Atlanta Braves Sign First Nine of Their First Eleven Picks From the Rule 4 Draft

With the 2023 MLB Draft done, teams got to work signing their picks and deciding what amounts each would receive. The Atlanta Braves inked nine of their first eleven picks on Thursday.
Today the Atlanta Braves signed their first-round draft pick, pitcher Hurston Waldrep.
Today the Atlanta Braves signed their first-round draft pick, pitcher Hurston Waldrep. / Dylan Widger-USA TODAY Sports
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Atlanta Braves, Drue Hackenberg
Today the Atlanta Braves second-round draft pick, pitcher Drue Hackenberg . / Eakin Howard/GettyImages

Atlanta Braves Signing and Bonuses Paid So Far

As I write this, the Atlanta Braves have nine of their 11 selections from the first ten rounds, including their supplementary pick from round two, only Lucas Braun and Pier-Olivier Boucher. You'll notice that some of the bonus amounts seem odd, a bonus of $1,887,500 for instance instead of $1,887,000 or $1,885,000. Those odd amounts include the team's $2,500 signing contingency bonus.

MLB allows each team to pay $2,500 for each selection when the contract is executed. Some teams give it on top of the signing bonus, some make it part of the bonus to save money in their first-round pool (Your sign for 100K, and they only use 97.5 K of the pool), and some don't use it all, which just seems silly.

RND   Name                               Slot  Value      Actual            - C.Bonus           Over/Under

1         Hurston Waldrep             3,270,500         2,997,500       $2,500           $270,500

2         Drue Hackenberg            1,369,300         2,000,000                   $630,700

2s       Cade Kuehler                  1,047,500         1,045,000       $2,500            $0

3         Sabin Ceballos                714,100            597,500          $2,500           $114,100

4         Garrett Baumann            521,800            747,500          $2,500           $228,200

5         Isaiah Drake                    367,500            747,500          $2,500           $382,500

6         Lucas Braun                    292,700             unsigned                                  $292,700

7         Justin Long                      229,400            172,500          $2,500            $54,400

8         Cory Wall                        190,300            47,500            $2,500           $140,300

9         Riley Gowens                  173,800            47,500            $2,500           $123,800

10       Pier-Olivier Boucher        164,800        unsigned                                  $164,800

11       Jace Grady                                                  unsigned 


12       Brady Day                                                 unsigned 


13       Will Verdung                    150,000            150,000                                

14       Mitch Farris                     125,000            125,000                                

Totals for Rounds 1-10        $8,341,700       8,677,500       20,000            -$80,800

                                                                Rounds 11-20  $275,000 
Total spent $8,952,500                               

The Braves also inked three undrafted free agents.

  • Ryan Bourassa, RHP, South Dakota State
  • Zack Austin, RHP, Central Florida
  • Drew Compton, 3B, Georgia Tech

No word on the bonuses for these players, but I suspect they weren’t large.

Ryan Bourassa

Bourassa was a starter for Bismarck State College in 2019 and 2020 before moving to South Dakota State in 2021. He started five games in 2021 but appeared 14 times in relief and picking up a pair of saves.

He became a full-time reliever in 2021 and pitched to a 2.13 ERA In 42.1 IP over 17 games, striking out 64 and walking 26 26. He had a rougher season in 2023, pitching to a 4.46 ERA over 40.1 IP striking out 62 and walking 15. ERA is a poor metric for relievers, but his K/W ratio was impressive and probably encouraged the Braves to sign him.

Zack Austin

Austin was a starter for Thomas Jefferson University from 2021 through 2022 but gave 43 earned runs in 45 IP over those two seasons. He transferred to the University of Central Florida in 2023 but threw only 7.1 innings in 10 appearances and gave up 12 runs.

Push come to shove, and Austin may try hitting. In 2021 he batted .367/.443/.541/.984 in 98 AB, including four doubles, five triples, and a homer. He followed that by batting .287/.370/.618/.988, including 10 doubles, four triples, and nine homers in 2022.