The Atlanta Braves were in a rain delay so I wanted to get a few random notes out to you guys and both come courtesy of Braves Option Guy. You know, BOG – the one guy ALL Braves fans follow. Or should, at least.
Today, the Braves optioned Rio Ruiz back to Gwinnett and brought Jace Peterson back. Ruiz has received an extended stay in the majors due to an Adonis Garcia injury (and re-injury), but has struggled to take advantage of what playing time he was getting. As he heads back to the minors, Ruiz is hitting a paltry .175/.264/.288 with three doubles, two homeruns, nine walks, and 25 strikeouts in 91 PA.
With Johan Camargo hitting well, Ruiz was limited to mostly bench work and that’s not a positive for a 23 year-old who could still be a decent platoon hitter in the majors. Enter Peterson, who went to the minors earlier this month after hitting a paltry .194/.293/.259 in 123 PA with the Braves. Yes, I know I used paltry twice. Peterson raked in Gwinnett over 17 games, slashing a non-paltry .338/.450/.477 over 80 PA.
The reason I bring this up rather than wait until the next Transaction Tuesday is that the Braves could have avoided using an option this season on Peterson. He logged exactly 20 days with Gwinnett following his demotion, according to BOG. If an optioned player spends less than 20 days in the minors during a given season, the “option” won’t actually be counted as an “option.” Like BOG, I try to keep track of player options (though not as well as BOG) via this page and occasionally, I’ll put a (p) next to a year indicating an option is pending. Peterson’s pending option became an actual option as of yesterday. As it is his third option, he’ll no longer have options after this season. Either the Braves lost track of that or simply do not care. I’m betting the latter.
In addition, BOG keeps track of draft signees. You can see his work to the right as of June 22. What I want you to focus on is the signing bonuses. This is one of those things that not all fans realize. From rounds 1-10, 100% of the signing bonus is counted. This is why the Braves inked so many players to – yes – paltry sums after the fourth round. Atlanta spent 87% of their available pool money to sign their first three picks after all.
While Bruce Zimmerman’s signing bonus has yet to be announced – the same applies to many of the picks after the tenth round – we do know that the Braves spent $17K on rounds six thru ten. All 100% of that will be applied to the pool of money the Braves are allowed to spend to sign draft picks. But look at the eleventh round pick, Drew Lugbauer. The Braves gave him a $125,100 bonus – well over a hundred grand more than they gave the five draft choices before him combined!
This is because of a rule that only the money spent over $125,000 after the tenth round counts toward the draft pool. So, while the Braves gave Lugbauer a big bonus, only $100 goes toward the draft pool.
That, my friends, is called working the system and the Braves are better at that than most teams. Since dispatching Frank Wren, John Hart and John Coppolella have focused heavily on quality. They saw in Kyle Wright and Drew Waters, a pair of players that could be impact prospects. Now, the problem with that approach is the whole putting all of your eggs in one basket. If those two fail, the draft looks bad. The good thing, though, is that ceiling of both players are sky high. You can draft ten Todd Cunningham-type players and you’ll have good luck that they’ll make it to the majors. What you won’t have is an impact player.