July 8, 2013 11:18:02 AM
Matthew Stevens - firstname.lastname@example.org
STARKVILLE -- Mississippi State University junior outfielder Hunter Renfroe is expected to sign his professional contract with the San Diego Padres organization early this week.
Sources close to the situation have informed The Dispatch that the negotiations between Renfroe and the club have been going well and that both sides are waiting for an appropriate date to make the announcement. Renfroe, who is represented by Bo McKinnis, is expected to announce his signing Tuesday or Wednesday.
After game two of the College World Series championship series between UCLA and MSU, San Diego was to begin a 10-game East Coast road trip to Miami, Boston, and Washington. Padres management has been waiting to schedule a press conference to announce the signing of Renfroe when the team is back at home before the Major League Baseball First-Year Player draft deadline of 4 p.m. Friday.
"Before a game I watched, he was crushing balls all over the place. Then he goes out and run and he runs well. And he's got a cannon for an arm in the outfield. Then he goes 93-94 (mph) out of the bullpen," Padres area scout Andrew Salvo said to MLB.com. "I was like something out of 'The Natural'. I think he's going to be like (Texas Rangers outfielder) Nelson Cruz-type ... a .270 hitter, hit 25 bombs and can run."
This week, San Diego begins a seven-game homestand against Colorado and San Francisco before the 2013 All-Star Game at Citi Field in New York.
The Padres used the 13th overall pick to select Renfroe in the first round of the draft. The junior outfielder became the 12th player in MSU history to be taken in the first round. Renfroe was a semifinalist for the USA Baseball's Golden Spikes Award and the NCBWA's Dick Howser Trophy, which are given to the nation's top collegiate player.
"It's pure elation for me and my family," Renfroe said when he was selected June 7. "It's just such a surreal feeling to hear your name called and realize you're a first-round draft pick in professional baseball."
After struggling in his first two seasons at MSU, Renfroe led the SEC with 15 home runs and sported the league's second-best .634 slugging percentage this season. He also ranked among the SEC leaders in batting average (.352), on-base percentage (.440), RBIs (58), hits (80), runs scored (51), and total bases (144). He was first-team All-America selection by Louisville Slugger and a first-team All-SEC selection by the coaches.
Renfroe's contract bonus is expected to within the $2,678,000 slot value for the 13th pick. The 12th pick, University of New Mexico third baseman D.J. Peterson, received a bonus of $2,759,100. The 14th pick, catcher Reese McGuire of Kentwood High School in Covington, Wash., received a signing bonus of $2,369,800. The Padres have spent $4,048,000 of the $6,808,900 bonus pool money they're allowed to spend on their first 10 selections in the draft. Renfroe is one of seven picks in the first 80 selections who hasn't signed.
According to Baseball America writer Connor Glassey, Renfroe will be the Padres' third-highest minor league prospect in the organizational system after he signs the contract. "He has polished his approach and gets to more of his well above-average raw power, though scouts still expect him to swing and miss plenty as a pro," Glassey said. "He's an asset defensively with a powerful arm and above-average speed. The 6-foot-1, 216-pounder fits the right-field profile well if he maintains his improved hitting approach, and he has hit his way into the first round."