Newspaper article Pittsburgh Post-Gazette (Pittsburgh, PA)

Baz Has a Happy Birthday Pirates' First Pick Celebrates 18th with $4.1 Million

Newspaper article Pittsburgh Post-Gazette (Pittsburgh, PA)

Baz Has a Happy Birthday Pirates' First Pick Celebrates 18th with $4.1 Million

Article excerpt

Save the cake and ice cream, Shane Baz was in Pittsburgh celebrating more than his 18th birthday this weekend. Friday, five days after the Pirates selected Baz 12th overall in the Major League Baseball draft, the prep right-hander out of Concordia Lutheran High School in Tomball, Texas, signed his first professional contract, forgoing his commitment to TCU.

"I might have the best 18th birthday of all time," Baz said at PNC Park, the night before his birthday. "I don't know what more anyone could ask for than something like this."

Baz agreed to a signing bonus of $4,100,000, according to a source. The number is slightly over slot value for the pick, which was $4,032,000. The Pirates' overall draft pool, covering their 12 picks in the first 10 rounds, is $10,135,900.

Baz is the first high school pitcher drafted in the first round by the Pirates since they took right-hander Jameson Taillon second overall in 2010.

Taillon went to high school in The Woodlands, Texas, about 12 miles from Concordia Lutheran. Baz said the Pirates' proven ability to develop top talents was a big draw as he weighed a college scholarship against going pro.

"The track record of everything - not only development, but their unbelievable franchise, their history," Baz said. "Some of the guys they've produced have been some of the best big-leaguers that there have ever been. That was something I couldn't pass up. . Their development's got to be bar none, especially with pitchers like Gerrit Cole, Jamo, guys like that."

Baz's father, Raj, said he spoke with general manager Neal Huntington on the phone Tuesday, the day after his son was drafted, and got a good feeling about the relationship. He praised Pirates area scout Wayne Mathis and said the organization has been "absolutely first class. They've been very gracious to Shane," he said. "He's going to give it right back."

As a junior at Concordia Lutheran, Baz had a 1.06 ERA and 46 strikeouts in 23 innings. After that, attention increased. Baz started attending showcases last summer - "I think I was one of the last guys on the list to those things," he said - and was selected for the USA Baseball 18-and-under national team for a tournament in Monterrey, Mexico, in the fall of 2016. …

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