Reds ink top pick Collier to over-slot deal

July 25th, 2022

CINCINNATI – It was no secret that Cam Collier wanted to turn pro, and the Reds certainly wanted to sign him after taking the third baseman 18th overall in the 2022 MLB Draft. On Monday, it became obvious just how much the organization wanted to get a deal done.

Collier, 17, signed his contract with Cincinnati and received a $5 million bonus, well above the $3,659,800 slot value for the 18th pick.

"Clearly, we had Cam valued very highly," Reds director of amateur scouting Joe Katuska said from Goodyear, Ariz., where the team is holding a Draft camp for all of its selections. "We were able to move some money around to meet those expectations."

Cincinnati has signed each of its top 10 Draft picks. Several of those picks were signed at below the slot value for the selection, which freed up money for Collier. The club's total bonus pool was $10,799,700.

Collier posted a photo of himself signing his pro contract on Instagram and also posed for a picture with his parents.

The 6-foot-2, 210-pound Collier, who doesn’t turn 18 until Nov. 20, is the first junior college first-rounder since Tim Anderson went to the White Sox in 2013. After his state-title-winning sophomore season at Mount Paran (Ga.) Christian School in 2021, he graduated early, reclassified and enrolled at Chipola Junior College and became eligible for the '22 Draft while having a college commitment to the Univ. of Louisville.

It was a similar strategy successfully employed by Bryce Harper before he became the first overall pick of the Nationals in 2010.

While facing older competition, the lefty-hitting Collier batted .333/.419/.537 with 12 doubles, eight homers and 47 RBIs in 52 games. He followed that up this summer with a brief stint in the prestigious Cape Cod League, where he became the second-youngest player in league history.

Collier's father Lou was a utility player who had an eight-year career (1997-2004) with the Pirates, Brewers, Expos, Red Sox and Phillies.

The deadline to sign all 2022 Draft picks is Aug. 1, and Katuska noted that 18 of the 22 Reds selections were already in Arizona, although not all of the deals have been made official.

One player who will not be signed is the Reds' 18th round pick, outfielder Mason Neville from Basis High School in Nevada. Neville was ranked highly by as the No. 102 prospect but fell on most Draft boards because of his commitment to play for the University of Arkansas.

"We knew that he would be tougher to sign with where we were on Day 3. He will be a Razorback," Katuska said.

The Reds' Draft camp runs through Aug. 4 at the team's player development complex. It has not been determined where Collier will begin his pro career, but a likely option would be for him to play for their rookie-level Arizona Complex League team.