By: Noah Wright
It’s not everyday you see a college prospect head overseas to play in the Asian leagues. But here we are. Carter Stewart signed with the Fukuoka SoftBank Hawks yesterday. It is reported the contract will be worth over $7 million USD over 6 years.
During last year’s MLB draft, the Atlanta Braves selected Stewart with the 8th overall selection in the draft. However, the team looked further into Stewart’s medical record, and the two sides were unable to meet an agreement. Last season, Stewart was ranked as MLB.com’s 5th best draft prospect. Last season, Stewart was a senior at Eau Gallie High School in Eau Gallie Florida. There, he posted an ERA of just .81, while striking out 104 batters.
After the Braves were unable to sign Stewart, the 19 year old headed off to Eastern Florida State College. During his freshman year, Stewart had a 1.70 ERA and 108 K’s. MLB.com had ranked Stewart as the 59th top draft prospect. At just 19 years old and having good results in college, Stewart likely would have been drafted.
Another development that came out of the Braves unable to sign Carter Stewart was their file for grievance. After their grievance file, MLB gave the Braves the 8th overall selection in 2019. This would be their first pick of 2 within the first 30 selections. Whether or not you think that’s right that a team with such a stacked farm system as the Braves should get 2 draft picks, with one being in the top 10, and both being in the first 30 picks, their grievance file led to those 2 picks.
Carter Stewart is an interesting case. It’s really been an up and down career so far for the 19 year old. How many high school/college prospects do you hear that get drafted in the first 10 rounds, are unable to meet on an agreement with the team that drafted them because of health concerns, they pitch well in college and probably would have been drafted in next year’s draft, but decide to go play overseas? However Carter made the good deal, financially for him. He’s guaranteed at least $7 million, most likely even more. The likelihood he would receive that kind of money as a prospect was slim to none unless the signing bonus was huge.