SATURDAY, 8:00pm: The signing is official, writes David O’Brien of the Atlanta Journal-Constitution.
3:33pm: The Braves have announced that they’ve agreed to terms with Anderson. Heyman tweets that Anderson will receive exactly $4MM.
MONDAY: The Braves and No. 3 overall draft pick Ian Anderson are finalizing a deal that’ll pay the high school right-hander about $4MM, reports FanRag’s Jon Heyman (links to Twitter). Heyman adds that Anderson will not officially sign until he has graduated. That bonus represents a savings of about $2.5MM on his slot value of $6,510,800 (via MLB.com’s Jim Callis) — money that will help the Braves afford later picks such as Joey Wentz, Kyle Muller and Drew Harrington — each of whom has already reportedly agreed to an over-slot deal.
Anderson, who just turned 18 last month, was rated most highly entering the draft by ESPN’s Keith Law (No. 7 overall), but Baseball America (No. 12) and MLB.com (No. 13) each had him as a top-half-of-the-first-round talent as well. Shortly before the draft, rumors surfaced indicating that Atlanta may tab Anderson in order to save some funds which would be allocated tough signs, and that indeed is how their draft played out.
Scouting reports on Anderson from the three outlets above praise his fastball that sits in the low 90s but can reach 95-96 mph, and BA calls his changeup “devastating” while giving him credit for an above-average curve as well. At 6’4″ and 180 pounds, there’s certainly reason to think that Anderson can continue to fill out his frame. Anderson’s stock might’ve been higher this season if he hadn’t been slowed by an oblique injury and a bout of pneumonia. Ultimately, his deal will allow the Braves to add four high-upside arms to their ranks. While three of them (Anderson, Wentz and Muller) will be a ways off because they are of the high school variety, landing three arms that both BA and MLB.com rated within the top 25 draft prospects seems like a strong haul that should only further bolster an impressive Braves farm system.
The Braves were $2,584,700 over-slot on the combination of Wentz, Muller and Harrington, so the savings from Anderson alone appear to be enough to ensure that Atlanta avoids the loss of a future first-round pick. That wouldn’t happen until the Braves exceeded their bonus pool by more than five percent, although Atlanta will pay a 75 percent luxury tax on any overages up to five percent. That, however, hasn’t been a deterrent for teams in the past and should be of fairly marginal consequence to the Braves should they be required to do so this year.