Braves Draft Report Card




QUICK TAKE
The Braves coveted Georgia prep righty Zack Wheeler (who went one pick ahead of them) and were limited  financially, but they still were thrilled to add Minor. Atlanta continued to mine junior colleges as much as any club, signing five juco players in the first 12 rounds.
POSITION PLAYERS

BEST PURE HITTER: OF Cory Harrilchak (14) hit .410 in 2008, making him the only Elon player to top .400 since the program moved to NCAA Division I in 2000. He batted .324/.401/.441 with 19 steals in the Rookie-level Appalachian League. >> BEST POWER HITTER: Six-foot-2, 235-pound 1B Riann Spanjer-Furstenburg (16) has the most usable power right now, while 6-foot-5, 225-pound OF Robby Hefflinger (7) has more raw pop. >> FASTEST RUNNER: OF Kyle Rose (8), who can cover 60 yards in 6.3 seconds, led the Rookie-level Gulf Coast League with 26 steals in 30 attempts. SS Mycal Jones (4) is a step behind with a 6.4 time in the 60 and led the Appy League in runs (50) and triples (six). >> BEST DEFENSIVE PLAYER: With his smooth actions, good range and solid arm, Jones should develop into a quality shortstop. SS Matt Weaver (9) has good tools for the position, too.

PITCHERS

BEST FASTBALL: RHP Thomas Berryhill (5) is just 5-foot-10, but he sits at 93-95 and maxes out at 98 coming out of the bullpen. RHP David Hale (3) works at 93-94 mph and touches 96, and the former Princeton two-way player may add more velocity now that he's concentrating on pitching. >> BEST SECONDARY PITCH: LHP Mike Minor (1) had one of the best changeups in the draft, and his slider can be a plus pitch at times. LHP Chris Masters' (11) curveball and Hale's slider are the best breaking pitches in this crop. Hale, Berryhill and Masters are all products of the vaunted East Cobb program in suburban Atlanta, one of the Braves' favorite hunting grounds.

ODDS AND ENDS

BEST PRO DEBUT: Spanjer-Furstenburg was the Appy League MVP and batting champ (.359). LHP Matt Crim (21), a strike thrower whose fastball reaches 93 mph, was the Appy pitcher of the year after leading the league in wins and going 10-2, 3.18. Masters went 8-4, 1.42 and topped the Appy League with 85 strikeouts (versus just nine walks) in 70 innings. >> BEST ATHLETE: Jones, who earned some Chone Figgins comparisons with his speed and versatility. >> MOST INTRIGUING BACKGROUND:: Spanjer-Furstenburg is a native South African who was on his nation's provisional World Baseball Classic roster. >> CLOSEST TO THE MAJORS: Minor went straight to low Class A, where he had a 0.64 ERA and a 17-0 K-BB ratio in 14 innings, then headed to the Arizona Fall League. >> BEST LATE-ROUND PICK: RHP Ryan Weber (22) was the best pitcher on the 2008 U.S. national junior team, which also included 2009 first-rounders Matt Purke and Jacob Turner. Weber is just 5-foot-11 and pitches in the high 80s with his fastball, but his changeup, slider and command are all assets. >> THE ONE WHO GOT AWAY: OF Josh Conway (42), who will be a two-way player at Coastal Carolina.