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Braves Draft Report Card

Best Pro Debut: Managers rated OF Jeff Francoeur (1) the top prospect in the Rookie-level Appalachian League after he batted .327-8-31. LHP Fernando Tadefa (19) led the Appy League with 16 saves and posted a 2.45 ERA.

Best Athlete: Francoeur was a standout defensive back in high school and gave up a Clemson football grant. 2B Mike Grasso (11) was a wide receiver at Rhode Island before transferring to Albany to focus on baseball.

Best Pure Hitter: In 1999, 1B James Jurries (6) beat out Mark Teixeira for BA’s Freshman of the Year award. Jurries isn’t Teixeira, but he’s gifted with the bat and hit .290-5-30 in high Class A.

Best Raw Power: Francoeur matched Andruw Jones and Javy Lopez in batting practice at Turner Field. 1B Yaron Peters (10) finished second in NCAA Division I with 29 homers and tied for third with 95 RBIs.

Fastest Runner: Francoeur flies through the 60-yard dash in 6.43 seconds. Grasso and SS Jon Schuerholz (8) also run well.

Best Defensive Player: Francouer has center-field range and a plus arm. C Brian McCann (2) has good catch-and-throw skills and is working on his agility.

Best Fastball: Most of the pitchers Atlanta signed are projections. LHP Dan Meyer (1) has a 90-93 mph fastball that’s as notable for its sink as for its velocity. RHP Mike Mueller (16), a converted outfielder, throws nearly as hard.

Best Breaking Ball: RHP Charlie Morton’s (3) curveball. As Morton fills out his 6-foot-4, 180-pound frame, his fastball could jump from the high 80s to the mid-90s.

Most Intriguing Background: Schuerholz’ father John is Atlanta’s general manager. RHPs Michael (14) and Steven Reiss (25) are identical twins from Canada. C/RHP Kris Harvey’s (5) father Bryan was a two-time all-star as a closer. McCann’s brother Brad is a third-base prospect who has joined Harvey at Clemson, and McCann’s father Howard was once Marshall’s baseball coach. RHP Paul Bush (25) was NAIA player of the year after going 13-1, 1.63 for Georgia Southwestern.

Closest To The Majors: Meyer or Jurries, both of whom could surface in Double-A at some point in 2003. Meyer, the Braves’ highest-drafted college player since they took Mike Kelly No. 2 in 1991, has an advanced feel for pitching and a plus changeup.

Best Late-Round Pick: The Braves were glad to get Peters, the Southeastern Conference player of the year, in the 10th round.

The One Who Got Away: SS Tyler Greene (2) was one of the draft’s best pure shortstops and could be a first-round pick after three years at Georgia Tech. When the Braves failed to sign Greene they made a hard run at LHP Tim Cunningham (23), but he returned to Stanford.

Assessment: The Braves weren’t scared off by Francoeur’s asking price and signed him for $2.2 million. On the downside, they didn’t land Greene or RHP Patrick Clayton (7)–both products of the local East Cobb youth program–or Harvey and Nick Starnes (9). No other club lost the rights to as many picks in the first 10 rounds.

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