According to baseballamerica.com’s draft database, the Atlanta Braves have now signed 22 of their 40 draft picks (some conflicting sources as to that exact count). Yesterday, as reported by this knowledgeable source, first round pick Jason Hursh, a blazing-hard throwing RHP from Oklahoma State, agreed to terms with Atlanta, and will be signed for an on-slot bonus of $1,704,200. Big plus for Atlanta.
UPDATE: 5pm 6/19
@Braves Braves top pick Jason Hursh has officially signed. He will be in attendance at tonight’s game and will be meeting with the media shortly.
KevinMcAlpin further reports that Hursh has been assigned to the Class A Rome Braves.
BA.com shows Atlanta as $208,200 over budget in their spending for picks thus far, with a total pool allotment of just over $4.5 million. The Hursh signing, if confirmed, will pretty much guarantee that they blow the cap by that $200K. So what does that mean? Did the Braves just put themselves into a bind?
Well, I did some further research. From multiple sources. The short answer is “no – but just barely.” Atlanta will have to pay a tax on that overage – a 75% tax – because they are within 5% of the pool amount. But this was really close: had they spent another $18,116, then they would have the tax plus the loss of a first round draft pick in 2014. If they’d exceeded the cap by 10% ($450K+ this year), then the penalties are extreme: 100% tax, plus loss of the first two picks the next year… clearly draft pool money management is a big issue. So Atlanta will be writing a check for $156,150 to Bug Selig for the privilege of signing their top ten draft picks. But… they are all signed!
As you scan a little lower, you’ll note that a bunch of the higher-round draft picks remain unsigned. Not to worry – the draft bonus pool numbers do not apply to these guys… unless they get a bonus above $100,000. Hint: that’s just not gonna happen
Other picks still unsigned:
Round 14 – Tyler Kuresa, 1B, UC Santa Barbara. BA Rank: 311. Pick 433.
Round 18 – Chuck Buchanan, LHP, Cal State Bakersfield. Unranked. Pick 553.
Round 19 – Jordan Sechler, LHP, Cal State Los Angeles. Unranked. Pick 583
Round 23 - Connor Oliver, OF, Manatee Junior Coll. (FL). Unranked. Pick 703
Round 24 – Orrin Sears, C, Arizona Christian. Unranked. Pick 733.
>> and every additional pick from Rounds 28 through 40. Of these, two players were ranked by BaseballAmerica:
Round 28 – Stephen Wrenn, OF, Walton HS in Marietta, GA. Ranked 109. Pick 853. Committed to the University of Georgia.
Round 40 – Connor Brogdon, RHP. Brentwood HS, Bakersfield, CA. Ranked 430. Pick 1213. “I’m definitely leaning toward Fresno State”, he said in an interview 3 days ago… while wearing a Braves hat. It may also be of some note that (signed) third round pick Carlos Salazar was also in the 2014 recruiting class for Fresno State – until the Braves inked him.
There are two particularly interesting names also among this still-unsigned group: one is Sterling Sharp (Round 30), a RHP from Farmington Hills, MI… but no, he is not related to the All-Pro wide receiver (who spells his name ‘Sharpe‘). The other is Jacob Heyward, who is the brother of our current right fielder. But alas, he is set to start college in Miami.
It is a curiosity to see that four of the unsigned picks shown above hail from California…. and there’s actually a fifth as well: Jack Klein (Round 32, OF from San Francisco). Turns out there were only seven of the 40 picks from California, so you do have to wonder if there is a relationship between “from nowhere near ‘Braves country'” and “unsigned”.
The deadline for signing these players is Friday, July 12 at 5 pm EDT.