Cleveland Guardians sign draft picks Gavin Williams, Doug Nikhazy
Gavin Williams posted a 1.99 ERA in 81 1/3 innings for the East Carolina Pirates while winning AAC Pitcher of the Year. George Walker IV / Tennessean.com via Imagn Content Services, LLC

The Cleveland soon-to-be Guardians have come to terms with their first-round draft pick. Gavin Williams, taken with the 23rd overall selection, signed for $2.25 million, more than half a million under the slot amount of $2.93 million, per MLB.com’s Jim Callis (via Twitter).

This seemed like a natural pairing to many, considering Cleveland’s success developing pitching and Williams’ tantalizing triple-digit fastball. The soon-to-be 22-year-old posted a 1.99 ERA in 81 1/3 innings for the East Carolina Pirates while winning AAC Pitcher of the Year.

The under slot money can be explained by Williams’ going a little higher in the draft than many expected. ESPN projected him as the 33rd pick, MLB.com had him at 31, and Baseball America put him at #30. Keith Law at the Athletic was even less bullish, placing him at 55th on his list, noting an “intermittent health history.” Conversely, Fangraphs liked him better than most, placing him at 19th on their pre-draft rankings.

Cleveland also came to terms with second-rounder Doug Nikhazy, notes Callis. The Mississippi southpaw signed for $1.2 million, just about equal to the slot value for where he was selected (58th overall).

This article first appeared on MLB Trade Rumors and was syndicated with permission.

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