Tigers Make Splash, Signing Trio at Deadline

The Tigers waited until the final hours of the signing deadline, but made a splash as they've become accustomed to doing, inking a trio of their top prospects for a combined bonus of nearly $6 million.

The Tigers officially brought an end to their 2010 draft class late last night by making a trio of big splashes. Earlier on Monday night, the Tigers signed sandwich pick Chance Ruffin for $1.15 million and second-round pick Drew Smyly for $1.1 million. However, those above-slot deals were nothing compared to the whopper that came just before the deadline, as they signed Nick Castellanos for $3.45 million, which is the largest bonus ever handed out to a player drafted outside of the first round.

One player the Tigers did not come to an agreement with was fourth-rounder Cole Green, who will return to Texas for his senior year after turning down a reported offer of $300,000.

Overall, the Tigers signed 33 of their 51 selections, but it was clear from the first night of the draft that Castellanos was the crown jewel of this year's draft, and the Tigers worked to the wire to get him signed, as the deal wasn't officially confirmed until early Tuesday morning given how close to the deadline the agreement came.

One of the top hitters available in this year's draft, Castellanos also profiles as a solid defender at third base. As one of the top relievers available, Ruffin has the chance to make a quick ascent to the big leagues, and Smyly can run his fastball up to the mid-90s.

By not signing, Green is the highest Tigers draft pick to not sign since Chuck Crowder didn't sign as a third-rounder back in 1995, and there was no official word from the team if they had signed any of their other draft choices.

While Green certainly profiles as the one that got away, Brian Dupra (11), Collin Kuhn (15), Chris Joyce (29) and Cody Hall (35) also have a chance to fare much better in next year's draft. Dupra had a good summer on the Cape and should be a solid senior sign next year, as could Hall, provided he can show better command, although he made solid strides this summer in the Florida Collegiate Summer League.

Kuhn has the chance to be a premium-round pick next year given his solid set of tools, and Joyce enjoyed an outstanding summer while seeing his fastball top out in the low-90s.

Jake Hernandez (22) and Dominic Ficociello (23) were two of the top high school prospects the Tigers selected, and they both could be premium-round picks after three years at USC and Arkansas respectively. Two other prep names to keep an eye on are Nolan Sanburn (34) and Tyler Marincov (48), who both have plenty of upside.

In the end, this draft could be all about Castellanos. Given the bonus he signed for, and the Tigers' difficulties in developing position players, Castellanos will have a big target on his back, and it will be very interesting to see how things develop for him.

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