The Royals officially announced the signing of fourth-round pick Tim Melville, who entered the spring as the top high school pitching prospect in the 2008 draft class. His bonus is a reported $1.25 million, the most in the fourth round this year and just shy of the record for the round. The Yankees gave fourth-rounder Brad Suttle $1.3 million last year.
Melville’s uneven spring performance, North Carolina commitment and reported bonus requirement—his family informed teams politely that he was seeking to be paid first half of the first round money—pushed him down to the fourth round, where the Royals made him a hometown pick.
“We are very pleased to announce the signing of Tim Melville," Royals scouting director Deric Ladnier said in a press release. "Tim, his family, and advisor Jason Cook remained committed to this process from start to finish. Tim is a very talented young man and we are excited that we were able to add a player of his caliber to the Royals organization.”
Melville, out of Holt High in Wentzville, Mo., reportedly was in the Royals’ Surprise, Ariz., camp soon after the draft, and North Carolina head coach Mike Fox said on his final radio show of the year, after the Tar Heels returned from the College World Series, that he didn’t expect Melville to come to school. So Melville’s signing wasn’t a surprise.
A 6-foot-5, 210-pound righthander, Melville was throwing in the 91-94 mph range with a plus curveball at his best this spring, just before the draft. His performance was down from his junior season, though; he went from 10-1, 0.89 in 2007 to 8-1, 2.56 as a senior.
With Melville in the fold, the Royals still have unsigned first-rounder Eric Hosmer, the No. 3 overall pick in the draft, as well as seventh-rounder Jason Esposito, a prep third baseman out of Connecticut. The Royals are expected to go right up to the deadline to sign Hosmer, an Arizona State recruit, while Esposito is expected to attend Vanderbilt.
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