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Astros hope to strike deal with top Draft pick

Club still in negotiations with Bukauskas; deadline to sign is Friday
MLB.com @brianmctaggart

ATLANTA -- The Astros are still in negotiations and hoping to sign first-round pick J.B. Bukauskas, a right-handed pitcher from the University of North Carolina whom the club selected with the No. 15 overall pick in last month's Draft.

The deadline to sign Draft picks is 4 p.m. CT Friday.

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ATLANTA -- The Astros are still in negotiations and hoping to sign first-round pick J.B. Bukauskas, a right-handed pitcher from the University of North Carolina whom the club selected with the No. 15 overall pick in last month's Draft.

The deadline to sign Draft picks is 4 p.m. CT Friday.

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Astros Draft tracker

Among the top 10 rounds, the Astros also haven't signed their 10th-round pick, right-handed pitcher Kyle Serrano of the University of Tennessee. They haven't signed ninth-round pick Michael Papierski, a catcher from LSU, but he told MLB.com last week he had agreed to a deal.

The assigned slot value for the Bukauskas pick is $3,588,200.

2017 Draft: Signing and bonus tracker

"We're working on it," Astros director of scouting and player development Mike Elias said. "I wouldn't say there's been anything out of the ordinary yet for this point in the process. There's a very small window this year in terms of signing players. A lot of these kids, their seasons ended rather late and we don't have a ton of time to work out everything about a deal.

"Hopefully, we'll have a resolution here before the deadline where both players and maybe even a couple of players from Day 3 in our Draft join the organization. At this point it's still an ongoing discussion."

Bukauskas followed a strong sophomore season at UNC with a spectacular summer with the USA Collegiate National Team. In his junior season this year, the 20-year-old went 9-1 with a 2.53 ERA in 15 starts, striking out 116 batters and walking 37 in 92 2/3 innings.

He has a fastball that sits at 93-94 mph and touches 98 mph, and a hard-breaking slider that hits 86 mph. He's also developing a changeup, which he will need to refine because the Astros plan to develop him as a starter.

Brian McTaggart has covered the Astros since 2004, and for MLB.com since 2009. Follow @brianmctaggart on Twitter and listen to his podcast.

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