Former Braves first-round pick Carter Stewart finding success

Daniel young Braves

With the MLB Draft set to take place this weekend, it’s a good time to go back to the 2018 draft, when the Braves took Carter Stewart 8th overall. The right-hander was a highly touted high school arm; however, wrist issues led to the Braves offering him well below slot value. At that point, Stewart had a decision to make, and he chose to take a very non-traditional route, signing a six-year, $7 million contract with Fukuoka SoftBank Hawks of the Nippon Professional Baseball League.

This was an intriguing decision at the time, but it’s one that could pay significant dividends for Stewart. He signed for a lot more money to play overseas, and by the time his contract is up, he’ll be a free agent that can sign with any professional team much sooner than the other members of his draft class. It wasn’t very popular at the time, but Steward bet on himself, and he could reap the rewards of that decision.

In 2023, Stewart is touting a 0.79 ERA over six games with a K/9 of 11.3 over 34.1 innings. This comes after a season in which he recorded a more than respectable 3.19 ERA over 53.2 innings. Stewart’s velocity is sitting in the mid to high-90s, and all you have to do is type his name into the search bar on Twitter to realize he’s beginning to turn heads.

Assuming his ascension continues, many could follow in the footsteps of Stewart. He ended up signing for more money, playing against better competition, and will be eligible for free agency much sooner than he would have had he signed with the Braves. It’s looking like a resounding success for the former first-round pick.

It’s unfortunate that the Braves couldn’t work out a deal with Stewart. It would be nice to have a talented arm like his in the system; however, they did receive a compensation pick the following season, which they turned into Shea Langeliers. Langeliers was later traded to the Athletics as the centerpiece of the deal for Matt Olson, so I would say the Braves turned out just fine, all things considered.

Photo: Photographer: Larry Radloff/Icon Sportswire

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