The Braves have signed all of their top picks with the exception of first-round selection Kolby Allard, and David O’Brien of the Atlanta Journal-Constitution reports that it’s looking like there’s a “legit chance” that Allard will honor his commitment to UCLA rather than sign with Atlanta (Twitter links). O’Brien does add that there’s a chance this could be posturing in an attempt to get a bit more money out of the Braves.
Selected with the No. 14 overall pick in this year’s draft, Allard’s slot comes with a value of $2,842,200. However, Allard was at one time speculated to be selected within the top 10, if not top five picks of this year’s draft before a stress reaction in his back cost him about two months of his senior season at San Clemente High School in California. As such, it’s possible that Allard’s advisers are pushing for a bonus that’s more commensurate with higher draft slots.
The Braves were assigned a bonus pool of $10,684,100 (via Baseball America) heading into this year’s draft, and they’ve saved a total of $87,500 on the rest of their picks from the top 10 rounds, per MLB.com. The Braves can also exceed their allotted bonus pool by 4.99 percent before incurring the loss of a pick in next year’s draft, which comes out to about $533K. Paired with the $87,500 they’ve saved on their other top picks, that means the Braves could afford to offer Allard up to $3,462,000 (roughly $620,600 over slot) without losing a future pick. That value would be just slightly below the slot value of the No. 8 overall selection ($3,470,600).
Allard ranked sixth on the Top 100 of ESPN’s Keith Law heading into the draft, while MLB.com rated him 16th, and he placed 18th on the draft lists of BA and Fangraphs. Allard was considered the top prep arm in this year’s class thanks to a plus curve and an above-average fastball before injuring his back, per Law. Should Allard indeed end up attending UCLA, the Braves would be awarded with the 15th overall pick in next year’s draft (one slot lower than that of the failed signing).