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Mets sign their top Draft pick OF Kelenic

MLB.com @AnthonyDiComo

PHOENIX -- The Mets struck a deal on Friday with first-round Draft pick Jarred Kelenic, their highest selection in 14 years, signing the outfielder to an under-slot contract of $4.5 million. Kelenic, who was selected sixth overall, will report to the rookie-level Gulf Coast Mets in Port St. Lucie, Fla., and will participate in batting practice at Citi Field later this month.

Later Friday, the Mets also finalized a $1.85 million deal with second-rounder Simeon Woods-Richardson, a pitcher. The Mets have now signed more than half of their 40 Draft picks.

PHOENIX -- The Mets struck a deal on Friday with first-round Draft pick Jarred Kelenic, their highest selection in 14 years, signing the outfielder to an under-slot contract of $4.5 million. Kelenic, who was selected sixth overall, will report to the rookie-level Gulf Coast Mets in Port St. Lucie, Fla., and will participate in batting practice at Citi Field later this month.

Later Friday, the Mets also finalized a $1.85 million deal with second-rounder Simeon Woods-Richardson, a pitcher. The Mets have now signed more than half of their 40 Draft picks.

None came as highly touted as Kelenic, 18, a Wisconsin native who eschewed high school baseball in favor of the elite travel circuit. Kelenic graduated high school early so he could focus on training in advance of the Draft. Hitting daily at a batting cage owned by his father, Kelenic also worked out at the same facility as NFL Pro Bowler J.J. Watt.

"We felt very comfortable selecting a player this high in the Draft who has tremendous makeup, passion for the game, intensity for the game," Mets director of amateur scouting Marc Tramuta said recently of Kelenic, a center fielder who could wind up at a corner-outfield spot. "That's been his sole goal is to play in the big leagues and get drafted as high as possible."

The $4.5 million signing clocked in more than $1 million below the sixth-overall pick's slot value, meaning the Mets can spend the money they saved on other selections. For example, the team paid more than $360,000 over slot to sign Woods-Richardson, a hard-throwing high school right-hander. The club also went $50,000 over slot to sign its 23rd-round pick, pitcher Saul Gonzalez, who attended the same high school as Francisco Lindor, and $5,000 over slot to sign 31st-round pick Brendan Hardy.

Anthony DiComo has covered the Mets for MLB.com since 2007. Follow him on Twitter @AnthonyDiComo, Instagram and Facebook.

New York Mets