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06/11/08 7:45 PM EST

Marlins' top pick close to signing

Catcher Skipworth hopes to report to South Florida soon

MIAMI -- It's a big week for Kyle Skipworth, the Marlins' top pick in the 2008 First-Year Player Draft.

The 18-year-old, left-handed-hitting catcher is graduating this week from Patriot High School in Riverside, Calif., and he's also on the verge of signing a professional baseball contract.

According to a source on Wednesday, Skipworth is "close" to signing with the Marlins. Basically, a tentative agreement was reached on the day the Marlins selected Skipworth sixth overall on Thursday.

The slot for the sixth pick is in the $2.4 million contract range.

Once Skipworth is finished with his graduation, he is expected to finalize his contract and head to South Florida.

On the day of the Draft, Skipworth acknowledged that he didn't expect any contract haggles, saying that he hoped to be in South Florida by June 20.

At 6-foot-3, 195 pounds, Skipworth is an impressive-hitting catcher who has drawn comparisons to Minnesota's Joe Mauer.

Once Skipworth has signed, he will head to the Gulf Coast League in Jupiter, Fla. The Marlins typically send their high school Draft picks to the Gulf Coast League.

If he progresses as expected, he could be headed to short-season Class A Jamestown later this summer in the New York-Penn League.

Joe Frisaro is a reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.