One of the top amateur baseball prospects is making a unique career decision, foregoing his chance to be selected in this June’s Major League Baseball draft to play overseas.
Right-handed pitcher Carter Stewart, who was the No. 8 overall pick by the Atlanta Braves in the 2018 draft, agreed to sign with the Fukuoka SoftBank Hawks of the Japanese Pacific League, according to The Athletic. Terms of the deal are unknown, but it is likely to be more than he was asking from the Braves.
After failing to reach an agreement with the Braves in 2018 over concerns about a wrist injury, Stewart enrolled at Eastern Florida State Junior College, which made him eligible for this year’s draft.
Instead, his decision to play in Japan will make his path to MLB a bit more difficult.
If he were eligible for 2019 draft, it’s likely he would have been drafted in the first round again, but not as high as he was in 2018.
Stewart, 19, was considered among the best available high school pitchers and ranked as MLB Pipeline’s fifth-best overall prospect when the Braves selected him.