With the MLB Draft roughly 6 weeks away, will the Atlanta Braves find what they’re looking for in this year’s draft class?
The Atlanta Braves executed a brilliant plan with 3 of the first 44 picks in the 2016 draft. Three high school pitchers joined the organization, all three rated as possible high first-round selections, making getting all three of Ian Anderson, Joey Wentz, and Kyle Muller a coup.
Will the 2017 draft set up the same way for the Atlanta Braves, or are they going to have to draft ahead of value in order to get a guy they want?
We’ll take a look at the draft, starting with the pick everyone’s talking about, the #5 overall selection, but then on the next page we’ll dig into the strengths and weaknesses of the class overall and where the Braves could really make an impact in the draft. Next Monday will begin the “Mock Draft Monday” series that everyone seemed to enjoy last year.
Let’s start with #5 overall:
The 5th Pick
This season’s draft class is still very much in flux. Then again, at this point last season, the question was whether it was going to be Jason Groome or Kyle Lewis going #1, so where the draft projections are at the last week of April is not exactly how it will pan out in June.
Right now, the top talent in the draft looks to be Hunter Greene, a two-way high school star from California, who can top triple digits off the mound and won home run derbies at showcases over the summer.
From there, it’s a mash of a number of guys. However, we know a few things about the Braves. First, they love guys they can mold in their system, so the more projection left in a guy, the more attractive he’ll be to the team, meaning a high school guy is most probable.
The second big thing we know is the Atlanta Braves prefer guys who are on the young end of the age curve for their class, so high schoolers who have just barely turned 18 or yet to turn 18 are certainly targets.
Last, the Braves have been targeting pitchers recently heavy in the draft and using the international market to find hitters. That would indicate that the pitchers would be of highest priority most likely.
Putting all that together, the guys the Braves will likely be targeting would be Hunter Greene (were he to fall for some reason), California prep infielder/outfielder Royce Lewis, North Carolina prep lefty MacKenzie Gore and his state mate outfielder Austin Beck, Florida shortstop Mark Vientos, and one wild card to watch, outfielder Heliot Ramos from Puerto Rico, who is starting to get a ton of buzz, especially from guys I talk with that I trust around the Braves organization.
Last year, I started to get similar buzz in mid-May about Ian Anderson, such that I had him locked into one of the first two picks the Braves would make, but I had him at the #40 pick, not #3!
Next: Rest Of The Draft