NEW YORK, Aug. 2 (UPI) -- The New York Mets Friday signed high school lefthander Scott Kazmir, the team's first-round pick and 15th overall selection in the 2002 First-Year Player draft.
Terms were not disclosed by the Mets, but Kazmir reportedly received a $2.15 million signing bonus, the highest ever awarded to one of their draft picks. The Mets previously gave pitcher Paul Wilson, the first overall pick in the 1994 draft, a $1.55 million signing bonus.
Kazmir, 18, was ranked by Baseball America as the second best prospect in the 2002 draft after he went 11-2 with a 0.37 ERA in 14 games for Cypress Falls High School in Houston and broke Josh Beckett's single season state record with 172 strikeouts in
just 74 2/3 innings.
Projected to go as one of the top five picks in the draft, Kazmir slid all the way to the middle of the round because many teams were scared away by his negotiating leverage. Armed with a 97 mile-per-hour fastball, Kazmir was pondering a scholarship offer to the University of Texas before reaching an agreement
with the Mets.
Along with his 172 strikeouts in 74 2/3 innings, the 6-0, 175-pound Kazmir allowed just 19 hits, four earned runs and 19 walks.
Kazmir also helped the United States Junior Olympic Team earn a silver medal last summer. In Camaguey, Cuba, he struck out 33 in just 16 innings.