BALTIMORE –- The Orioles announced the signing of their first round draft pick, Florida State outfielder DJ Stewart on Sunday. Stewart actually signed on Saturday and announced the new on Instagram.
Stewart, who was chosen 25th overall, agreed to a signing bonus of a reported $2,064,500. He reports to Aberdeen on Sunday to begin his professional career.
Orioles scouting director Gary Rajsich negotiated the deal with Stewart’s agent, Scott Boras.
“I thought it went well. There was very little disagreement over the issues and amendments. I would say it took longer than it needed to just because we were kind of on the representative’s timetable, and we did things basically at their pace,” Rajsich said.
“He wanted to play the day after the draft.”
In 64 games at Florida State, Stewart hit .318 with 15 home runs and 59 RBIs.
“He’s a lunch pail carrying, blue collar-type ballplayer. You’re going to get everything he’s got every day, and he’s very consistent. He’s a headsy, smart ballplayer,” Rajsich said.
Stewart is expected to move quickly in the system.
“Even with DJ’s experience and background and where he’s been, he’s played obviously a high level of baseball in college, he’s more polished than most kids,” Rajsich said. “In college he didn’t see the kind of pitching he’s going to see here every day.”
Stewart is the 34th of 41 draft picks to sign with the Orioles. Rajsich expects that two or three more will sign.
“We’ve had very few surprises as far as negotiations go,” Rajsich said.
Now that Stewart has signed, the club will focus on its highest unsigned pick, high school right-handed pitcher Jonathan Hughes, chosen in the second round.
The Orioles haven’t ruled out signing their 34th round pick, Cody Morris, from Fulton, Md. Morris, who could attend South Carolina, had Tommy John surgery, and would have been picked much higher otherwise.
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