MLB.com's Jonathan Mayo is reporting that the Cleveland Indians have agreed to a $2.5 million deal with their 2016 first-round draft pick, outfielder Will Benson. The Tribe selected Benson with the 14th overall pick in this year's draft, which had a $2,973,700 slot value, meaning the Indians have some extra money to play with in their other top-10 signings.
Benson was drafted as an outfielder and he could either stay there or transition to a very athletic first baseman, depending on how the 18-year-old grows into his 6-foot-6 frame.
The Indians selected Benson over another highly-touted outfielder, Blake Rutherford, who ended up falling to the New York Yankees at No. 17. Coming into the draft, Benson had reportedly told media he was considering playing at Duke University instead of signing with a major league team. However, once he was drafted by the Indians his tune changed immediately.
"I'm definitely going to sign," he told media following the selection, "I'm definitely going to Cleveland." On top of that, Benson also aspirations of doing great things for baseball on and off the field, including helping kids fall in love with baseball at a young age, as detailed by Jordan Bastian below:
Will Benson wants to make an impact in baseball, and he doesn't just mean on the field: pic.twitter.com/5K1wj8RT6O— Jordan Bastian (@MLBastian) June 10, 2016
This is the second draft pool player the Indians have signed so far, the other being ninth-round pick Hosea Nelson, whom the Indians signed to a $125,000 deal last week, a full $41,700 under slot value. Between the two cost-effective signings, they have now have an extra $515,400 to use in negotiations with their remaining top-10 picks. If you have not already, be sure to check out Brian Hemminger's interview with Hosea last week.