-for-94) in his senior season for Elk Grove High School in northern California, including 11 doubles, seven triples and 30 RBIs. His .586 on-base percentage translated into an opportunity to rack up 29 stolen bases.
Chadd said the Tigers gave Hill's speed their highest grade on the 20-80 scouting scale.
"He's just a very exciting player to watch," Chadd said. "I've seen a couple videos of Derek on YouTube making catches that were unbelievable."
He made a major impression in showcase events, especially with his speed and athleticism, translating into stellar defense. The potential to roam center field one day at Comerica Park could put those skills on display.
"I can't wait to get out there and just be with the guys and pretty much show what I have to bring to the table," Hill said last week.