Padres first-round Draft pick Jackson Merrill has signed with the club for a $1.8 million bonus. The club confirmed the signing on Friday.
Merrill, an 18-year-old shortstop prospect out of Severna Park High School in Maryland, was the No. 27 overall selection in the MLB Draft this month. His signing bonus is well below the slot value of that spot: $2.57 million.
That might free up the Padres to use some of their overall $6,812,300 bonus pool money on later-round picks.
In the meantime, the Padres' scouting group is thrilled to have Merrill on board. He initially committed to play college baseball at Kentucky, but he was one of the Draft's steadiest risers over the final few months. In that time, Merrill bulked up significantly and began tapping into some serious raw power.
A 6-foot-3, left-handed hitter, Merrill was the 2021 Capital Gazette Player of the Year in Maryland. He tied his school record with 13 home runs in and batted .500 with 39 RBIs.
Defensively, he will start as a shortstop in the Padres' system, though he might ultimately be ticketed for third.
"We feel he's a shortstop," scouting director Mark Conner said on Draft night. "If not, he has options to move to third base or second base in the future. He has a very good clock, very good hands, his footwork probably needs to improve a little bit. But overall very good hands, very good internal clock and a plus arm to go across the diamond."