2011 Draft Report Card: Atlanta Braves


The Braves were one of the more conservative teams in the draft, ranking 24th in bonus spending this year. Most of their picks are safe bets to reach their ceilings but lack big upsides.
Bonus Spending: $3.7 million
BEST PURE HITTER:  After hitting .398 and nearly winning the Big South Conference triple crown in the spring, 2B Tommy La Stella (8) batted .328 in low Class A in his pro debut. If he can stay at second base and avoid a move to the outfield, he could be an everyday player. BEST POWER HITTER:  In terms of raw power, OF Chase Larsson (9), a 6-foot-4, 220-pounder who was the NCAA Division II player of the year and led that level in homers (29), RBIs (84), total bases (190) and slugging (1.000). 3B Kyle Kubitza (3) may have more usable power in the long run, though most of his pop currently goes to the alleys. FASTEST RUNNER:  SS Logan Robbins (10) has 65 speed on the 20-80 scouting scale. BEST DEFENSIVE PLAYER:  SS Nick Ahmed (2) has the range, arm and athleticism desired at his position. He wasn't 100 percent in his debut as he continued to recover from a collapsed lung sustained in a first-base collision in April.


BEST FASTBALL:  RHP J.R. Graham (4) is just 6 feet and 175 pounds, but he has a fast arm that delivers fastballs that sit at 95-96 mph and top out at 98. He's probably a reliever in the long run, though he'll begin his pro career as a starter. BEST SECONDARY PITCH:  LHP Sean Gilmartin's (1) changeup or RHP Mark Lamm's (6) slider. Gilmartin's changeup helps his 88-91 mph fastball play up and helps him profile as a potential No. 3 starter.


BEST PRO DEBUT: La Stella, who added nine homers and a .944 OPS in low Class A. Graham led the Rookie-level Appalachian League with a 1.72 ERA. RHPs Cody Martin (7) and Gus Schlosser (17) had sub-2.00 ERAs and combined for 14 saves in low Class A. BEST ATHLETE: OF Chris Bullard (34) played four seasons at linebacker for Western Kentucky's football team. He's raw but offers enticing power and speed. Robbins, his college teammate, is a quick-twitch athlete who reminds the Braves of Brent Lillibridge. MOST INTRIGUING BACKGROUND: Unsigned RHP Matt Kimbrel's (32) brother Craig is Atlanta's closer. C Troy Snitker's (19) dad Brian is the Braves' third-base coach, and unsigned 3B Jacoby Almaraz's (40) uncle Johnny is the team's director of international scouting and operations. 1B Jackson Laumann's (31) father Doug is White Sox scouting director. CLOSEST TO THE MAJORS: As a lefty who can throw three average-or-better pitches for strikes, Gilmartin could move quickly. He excelled in five low Class A starts at the end of the season. BEST LATE-ROUND PICK: A Tommy John surgery survivor like his former Vanderbilt teammate Lamm, RHP Navery Moore (14) has a lively 92-96 mph fastball. Signability concerns dropped Moore in the draft, and he signed for $400,000. THE ONE WHO GOT AWAY: LHP Carlos Rodriguez (20), who has a projectable 6-foot-3 frame and an easy delivery, opted for Oregon State over pro ball.