MILWAUKEE -- Concerns about a wrist ailment prevented the Braves from reaching an agreement with first-round pick Carter Stewart before Friday afternoon's deadline.
The Braves selected Stewart with the eighth overall pick in this year's Draft and were hopeful to sign him until a physical exam created concerns about the curveball wizard's right wrist. But the two parties never came close to an agreement before Friday's 5 p.m. ET deadline. Because Stewart did not sign, Braves team officials will not be permitted to directly address the nature of the medical concerns. The team was not permitted to provide a medical examination before selecting the 18-year-old pitcher.
"We are disappointed we were not able to reach an agreement," Braves scouting director Brian Bridges said. "We wish Carter nothing but the best."
Stewart was seeking approximately $4.5 million, which was slightly under his $4,980,700 slot value. The Braves' offer was supposedly closer to the $2 million range.
If the Braves' offer was at least 40 percent ($1.992 million) of the slot value, they will be compensated with the ninth overall pick in the 2019 Draft. The team would also have the first-round selection assigned based on this year's record.
Immediately after drafting Stewart, Bridges complimented his curveball by saying, "God willing that he stays healthy, it's the one thing he'll always have. And you'll be talking when he makes his debut about that big hammer."
The uncertainty about the wrist obviously created reason to wonder if Carter would still have the curveball, which has generated a spin rate of more than 3,000 rotations per minute, putting him in an elite category with Major Leaguers like the Astros' Charlie Morton.
Stewart's stock truly rose when his growth spurt made him a legit power pitcher. His fastball sat 88-90 mph during last summer's showcase season. But his heater sat 92-94 and touched 98 mph this spring.
The 6-foot-6, 200-pound hurler from Eau Gallie (Fla.) High School was ranked this year's No. 5 overall Draft prospect by MLB Pipeline. He had previously committed to Mississippi State University and may now choose to play for the Bulldogs or a junior college. The latter option would allow him to be Draft-eligible next year.