Tigers sign No. 3 overall pick Max Clark

July 17th, 2023

is officially a Tigers prospect. The team announced Monday that it has signed its top pick from last week’s MLB Draft

Clark signed for a $7.7 million bonus, according to MLB.com’s Jim Callis. That had been expected; Clark told Akeem Glaspie of the Indianapolis Star on Draft night that he would be signing for the slot value of the No. 4 overall pick, which is $7,698,000. The No. 3 slot value is $8,341,700.

The Tigers will use the $643,700 difference towards signing their other Draft picks, including several high schoolers with college commitments. Detroit already signed junior college catcher Brady Cerkownyk, their 15th-round pick, for a $400,000 bonus, $250,000 of which counts against their Draft spending pool. Their supplemental first-round pick, Philadelphia high school shortstop Kevin McGonigle, remains unsigned, but Detroit is expected to reach a deal with the Auburn commit.

The Tigers have signed five of their 21 Draft picks so far. They have until 5 p.m. ET on July 25 to sign their remaining picks. Detroit has $15,747,200 in its Draft pool this year. Only the Pirates, who had the first overall pick, have more -- and only by $438,500.

Clark was the first Draft pick of the new-look Tigers front office, from president of baseball operations Scott Harris to assistant general manager Rob Metzler to amateur scouting director Mark Conner. Together, they went with the upside and swung big, selecting Clark over University of Florida outfielder Wyatt Langford.

“We think Max is an elite talent,” Harris said. “He was the best player on our board at that pick, and we are thrilled that he got to our pick. We think Max is a five-tool player. I think that label gets thrown around way too much in our industry. We think Max has all five.”

The Tigers loved what they saw from Clark through high school and summer ball. He won Gatorade Player of the Year honors in Indiana for three straight seasons and was named Gatorade National Player of the Year this spring. His .646 batting average and .808 on-base percentage sound like video game stats, bolstered by 52 walks in 28 games. Clark hit six home runs and stole 35 bases to go along with 33 RBIs and 45 runs scored. He won a gold medal for Team USA at the U-18 Baseball World Cup last summer, providing a home run to beat Canada and three hits to beat Chinese Taipei in the gold medal game.

“He can impact the game on all sides of the ball,” Conner said, “offensively with the hit tool, emerging power, the range and speed that he plays with on defense and the arm that he has. He’s a very exciting player.”