ATLANTA—Count the Braves as fans of the draft's earlier signing deadline.
Unlike previous selections who received limited experience during their first professional summers, righthander Luke Sims, this year's first-rounder, has made progress already.
The 21st overall pick emerged from the high school ranks to make three brief appearances in the Rookie-level Gulf Coast League prior to a promotion to Rookie-level Danville.
Along the way, Sims made tweaks to his mechanics and picked up his first two pro wins, limiting Elizabethton to one hit over five shutout innings on Aug. 4, then tossing five scoreless frames at Pulaski on Aug. 15—the old signing deadline date.
"I'm feeling pretty good about the way things have been going," the 18-year-old Sims said. "There are a lot of things I've been working on while simply trying to get better and achieving the ultimate goal."
A product of the Atlanta suburb of Snellville who grew up admiring John Smoltz, Sims had the opportunity to speak with his idol about the mental aspects of the game. He went 2-4, 3.91 through his first seven starts for Danville, notching 23 strikeouts and 10 walks in 23 innings.
"Right now I'm just trying to work on getting ahead in the count with my fastball," Sims said, "and becoming more consistent with my changeup and curveball.
"I played a lot of shortstop when I was in high school and now that I'm a starting pitcher, it's a little different only playing once every fifth day. But this is what I always dreamed of doing."
The Braves have been impressed with Sims' work ethic and his willingness to accept instruction. According to Danville manager Jonathan Schuerholz, Sims has the makeup to make an impact at higher levels.
"He's learning, just like all of the guys here, but he's making the adjustments when he makes mistakes," Schuerholz said. "He battles out there. He's a competitor, and that's going to help him as he continues to climb the ladder."
• First baseman Joey Terdoslavich helped erase a trying first half by batting .313/.375/.483 with 22 doubles in 259 at-bats for Double-A Mississippi in the second.
• A strong second half with high Class A Lynchburg vaulted sidearming righthander Gus Schlosser toward the top of the Carolina League leaderboard with a 3.09 ERA, 129 strikeouts, 154 innings and a 1.09 WHIP. Atlanta selected him from Florida Southern in the 17th round of the 2011 draft.