The Braves have agreed to an at-slot, $1,125,200 bonus with second-round selection Lucas Herbert, Jim Callis of MLB.com reports on Twitter. Callis calls the would-be UCLA commit the best defensive catcher in the draft.
Herbert, who was chosen 54th overall, was the fourth player taken by the pick-flush Braves. He becomes Atlanta’s highest draft choice reportedly to sign.
Among draft observers, ESPN.com’s Keith Law rated Herbert highest on his board, placing him 45th among eligible prospects. Law notes that the backstop was discovered by scouts who were looking at teammate Kolby Allard, who the Braves took with their first-round choice. Law cites Herbert’s plus defensive potential as his primary calling card, noting that the youngster holds much less promise on offense, where he features “below-average hit and power ceilings.”
Baseball America placed Herbert at 52nd on its pre-draft ranking, with MLB.com putting him in the 69th slot and noting that he does possess “extremely strong hands and wrists” and shows reasonable promise as a hitter. Kiley McDaniel of Fangraphs, meanwhile, took a somewhat dimmer view of Herbert’s future, rating him just inside the top 100.