Another week goes by and there’s yet another opinion out there on who the Atlanta Braves might select with their 1st round draft pick next month.
By now we know that predicting the MLB draft is a fool’s errand, especially when we’re talking about the pick of an Atlanta Braves team that is selecting in the 24th slot overall.
However, there are some trends that can be gleaned from the guesses that the “experts” are making. With that in mind, here are the picks from 3 sources cited in Jake’s post from earlier in the week:
- MLB.com (Mayo): RHP/SS Bubba Chandler (HS)
- CBS Sports: SS/Closer Spencer Schwellenbach (Nebraska). He’d be in the running for having the second-longest name in team history (Saltalamacchia)
- ESPN (McDaniel): RHP Will Bednar (Mississippi State). McDaniel has hinted that he has some specific insight into the Braves’ intentions here, but is being coy thus far about whether he’s actually revealing that info yet.
So… mostly pitchers. At the very most you can think “pitchers who are also athletes who could also take up a bat if that seems to be a better option” (as Austin Riley was). That jives with today’s new guesstimate from Baseball America:
Braves’ pick: perhaps Gavin Williams?
Williams is a right-handed pitcher from East Carolina, their best starter this year.
He posted a 1.88 ERA over 81.1 innings in 12 starts (15 appeances overall), going 10-1 with a save thrown in for fun. He threw 1 complete game.
In those 81 innings, he struck out 130 batters, walking 21. Hitters batted .193 against him and overall he appears to have posted a WHIP of 0.96.
How much was he relied upon? No one else on the team threw more than 62 innings and no other regular starter was better than a 3.77 ERA.
Continuing the theme of checking for trends, though, here are a bunch of “also mentioned” names from the various industry sources:
- ESPN: Schwellenbach, Michael McGreevy (UCSB pitcher), and 2 infielders: Wright State’s Tyler Black and E. Carolina’s Connor Norby (hit .415 and OPS’d over 1.100).
- MLB.com: Ky Bush (St. Mary’s College), Tommy Mace (U. Florida)
- Baseball America: Schwellenbach and a bushel of college pitchers. Their prior mock pick for the Braves was Wake Forest’s Ryan Cusick.
The one sleeper pick noted by BA is a high school outfielder from Massachusetts named Joshua Baez. The Braves were said to be checking in on him ‘heavily’ as the season began, but either have cooled on him… or they’re playing possum.
In any case, virtually everyone is thinking “college pitcher” for this 24th overall pick.
This pick position is a tough slot, no doubt. While there are the occasional miracles who show up roughly this spot (Mike Trout, anyone?), the scouting has to be very good to find those diamonds in the rough who can grow up to be productive major leaguers.
The Rule 4 draft begins on July 11th.