Kyle Wright was projected as the No. 1 overall pick by some experts a few days before the draft, and the Braves paid the Vanderbilt pitcher as if he were the top selection.
Wright, who fell to the Braves with the fifth pick in Monday’s major league draft, got a signing bonus of $7 million, breaking Kris Bryant’s record for the current signing-bonus system.
The signing was announced Friday, and Wright was to be introduced at a media conference later in the day at SunTrust Park before the Braves’ series opener against the Marlins.
Bryant, the second pick of the 2013 draft, got a $6.7 million bonus from the Chicago Cubs. Carlos Rodon, the third pick of the 2014 draft, was the only other player before this year to receive a signing bonus of more than $6.5 million under the slotting system that began in 2012.
Wright, a 6-foot-4, 210-pound Vanderbilt junior from Huntsville, Ala., features a four-pitch repertoire that features a mid-90 mph fastball that has topped out at 97, an outstanding curveball, above-average slider and a change-up. He shows good control and is relatively polished, and given his age (21) and college experience Wright could advance through the minor leagues faster than some of the Braves’ top picks selected out of high school.
The slot value of the No. 5 pick in this year’s draft was $5.7 million and the value of the No. 1 pick was $7.7 million. But under the current system teams routinely sign players to bonuses above or below the slot value of where that team is picked, sometimes reaching informal agreements with the player and his representative before the draft.
This allows teams to spend more money, or less, on their later picks to remain within their allotted overall signing-bonus spending limits. If a team doesn’t sign one of its slotted draft picks, it loses the amount of that player’s slot value.
Some teams picking ahead of the Braves this year drafted players who will sign for less than the slotted value of those picks, and those teams can use that money to sign picks later in first 10 rounds, sometimes for above slotted value.
The Braves have a draft signing-bonus allotment of just under $9.9 million this year — they can go up to $10.375 million without penalty — to sign players taken in the first 10 rounds of the draft. Approximately 75-80 percent of that is likely to go to their first two picks, Wright and second-rounder Drew Waters, a swtich-hitting outfielder from Woodstock and Etowah High School.
The 41st overall pick in the draft, Waters is expected to get a bonus in line with the assigned value for his slot, which was just under $1.7 million.
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