Amateur Signing Bonuses: Braves

Let's continue our look at each team's amateur spending with the Atlanta Braves. Here are the five largest signing bonuses they've paid out…

  1. Mike Minor, $2.42MM (2009)
  2. Jeff Francoeur, $2.2MM (2002)
  3. Matt Belisle, $1.75MM (1998)
  4. Jason Heyward, $1.7MM (2007)
  5. Edward Salcedo, $1.6MM (2010)

The seventh overall pick in 2009, Minor shot through the minors this season and made eight starts (and one relief appearance) for the Braves. His 5.98 ERA in 40.2 innings was ugly but the peripherals were excellent: 9.5 K/9 and 2.4 BB/9. He figures to get a much longer look next season.

Francoeur, the 23rd overall pick in 2002, burst onto the scene with a .300/.336/.549 effort in his 2005 rookie campaign, but struggled thereafter. He hit just .266/.308/.424 with the Braves before being traded to the Mets for Ryan Church a few weeks before the 2009 trade deadline. Belisle was the 52nd overall pick in 1998, but he never appeared in a game for Atlanta. He pitched well in the minor leagues before missing the entire 2001 season due to injury, and the Braves eventually shipped him to the Reds as a player to be named later in a 2003 deal for Kent Mercker.

Heyward somehow lasted until the 14th overall pick of the 2007, and he just wrapped up a tremendously successful rookie campaign: .277/.393/.456 in 623 plate appearances. He should receive plenty of Rookie of the Year votes, if not in the award outright. Salcedo turned pro just this summer, and hit .225/.307/.333 in 304 A-ball plate appearances. He is arguably the team's best position player prospect due to his talent level and physical gifts. 

Kenshin Kawakami was a long-time veteran of the Japanese leagues, but if we relax our criteria a bit to include players with zero MLB experience, his $2MM signing bonus would slot in at number three.


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