AP source Braves draft pick Stewart reaches deal in Japan

24 Mai, 2019, 09:22 | Auteur: Adelaide Bullion
  • A top MLB prospect will reportedly play in Japan. Here's why it makes sense

He was selected by the Braves with the eighth overall pick in last year's draft from Eau Gallie High School in Florida, and negotiations were complicated by a wrist injury.

The 19-year old Stewart, who reportedly agreed with Japan's Fukuoka SoftBank Hawks on a six-year deal worth over $7 million, could set a precedent for highly drafted players to go to Japan in lieu of signing, which Boras has advocated for in the past to break up the power Major League Baseball lords over amateurs.

According to ESPN, the deal is expected to be made official by the end of the month with Fukuoka, the victor of four of the past five Japan Series. Unlike Brandon Jennings and other basketball players who have avoided the NBA's early-entry rule by taking a gap year overseas, Stewart would be committed to the Hawks through the cusp of his 25th birthday.

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But there is a $7 million guarantee for Stewart now, and the chance to do better than if he had stayed in the U.S. And the opportunity was created, in large part, by Major League Baseball's clamping down on pay for draft picks and doing whatever it can to extend team control over players via service time manipulation.

Jeff Passan of ESPN has the details on that deal: $7 million for six years. Stewart, under current rules, would be considered a foreign professional if he spends the next six seasons in Japan, sources said, though those rules are subject to change. He could theoretically join the Major Leagues as a 25-year-old free agent. Fukuoka has won four of the past five Japan Series.

Stewart's agent, Scott Boras, has long tried to use the prospect of taking an amateur player to Japan for leverage purposes. Boras, who has exploited multiple draft loopholes in the past, opted for a 7,500-mile end-around with Stewart. Stewart enrolled in Eastern Florida State College, a junior college in his home state, making him eligible for the 2019 draft.

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