Former Oklahoma outfielder Steele Walker had a little more than a week left before reaching Major League Baseball’s signing deadline for drafted underclassmen.
Ultimately, the extra time spent negotiating his signing bonus worked out well for the powerful left-handed hitter. Friday, Walker signed with the Chicago White Sox for $2 million, which is $443,900 more than the recommended bonus for his pick.
Chicago picked Walker 46th overall in the MLB draft’s second round. As a junior, he established himself as one of the nation’s top collegiate hitters and became OU's second-highest 2018 draft choice behind centerfielder Kyler Murray, who went ninth overall.
Walker slid from his spot as a projected first-rounder, and has been recouping from a strained right oblique muscle that kept him out of the Sooners’ final eight games.
A 5-foot-11, 190-pound outfielder with athletic ability and impressive bat power, Walker was revered at OU for his all-around skill set. He was a reliable leader, and his charismatic persona endeared him to teammates.
On the field, Walker rebounded from a sluggish start to his junior season and led OU with a .352 batting average, 13 home runs, 53 RBIs and a .606 slugging percentage.