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Braves agree with 1st-rounder Shuster, 2 others

@mlbbowman
June 18, 2020

ATLANTA -- The Braves have agreed to terms with first-round pick Jared Shuster and two of the three other players they selected in last week’s MLB Draft. According to MLB.com’s Jim Callis, the Braves agreed with Shuster, outfielder Jesse Franklin and right-handed pitcher Spencer Strider on Thursday. Callis reported Shuster

ATLANTA -- The Braves have agreed to terms with first-round pick Jared Shuster and two of the three other players they selected in last week’s MLB Draft.

According to MLB.com’s Jim Callis, the Braves agreed with Shuster, outfielder Jesse Franklin and right-handed pitcher Spencer Strider on Thursday. Callis reported Shuster and Franklin both came to terms on below-slot deals. Strider agreed to a slot deal worth $451,800.

The Braves have not confirmed any of these deals.

Braves Draft Tracker

Shuster agreed to a $2,197,500 signing bonus. This is $542,800 less than the bonus pool slot value assigned to the 25th overall pick this year. Franklin agreed to a bonus worth $497,500, or $101,600 less than the slot value assigned to his third-round selection.

With these three additions totaling $3,146,800, the Braves still have $981,000 within their bonus pool allotment. By going below slot with Shuster and Franklin, the Braves seemingly created ample flexibility to use in their attempt to sign fifth-round pick Bryce Elder, a right-handed pitcher who was looking to be picked in the third round.

The bonus pool allotments for third-round picks ranged from $577,000 to $857,400.

Shuster wasn’t widely projected to be a first-round selection, but the left-hander made a strong showing during last summer’s Cape Cod League and then further impressed while pitching for Wake Forest this year. The 6-foot-3, 210-pound lefty made some mechanical adjustments that added life to his fastball, which went from 89-93 mph in 2019 to 91-95 mph in 2020.

Franklin helped Michigan advance to the College World Series finals during his 2019 sophomore season, then missed this year’s coronavirus-shortened collegiate season because of a broken collarbone sustained while skiing last winter.

The 6-foot-1, 215 pound outfielder tallied 23 homers and produced a .520 slugging percentage over 425 at-bats for the Wolverines. He was named the 2018 Cape Cod League Offensive Player of the Year. He didn’t hit for power when he returned to the Cape in 2019, but this had more to do with a hamstring strain and didn’t damage the impression he made on Braves vice president of scouting Dana Brown.

Strider was not ranked by MLB Pipeline as one of the top 200 available players heading into this year’s Draft. The 6-foot, 195-pound right-hander had missed all of 2019 while recovering from Tommy John surgery, and he made just four starts before the pandemic shutdown ended the collegiate season in March.

Still, Strider caught the Braves’ attention when he returned to the mound this year by showing his fastball was once again resting around 95 mph and occasionally touching 97 mph. There are some concerns about the 21-year-old’s lack of a good breaking ball. But having totaled just 63 innings at the college level, there’s still room for Strider to add to his repertoire.

Mark Bowman has covered the Braves for MLB.com since 2001.