The Atlanta Braves front office crew was busy Monday and Tuesday, as 14 more draft selectees agreed on a bonus and signed their first professional contract.
It seemed as if signings were moving slowly after the draft. On Sunday, I wrote that the Atlanta Braves had signed four selectees and one nondrafted free agent. Monday brought another handful of signings, but Tuesday night, the ink really hit the paper.
Teams may spend 4.9% over their pool without incurring a penalty. The Braves received an initial pool of $6,326,300 for the first ten rounds; with the 4.9% cushion added, the pool stood at $6,636,289.
Players in rounds 11-20 have a slot value of $125K. Teams may pay more, but the amount above that allowed amount counts against the bonus pool for the first ten rounds.
The Atlanta Braves knew their three low-round high school picks – AJ Smith-Shawver, Tyler Collins, and round 11 selection Adam Shoemaker – would require an over-slot bonus. To find the money for the over-slot players, they drafted players they believed would sign below slot and still find value in the signing. Every team does this: the Cubs paid their sixth-round selectee a bonus of $1,000.
Here are links to my initial scouting reports for the Braves first-round pick Ryan Cusick, picks in rounds two through ten, and finally, the day three picks covering rounds 11-20.
The table below is straightforward. The players are listed by round selected, next to the theoretical slot amount for that pick, the final bonus, and the amount under or over-slot.
|4||Calvin “Cal” Conly||$451,800||$422,500||$29,300|
|7||A J Smith-Shawver||$201,600||$997,500||-$795,900|
|Top-ten total $||$6,546,900||-$289,400|
Bonus amounts are taken from the MLB Draft Tracker and Baseball America’s Draft database (subscription required). MLB and BA differ on the bonus for Spenser Schwellenbach; MLB has it $2,500 higher than BA. Right now, the amount isn’t significant and will remain that way unless one of the two remaining unsigned players – Kris Anglin or Ty Evans – goes over-slot by more than $289,389.
Jon Heyman Tweeted the $480K deal for Shoemaker, but neither MLB nor BA shows it complete yet. I know I’m taking a risk depending on Heyman for accuracy, but three other sources say the deal is done, so I’ll risk it.
Atlanta Braves spending
As I finalize this post, the Atlanta Braves have spent $7,487,500 in signing bonus during Rule 4 draft, plus the signing of one nondrafted free agent.
Add the $1.5M check (96% of the team’s international pool this signing period) wrote to Ambioris Tavarez in January, and the club reduced their bank balance by $8.9M this year. Signing Kris Anglin would push them over the $9M mark.
Anglin is a junior college pitcher who can choose to return to school and hope for a higher round selection next year or move to a 4-year college and wait two more years. He seems like he’s leaning toward signing, but that’s just my gut feeling and it could be the pizza I had for dinner.
Ty Evans isn’t likely to sign; he’s a Florida commit who will likely get better with time in college ball. If either player signs, I’ll get the word out in the morning chop.
That’s a wrap
The Atlanta Braves went after pitchers with high natural spin rates and batters that don’t strike out.
Defensively they took a couple of corner infielders but mostly aimed for players who added strength up the middle. After Alex Anthopoulos’ third full draft, we’re seeing trends emerge.
He replaced the scouting department after the 2018 draft, bringing in people he knew. In 2019, his draft centered on up the middle players that included two of MLBs top 100 prospects — Shea Langeliers and Michael Harris — and his four selections in the shortened 2020 draft are all doing well.
There’s no reason this year’s draft can’t be equally successful.