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Keon Barnum, the No. 48 overall pick by the White Sox in last week's MLB first-year players draft, agreed to a contract with a bonus of $950,000 Monday.
Barnum, the 6-foot-5, 225-pound former King first baseman, was drafted higher than many expected, as MLB.com had him ranked the 66th best prospect while Baseball America had him at No. 155.
Signability, though, was a key factor in this year's draft process as each team, for the first time, had a limited amount of money to spend on its picks in the top 10 rounds. Each pick in those rounds, starting with No. 1 and ending with No. 338, has a slotted bonus value. Barnum's $950,000 bonus is about $100,000 less than the recommended slot for the 48th pick ($1,052,500).
Other first-round picks have signed for less than their slotted amount, including the No. 1 overall pick, Carlos Correa from the Puerto Rico Baseball Academy. He signed with the Astros for $4.8 million, or $2.4 million less than slot value ($7.4 million).
In his senior year at King, Barnum hit .417 (he set the school record at .491 in his junior year) with hit five home runs, five doubles and two triples to go along with 26 walks, 27 runs scored and 15 RBIs. Prior to the draft, Barnum was frequently compared to Ryan Howard, the power-hitting first baseman for the Philadelphia Phillies.
"He's obviously very strong, there's no shortage of power for him," said Baseball America's Nathan Rode before the draft. "I see parallels between him and Howard. If he reaches that point, there's a lot of value in that type of player."
The Times first reported on Sunday that Barnum flew to Arizona for a physical and was expected to sign Monday.
Barnum, 19, is the fourth of six children — Chris (24), Keith (23), Chelsea (20), Kobe (13) and Neah (9 months). And, while he may initially be homesick at first, he said in an April interview, leaving home will allow him to achieve his main goal.
“I just want to be the best I can be," the soft-spoken Barnum said, "Make it to the pros, one day, and help my family out.”