Braves sign three of their top draft picks

The grounds crew pulls out the tarp as dark clouds fill the sky before Atlanta Braves home game against Los Angeles Angels at Truist Park on Friday, July 22, 2022. (Hyosub Shin /



The grounds crew pulls out the tarp as dark clouds fill the sky before Atlanta Braves home game against Los Angeles Angels at Truist Park on Friday, July 22, 2022. (Hyosub Shin /

The MLB draft is one part of the equation. Signing those picks is another.

The Braves have started inking deals with draft picks on their signing bonuses. Among those signings: First-round pick Owen Murphy, second-round pick Cole Phillips and second-round pick Blake Burkhalter. The right-handed pitchers represent three of the organization’s top four picks in this year’s draft.

Murphy signed for $2,556,900, a person with knowledge of the situation confirmed to The Atlanta Journal-Constitution. Phillips signed for $1,497,500. Burkhalter signed for $647,500.

Phillips’ signing bonus was above the slot value of $1,307,300. Murphy (No. 20 overall) and Burkhalter (No. 76) signed for under slot value. The slot value for the No. 20 pick was $3,409,200, while No. 76 was valued at $860,100.

The Braves expect to officially announce all of their signings at some point next week.

Murphy, a high school right-hander from Riverside, Illinois, tossed four no-hitters this year. He posted a 0.12 ERA with a 9-0 record. His fastball sat in the low 90s and topped out at 96 mph.

Phillips underwent Tommy John surgery in April. Before that, his fastball touched 100 mph.

The Braves took three prep pitchers before selecting Burkhalter, who pitched at Auburn. The Braves intend to try Burkhalter, a reliever in college, as a starting pitcher.

Michael Harris on Shohei Ohtani

Shohei Ohtani, the Angels’ two-way superstar, has taken over the baseball world. He grabs attention and headlines.

Once upon a time, Braves center fielder Michael Harris was a two-way talent.

“Especially me being a former two-way guy, it’s definitely good to see (Ohtani) doing something like this at this level,” Harris said Friday. “It’s something I dreamed of doing and thought I could do, so to be able to face him today is kind of crazy.”

The Braves on Friday welcomed Ohtani and the Angels for three games at Truist Park. Of course, Ohtani, the Angels’ starting pitcher on Friday, was a hot topic.

Harris has been amazed at Ohtani’s success on both ends.

“You have to put in double the work, if not triple,” Harris said. “Sometimes you’re going to miss out on reps on certain things. You’re putting in the work on your own and making up for the missed time that you miss trying to put in work at a certain position.”

Matt Olson, Charlie Morton now a part of Wasserman

Matt Olson and Charlie Morton had been a part of Jet Sports Management, which was founded by B.B. Abbott. They are now a part of Wasserman, the global sports, music and entertainment agency.

Wasserman acquired Jet Sports Management. Abbott is Wasserman’s new executive vice president and managing executive of baseball.

This development doesn’t change anything for Olson. He was told about it, but had no objections because he has been pleased with having Abbott as his agent. Abbott will continue representing Olson.

All of Jet Sports’ clients joined Wasserman. Abbott was also Chipper Jones’ agent.

Rehabbing Kirby Yates goes to Double A

The Braves on Friday announced they transferred right-hander Kirby Yates’ rehab to Double-A Mississippi.

Minor League Baseball’s midseason break coincided with MLB’s All-Star break, so Yates’ only rehab assignment appearance to this point was July 16, when he struck out two in a scoreless inning for the Florida Complex League Braves.

“Everything was good,” manager Brian Snitker said.

Minor-league teams resumed action on Friday.

Braves begin second half with same rotation order

The All-Star break offers a club an opportunity to alter its starting rotation.

The Braves didn’t do so. They rolled with Charlie Morton, Kyle Wright and Ian Anderson out of the break, which is the order that would’ve followed Spencer Strider, who started Sunday’s first-half finale.

The starters received four extra days of rest due to the All-Star break.

Other injury updates

  • Asked if Mike Soroka was a long shot to return this season, Snitker said: “We don’t even get into ‘when.’ Until they get on the rehab (assignment), there’s really no barometer for us to gauge until they’re out there and they’re playing the games and they’re going the practice and everything that they’re doing – the drills, all that kind of stuff – it doesn’t even matter until they start the rehabs. Then we kind of pay more attention to them when they do that. And when they’re ready, they’ll be ready.”
  • Snitker said he hasn’t seen Ozzie Albies (fractured foot) since before the club left for Washington to play its final series before the break. But as of that time, the manager said, Albies was on track with everything in his rehab. He isn’t eligible to return until the middle of August because he’s on the 60-day injured list, but he doesn’t seem likely to return that soon.