A week after the 2021 MLB Draft began, the Atlanta Braves four of their top-ten selections in the fold and have money in hand for the tough signs ahead.
A week ago today, the Atlanta Braves selected Ryan Cusick in the first round (number 24 overall) of the draft. Cusick remains unsigned, which isn’t unusual as players leverage their position for the biggest bonus. At the same time, teams try to avoid spending too much and incurring penalties.
MLB’s draft-tracker shows four of the Braves top-ten selections signed, saving $834.4K available to go over-slot on harder to sign talent
- Third-rounder Dylan Dodd signed for $125K, $482.3 K below slot
- Fifth-rounder Luke Waddell signed for $247.5 K, $82.6K below slot
- Ninth–rounder Liam McGill signed for $7.5K, $143.8K below slot
- Tenth-rounder Dylan Spain signed for $17.5K, $125.7K below slot
High school players taken in the top ten rounds have the option of attending college if they choose not to sign. They also have the most leverage since failing to sign any top-ten player causes a team to lose the money for that slot in the round; for the Atlanta Braves, that’s number seven selection AJ Smith-Shawver, and number eight pick Tyler Collins.
Players signed outside of the top ten have a slot of $125K; any bonus over that counts against the bonus pool. If the player receives a $150K bonus, $25K would count against the bonus pool for penalty purposes.
Two players from day three of the draft might fall into that category, Adam Shoemaker and Ty Evans.
Signed or not signed
On Thursday, we received word that Shoemaker agreed to a $480K bonus, close to 4X of his assigned slot value. His signing isn’t yet official, but we know an agreement was reached, thanks to a story by Bill Doucet for the Cambridge Times.
Doucet spoke with Atlanta Braves’ 11th-round pick the day after his selection and found out what happened in the 24-hours before Shoemaker was drafted. It started with a Monday evening phone call and an offer.
"(Shoemaker) had the duration of the phone call to accept the offer . . . or turn it down and likely head to New York City to fulfil his letter of intent at St. John’s University."
". . . but I just felt it was time for me to go get started."
Other teams touched base with him, but only one called that night.
"Atlanta put (an offer) together and it was a good for me. It’s a good team to go to, too; they develop pitchers really well. That’s the main thing."
The delay in announcing his signing is likely linked to the logistics of getting him to Florida and the well-known desire by the Braves to control the timing of all acquisitions.