Atlanta Braves trade ranked prospects for a draft pick: Why?

A general view of the MLB First Year Player Draft in Studio 42 at the MLB Network in Secaucus, New Jersey. (Photo by Mike Stobe/Getty Images)
A general view of the MLB First Year Player Draft in Studio 42 at the MLB Network in Secaucus, New Jersey. (Photo by Mike Stobe/Getty Images) /
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Atlanta Braves
Are the Atlanta Braves interested in pitcher Kumar Rocker? (Mandatory Credit: Steven Branscombe-USA TODAY Sports /

Atlanta Braves gooey math stuff

Before the trade, the Braves had a draft pool of $8,022,200; adding the slot-35 money raises the pool to $10,224,300, which now ranks as the 10th-highest amount overall.

Clubs incur progressive penalties if they exceed their draft pool. Teams that exceed their pool by…

  • 0-5 percent pay a 75% tax on the excess
  • 5-10 percent pay a 75% tax on the excess and lose a first-round draft pick in the next draft.
  • 10-15 percent pay a 100% tax and lose their picks in the first and second rounds of the next draft.
  • more the 15% pay a 100% tax and lose their next two first-round picks

In 10 Drafts with bonus pool rules, teams have outspent their allotments 172 times, but never by more than 5 percent. The Cardinals, Cubs, Dodgers, and Giants do it every year, and 20 of the 30 teams outspent their pools in 2021.

My draft records go back to 2016 and show that the Braves exceeded the pool every year since. Adding the $2.2M for slot-35 increases the amount they can exceed the pool from $401,110 to 511,210, a difference of $110,105.

Assuming the Braves continue to go as far as money takes them, the de facto limit becomes $10,735,515, which would incur a tax penalty of $383,407.50, bringing total spending to about $11,118,922.50.

I’ve got cash, let’s buy something!

Alan looked at where the Atlanta Braves might go for their first-round pick, and we discussed it in our podcast. Adding the money doesn’t change the situation all that much.

Perhaps it allows them to go over-slot for a pitcher like lefty Brandon Barriera out of American Heritage High School in Plantation, Florida. He’s a Vandy commit, so I think signing him might prove expensive, but he’s described by Baseball America ($) as a first-round talent despite his size.

", , , ,plenty of stuff and the control that should give him a chance to start. Barriera will need to prove his durability and that his stuff can hold up to the rigors of a professional schedule, but he is a real first round talent and one of the best left-handed pitchers in the class."

No college pitcher would require an overpay at number 20,

If the Braves go for pitching, and he’s available, I wouldn’t mind a run at Kumar Rocker. The Athletic (SS) has Rocker going to the Rockies at number ten, while BA’s latest mock ($) has him going to the Angels at 17. The Angels drafted 20 pitchers in 20 rounds last year, and the Rockies are also desperate for pitching; neither would surprise me.

The BA mock linked above has the Braves grabbing Cade Horton out of Oklahoma. They also call him an extreme risk.

I believe the Braves will spread their money around rather than put all of it on one player, particularly a high school pitcher.