Draft pick Kyle Wright signs record-breaking deal with Braves

Kyle Wright: "Dream come true" to be an Atlanta Braves pitcher

ATLANTA -- The Atlanta Braves agreed to terms with their first-round draft pick Kyle Wright, the team announced on Friday.

Wright was the No. 5 overall pick in the 2017 MLB First-Year Player Draft on Wednesday. Multiple top scouts and experts thought the right-handed pitcher from Vanderbilt would be the first pick of the draft. However, Wright fell to the Braves much to the joy of Braves scouting director Brian Bridges. Royce Lewis was the No. 1 overall pick to the Minnesota Twins. 

According to multiple reports, the Braves will pay Wright like the first pick in the Draft. MLB's Mark Bowman said Wright will receive a $7-million signing bonus, which is more than the pick value. It will set a new record. The previous record under the current bonus system was Kris Bryant in 2013 when he received a $6.7 million bonus.

The Braves formally introduced Wright on Friday at SunTrust Park. Braves General Manager John Coppolella said they gave Wright such a substantial bonus because they felt he was the best player in the draft.

"With us picking five, we have a lot of depth in our system. To add this type of impact player we felt was worth that price," Coppolella said.

Wright grew up a Braves fan. He said his favorite Braves players are former third base man Chipper Jones and pitcher John Smoltz. As for his first visit to SunTrust Park, he called his possible future home incredible.

"When I first got drafted, it was a dream come true. It didn’t seem real. I always wanted to play for the Braves, but I never thought it would happen," Wright said.

Wright, 21, was named to the first-team All-SEC and second team All-American by Baseball America this year. This season, he was 5-6 with a 3.40 ERA in 16 starts. He struck out 121 and walked 31 batters. In 61 career games, he was 19-11 with a 2.78 ERA.

He was a teammate with former Vanderbilt shortstop Dansby Swanson, who has become a fan favorite for the Braves. Swanson heard Wright would be at the ballpark on Friday, found him and gave him a big hug.

"He's always been a great teammate," Wright said. "He acts like an older brother to me."

Wright features a mid-90s fastball as well as developing breaking pitches, including a strong curveball. He towers on the mound at 6-foot-4, 200 pounds.

Coppolella said he wants Wright to start at the Gulf Coast League for the first few starts and then head to Single-A with the Rome Braves to follow in the footsteps of Mike Minor and Alex Wood.

Wright is a native of Huntsville, Ala. He is the second pitcher out of Vanderbilt to get drafted by the Braves in the first round. The first was Mike Minor in 2009.

"I know the job that Tim Corbin does with players that he has at Vanderbilt University," Bridges said. "They come out better than they went in as human beings and as baseball players." 

The Braves' second-round pick Drew Waters is expected to sign his deal on Saturday.

© 2017 WXIA-TV


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