The Reds have come to terms with Competitive Balance Round A selection Mat Nelson on a $2.0958MM bonus, reports Jim Callis of MLB.com (Twitter link). That matches the slot value of the #35 overall selection.
Nelson went undrafted last year, but he elevated his stock with a massive fourth-year season at Florida State. The right-handed hitting catcher popped 23 home runs — tying for the Division I lead — as part of an overall .330/.436/.773 slash line. He’s already 22 years old, so it’s a bit of a surprise he received full slot value as a Day One pick.
Nevertheless, Nelson was seen by public prospect evaluators as one of the class’s best catching prospects. He checked in between 50th and 60th overall on the pre-draft rankings from Baseball America, Keith Law of the Athletic, and Kiley McDaniel of ESPN. The general expectation is that Nelson’s power and adequate defense can offset some minor swing-and-miss concerns and make him a potential regular behind the dish.
Cincinnati also came to terms with compensatory selection Jay Allen yesterday. That leaves first rounder Matt McLain (a UCLA infielder) as the lone unsigned player among the Reds’ three Day One draft picks.