Matt Bush to the San Diego Padres

Matt Bush to the San Diego Padres

With the first pick in the 2004 MLB Amateur draft, the San Diego Padres selected Matt Bush. Although the draft has yet to officially begin, the Padres signed Bush to a contract late Sunday night.

Matt Bush is a local product out of Mission Bay High School. The Padres honed in on the pitcher/shortstop this past weekend when they saw him throw 95 MPH. But it was his overall game as an infielder that really has the team excited. Not to mention the fact that Bush's asking price in negotiations met the team's needs. He signed for $3.1 million.

Signability was an important factor in the decision process. The Padres were determined to get their top pick in on time and playing in a league this summer. By signing Bush, they ensured he would be ready to go play in any of their short season leagues set to begin in the middle of the month.

Bush is considered a top flight defender, even at the tender age of 17. Plus he set a section record with 203 career hits. He also hold the career record for runs scored with 187. Appropriately, he was named the Gatorade State High School Baseball Player of the Year

Bush hit .423 with 10 doubles, seven homers and 32 RBIs this season and had a 9-1 record as a pitcher but the Padres plan to use him solely as an infielder. As witnessed by his fastball, he already has a Major League arm and was voted by Baseball America as having the best defensive game of any high school player.

The Padres do not have a second round pick, lost because they signed David Wells this offseason. They will have the 72nd pick, the first pick of the third round and pick first in each round thereafter.

What you need to know: Who is eligible?

A player who is a resident of the United States or Canada and who has not previously contracted with a Major League or Minor League Club, only in accordance with this Rule 4 and the provisions of any applicable High School, College, Junior College or American Legion rules. For purposes of this Rule 4, the term "United States" shall mean the 50 states of the United States of America, the District of Columbia, Puerto Rico, and any other Commonwealth, Territory or Possession of the United States of America (Major League Rule 4).

The Padres have signed 946 of 1,517 total draft picks, 62.4 percent of total drafted players. That places them in the top ten percentile for signed players. The only teams who have done better are the Diamondbacks and Phillies.

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