Atlanta Braves MLB Draft History And Projections
As we approach the 2018 MLB Draft on June 4, we’ll break down each major league team’s recent draft history, picking out tendencies where applicable, highlighting the team’s 2018 draft pool and also touching on the organization’s most successful recent draft picks.
Additionally, each team is listed with potential draft targets. These players either fit the typical modus operandi of the organization or are players who have been specifically linked or rumored as fits with a team throughout the spring. Baseball America will continue to add and subtract players from the potential draft target section as we continue to gather information in the final weeks leading up to the draft. Players are listed with a line of skinny to get a quick idea of who they are, but our full scouting reports will give a more complete picture of a player.
It’s also worth pointing out that while in some cases a team might appear to have a clear tendency with certain demographics (i.e. high school pitchers or college hitters), the sample we are looking at is small enough that teams could simply be following a best player available strategy and the results are showing something that’s not an overarching scouting philosophy. It’s more likely that tendencies can be discovered at the extremes, rather than slight apparent preferences in the last five years.
Here is a breakdown of the recent MLB Draft history of the Atlanta Braves:
General Manager: Alex Anthopoulos (Since 2017)
Scouting Director: Brian Bridges (Since 2015)
2018 MLB Draft Bonus Pool (Rank): $8,267,300 (15th)
2018 MLB Draft Order:
1st Round: 8th
2nd Round: 49th
3rd Round: None (Penalty for rules violations)
4th-40: 8th in each round.
First Round Picks Since 2013:
2017: Kyle Wright (5th)
2016: Ian Anderson (3rd)
2015: Kolby Allard (14th), Mike Soroka (28th)
2014: Braxton Davidson (32nd)
2013: Jason Hursh (31st)
Best Recent Pick (2010-2017 Drafts):
SS Andrelton Simmons (2nd Round, 2010) has become the game’s premier defensive shortstop since his major league debut in 2012. Simmons enjoyed four years of success in Atlanta, where he amassed 17.5 bWAR and won two gold glove awards before being traded to the Angels in November 2015.
Recent Tendencies (Last Five Years/Top Five Rounds):
No team has been more pitcher heavy than the Braves, who have taken arms 73.3 percent of the time since 2013 in the top five rounds of the draft. The Cubs are the closest team behind Atlanta, and Chicago has drafted pitchers 66.7 percent of the time in the same span.
Additionally, the Braves have elected to go to the high school ranks more frequently than many teams, selecting those players 50 percent of the time—the fifth-highest percentage behind only the Orioles (59.3) Padres (58.6), Rangers (55.6) and Indians (53.6).
That strategy hasn’t changed since scouting director Brian Bridges took over in 2015. With the 20 selections that Bridges has had in this time period and round range, 16 of the players have been arms, and two of the four hitters have been catchers (Lucas Herbert in 2015 and Brett Cumberland in 2016).
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Potential Draft Targets:
3B Nolan Gorman — Gorman is a slugging third baseman with near top-of-the-scale raw power and a strong arm, but has some questions about his feel to hit.
RHP Ethan Hankins — Previously the top prep player in the class thanks to a potential 80-grade fastball, Hankins has been slowed by injury but is trending in the right direction.
OF Jarred Kelenic — Solid in every area, Kelenic is one of the best pure hitters in the prep class and scouts are expecting more power to come.
LHP Shane McClanahan — An electrifying, albeit sporadic, lefthander with some of the best pure stuff in the class, McClanahan has a fastball that tickles 100 mph.
RHP Kumar Rocker — Big, physical and imposing, Rocker has loud pure stuff, including a fastball up to 98 mph and a breaking ball that falls off the table.
RHP Carter Stewart — Stewart has the best breaking ball in the 2018 class with a powerful, downer curveball—oh, and he's touched 98 mph as well this spring.
RHP Mike Vasil — A high-upside northeast righthander with starter traits, Vasil has a clean arm action and feel for secondaries. An injury this spring makes things harder to peg