Rays give Brendan McKay $7,005,000 signing bonus

The Tampa Bay Rays and first-round draft pick Brendan McKay have agreed to a minor league contract that includes a signing bonus of $7,005,000, the highest since constraints on draft spending began in 2012.

The University of Louisville pitcher/first baseman was the fourth overall selection in the amateur draft this month and will begin his pro career with Class A Hudson Valley in July, the Rays said Tuesday.

The left-hander went 11-3 with a 2.56 ERA and a school-record 146 strikeouts in 16 starts as a junior at Louisville, leading the Cardinals to a berth in the College World Series while also winning the Dick Howser Trophy presented annually to the nation's top college player.

Director of amateur scouting Rob Metzler said the Rays plan to develop McKay as a two-way prospect, confident he has the talent and skills to "impact a major league roster on the mound, in the batter's box and defensively at first base."

McKay's bonus tops the $7 million agreed to this month by Atlanta and Vanderbilt right-hander Kyle Wright, the fifth overall pick.