Possible draft targets for the Atlanta Braves

They start so young: Atlanta Braves draft #24 in the 1st round of the MLB draft this Summer.(No photo credit: Nas Preps Indy Hassel 12)
They start so young: Atlanta Braves draft #24 in the 1st round of the MLB draft this Summer.(No photo credit: Nas Preps Indy Hassel 12) /

It is now mock draft season and time to guess what the Atlanta Braves might be seeking with pick 24 in July.

The MLB draft is almost impossible to handicap.  While there is generally a consensus of the top players available in any given draft pool these days, even the order that they will fall to each club is still a fool’s errand to guess.

Thus when it comes toward the end of Round 1 where the Atlanta Braves will pick in the twenty-fourth position, the possibilities seem endless.

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In that 24th spot, BA believes — at the moment — that Atlanta will select Ryan Cusick, a right-handed pitcher from Wake Forest who “has one of the most overpowering pitches in this year’s draft” via an upper 90’s fastball.

He’s not infallible — touched up for 5 runs in 4 innings vs. Virginia recently — but has gone deep into games with excellent results.

BA also notes that Atlanta has been checking in on a high school outfielder named Joshua Baez, though they point out that Baez’ stock might be fading thanks to a poor showing in a recent game.

Of course, that’s part of the problem when you pick 24th:  there are always “flaws” that can be found among the available talent.

Other Atlanta Braves draft options at 24:

Around this pick, BA has the following players being selected:

  • #19:  Harry Ford.  Catcher from Kennesaw, GA (North Cobb HS).  Can’t ever rule out the home town players, can we?
    • That said, it’s tough to expect a catcher to be picked here, given the presence of William Contreras and Shea Langeliers in the system now…. still, a “best player available” approach might ignore such considerations.
  • #20:  Andrew Painter.  Great name for a pitcher… a high school right-hander from Fort Lauderdale.  He once was considered as a top-shelf HS pick, but might be worth a gamble at roughly this position.
    • BA notes that the Yankees have been scouting Cusick.
  • #21:  Michael McGreevy.  RHP from UCal/Santa Barbara.  Could be a steal if he falls this low.  Said to have some of the best command in this class.
  • #22:  Chase Petty.  Another high school righty, this time from Linwood, NJ.
    • Identified as having the fastest fastball among the high-schoolers, with a plus slider also possible.  Might be a gamble, given control issues.
  • #23:  Joe Mack.  Another High school catcher.  Same notes on Harry Ford apply here as well.
  • #25:  Will Taylor.  High school outfielder.  Does he have enough power projection, and does he really want to go to Clemson?
  • #26:  Jud Fabian.  Florida outfielder who is a CF homer hitter… but also had a bad series over this last weekend.

Others ranked in this neighborhood by BA:

  • Bubba Chandler (High School RHP/SS)
  • James Wood (outfielder from the IMG Academy in Florida)
  • Benny Montgomery (high school outfielder)
  • Luca Tresh (NC State catcher)
  • Jaden Hill (LSU pitcher)
  • Joshua Hartle (LHP high schooler from Pfafftown, NC … pronounced ‘PAHff-town’)
  • Izaac Pachero (High school SS)
  • Ethan Wilson (Univ. South Alabama OF)

In general, the Braves will probably feel they don’t need to reach for a hitter in this spot.  There are a couple of shortstops, but unless they scouted something unusual, that position isn’t necessarily a high need.

The goal overall may still be about taking kids from College that can fill the farm system up and perhaps be ready sooner than the high school kids… they are still needing to replenish the minors in general.

The 25th spot is a tough one… everybody wants to find their Mike Trout here that nobody else has noticed, but the fact is that everybody notices these players and has a strong book on each one these days:  there are few true secrets anymore.

The bet here is that a college pitcher is taken — one that projects to a back-end-of-the-rotation level.

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That might be the safe approach, but the ‘best player available’ philosophy can’t hurt, either.