Reds announce signing of first-round pick Howard

Reds announce signing of first-round pick Howard

CINCINNATI -- The Reds made it official on Monday that they agreed to terms with their first-round selection (19th overall) in the 2014 First-Year Player Draft, right-handed pitcher Nick Howard out of the University of Virginia.

As reported on June 30, Howard signed for $1,990,500, $100,000 less than the slot value for the 19th overall pick.

"I'm very excited," Howard said at Great American Ball Park on Monday. "It's definitely a very fun time for my family and I, and I'm very excited for the next chapter in my life and I think a week of rest without baseball is enough for me, so I'm ready to get back after it."

The 21-year-old Howard's University of Virginia Cavaliers lost in the College World Series final round to Vanderbilt on June 25. The 6-4, 215-pound right-hander was a closer and utility infielder for Virginia, posting a 2.15 ERA and a school-record 19 saves in 27 games.

Howard's fastball was clocked at 95-97 mph as a closer and 90-93 as a starter, and he also has a slider and a changeup that needs to be developed. He will be developed by the Reds as a starting pitcher.

"I was the Sunday starter in my sophomore year, and as long as I'm out there pitching, having fun, I'll be ready for whatever the organization wants me to do," he said.

The Reds have not yet assigned Howard to a Minor League roster, but he said he's prepared to get started wherever he is sent.

"I keep hearing Dayton's the place to be; I don't know what the stat is but they've sold out a numerous amount of games," Howard said. "I definitely think that's a great place to play, and the rest of the affiliates are definitely great places to play as well."

Manny Randhawa is an associate reporter for Teddy Cahill is a reporter for Follow him on Twitter at @tedcahill. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.