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.

33 Responses to Amateur Signing Bonuses: Braves Leave a Reply

  1. Dave_Gershman 5 years ago

    It would be nice if Adam Wainwright was still on the Braves. His FIP might have prevented Brooks Conrad from being the #1 Trending Topic in the world on Twitter right now.

    • start_wearing_purple 5 years ago

      I don’t remember, was Wainwright ever projected as an ace prospect? As in did anyone ever think he was going to be as good as he is? Point being, is part of his success due to him hooking up with Dave Duncan?

      • Brandon Woodworth 5 years ago

        He was a top prospect. He was projected to be this good. That’s why it took him to get J.D. Drew.

      • roberty 5 years ago

        Second worst trade in Braves history. Drew was great in Atlanta, but the Braves gave up the only true ace their system would develop for a decade for a guy they saw strictly as a one year rental. Yet another vanity move for John Schuerholz.

    • inkstainedscribe 5 years ago

      In some ways, I feel bad for Conrad. There’s a reason he was a career minor leaguer before last season. Maybe he was the best option Bobby had to play 2B, given all the injuries. But I’ll be shocked if he’s in there Monday.

      • CaseyBlakeDeWitt 5 years ago

        I like Conrad, but everyone keeps saying he’s the best option when I don’t think he is. His defense is weak, as we’ve seen and he hasn’t hit during the series. I think they should put Glaus in at third and slide Infante back over to second

      • Dave_Gershman 5 years ago

        How about Omar at 2B and Troy at 3B?

        • Zack23 5 years ago

          If they didn’t complete the double play the other night and the winning run scored would you be suggesting this?

      • roberty 5 years ago

        I feel horrible for Conrad. He is a great bench player and pinch hitter. The Braves are carrying the weakest bench I’ve ever seen since Conrad and Infante were forced into the lineup.

  2. j6takish 5 years ago

    Mets fans say “wah wah wah Jeff Fracoeur”

  3. basemonkey 5 years ago

    This is kind of deceptive. The super high bonus era, adjusted for inflation, actually probably starts in the 90s. Since that time, certain teams like the Braves have never been high enough for a lottery pick to actually take a good shot at breaking their bonus record.Another type of bonus record that should be noted is “Total Overall Signing Bonuses” records. That is, when you add up all the signing bonuses of a team’s draft class, that number can be a record too. It accounts for how many, say, middle to late round guys a team will draft a dropped player for above-slot prices. Some teams are more consistent at that than others. A lot of teams in the, say, 7th round might go with a safer choice who won’t raise their budget, while other teams will keep on searching for the dropped player who migh take a 1M to sign, which is huge for that late. This is where a team like, say, the Yankees or Boston are able to jump up in the bonus ranks.

  4. Ian_Smell 5 years ago

    Littlefield wouldn’t have had to break the bank if he picked Heyward in 07, but no, pick Danny “*************, ***********” Moskos.

    • Dave_Gershman 5 years ago

      Check out Moskos’ current minor league stats.

      • Zack23 5 years ago

        I did, what was suppose to stand out?

        • Dave_Gershman 5 years ago

          I mixed up his AA and AAA numbers which went for not. He had a great ERA in Altoona but horrible in Indy.

          • Zack23 5 years ago

            He went nuts with the walks in AAA. While his numbers (K9 and BB9) looked good for a reliever in AA, have to remember he was a 24 year old in AA.

            Even if he does make the bigs and is successful, it was still the 4th overall pick.

    • Dave_Gershman 5 years ago

      or dont

  5. Still incredible how Heyward fell to the Braves that year. How can a talent like that in a hotbed like Georgia be hidden so well by one team. Incredible.

    • mrsjohnmiltonrocks 5 years ago

      He wasn’t actually hidden. The only team he was going to sign with was the Braves. He was going to play college baseball unless the Braves were the team that drafted him.

      • There are conflicting stories on this. I think Olney and a Yahoo writer (Passan?) say he was hidden very well by creepy tactics like scouting from the bushes and stuff. Others like Law say he would’ve only signed with the Braves. Not sure what to believe but I doubt he would refuse to sign if he was taken top 5.

  6. Boy, isn’t the Braves rotation gonna be something in a few years.

    Tommy Hanson
    Jair Jurrjens
    Julio Teheran
    Mike Minor
    Randall Delgado
    Along with Jonny Venters and Craig Kimbrel as the set-up men and closer

    I should start doing pitching rotation rankigs, ATL would be Top 3

    • abraves10 5 years ago

      how bout next years rotation and team….its gonna be a damn good rotation and good offense if we can find a power hitting left fielder
      and insurance options we could sign cheap are:
      Jeremy Bonderman
      Rich Harden
      Nate Robinson
      and possibly someone left handed in a trade for KK in which we also get a center fielder who can platoon with Mclouth in case he struggles again
      1st:Just name Freddi Gonzalez the manager already everybody knows that is who it is going to be
      2nd: We have to take care of the left field power hitter
      3rd: Sign Cody Ross(since he will most lifely be nontendered by the Giants) and let him be the 4th outfielder
      4th: Sign Xavier Nady on the cheap to back up Freeman and he can play some outfield
      5th: Get rid of Brooks Conrad and sign another utility man like Felipe Lopez
      6th: Go win a title!!!!!!!!!!!!

      • abraves10 5 years ago

        Oh and your Bullpen looks like this:
        And your bench is like this:

      • myname_989 5 years ago

        As a Phillies fan who had to watch Nate Robertson pitch one game in a Phillies uniform, I LOL @ you for even writing his name down.

      • Both Nate Robinson and Jeremy Bonderman are awful, I wouldn’t do that. Cody Ross would be a good signing, much more consistent than Nate McClouth, and better defensively than pretty much everyone there except J-Hey. If Chipper retires, that’s alot of money coming off the books, and even though it’s a pipe dream, I would love for Carl Crawford to sign with the Braves.

        • abraves10 5 years ago

          Jeremy Bonderman just needs a different atmosphere, he already has all the stuff.He wouldnt be a bad Insurance option and I dont like Robinson either but they need a left handed starter and unless they can get one for kawakami there isnt any better affordable ones.I would rather see Werth or Ordonez, because they are more of power hitters.

      • roberty 5 years ago

        Dude! I LOVE Nate Robinson! I wouldn’t mind Johnny Danson in Left, if we could get him on the cheap. I doubt we will have the money to go after anyone who isn’t a reclamation project.

    • roberty 5 years ago

      Don’t forget Kris Medlen! He’s a bulldog.

  7. melonis_rex 5 years ago

    The Braves are cheap with the draft. Very, very cheap.

    • LioneeR 5 years ago

      They definitely aren’t big spenders, but for the good part of the last 10+ years they have been one of the better teams in the league. They aren’t going to be breaking the bank very often for late first rounders.

      The biggest signing bonus is Minor. There is no coincidence that they picked him with the highest pick they have had in years.

    • roberty 5 years ago

      I disagree, they signed all but one of their draft picks this season. They also spend a lot on high ceiling international free agents.

      • Zack23 5 years ago

        Signing all but one of their picks doesn’t mean they’re not cheap. It’s who they draft.

        I dont know enough about the Braves’ system so I can’t comment, but if they overdraft players to have them sign below or at slot- that’s being cheap.

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