Carter Stewart, a 19-year-old right-handed pitcher from Florida who was the eighth overall draft pick in 2018 by the Atlanta Braves, has decided to take his pro career to Japan.
Stewart will play for the Fukuoka SoftBank Hawks of the Japanese Pacific League after he agreed on a six-year contract worth more than $7 million, according to multiple reports.
Having decided not to go pro last year after the Braves reportedly reduced their signing-bonus offer to around $2 million because of an alleged wrist injury, the 6-foot-6 Stewart is considered one of the top amateur baseball prospects and was expected to go as high as the second round in the MLB draft this June.
He enrolled at Eastern Florida State Junior College, finishing 2-2 with a 1.70 ERA in 74 1/3 innings with 108 strikeouts, and became eligible for the 2019 draft.
According to ESPN, the deal is expected to be made official by the end of the month with Fukuoka, the winner of four of the past five Japan Series. Represented by agent Scott Boras, Carter is already in Japan and plans to play for a minor league affiliate of the Hawks when his deal is officially done.
He is committed to the Japan team for the next six years, but could come back to the U.S. as a 25-year-old free agent, with a chance to sign a long-term contract with any MLB team.
--Field Level Media