We take one more look at who the Atlanta Braves will likely be taking in round 1 of the 2021 MLB Draft starting on Sunday, July 11.
As I type this up on Saturday afternoon we are just one day away from the Atlanta Braves making their first-round selection in the 2021 MLB Draft.
We’ve written a lot about the draft and who the Braves might target and you can read that material here.
Fred Owens wrote a great piece after chatting with ESPN’s Kiley McDaniel, so make sure you read that as well. He goes beyond the first round as well and who Atlanta could be targetting and what their strategy could be.
I’m mostly going to take some of the names Fred mentions there and names I’m hearing the Braves connected to in other places and highlight them.
The Braves almost always seem to go off the board and select the one player nobody has thought of — like with Jared Shuster in 2020. That’s especially true at the backend of the first round when the talent level is so even between prospects 9-40.
But here is a list of players I’ve read or heard the Braves to be most interested in at 24. And I’ll list them in order of most likely.
Will Bednar — RHP — Mississippi State
As Fred writes in his article, I think he’s the top choice for the Braves, but it’s very unlikely he gets to them at 24.
Michael McGreevy — RHP — UC Santa Barbara
Right now, this is the most likely pick to me. I think McGreevy will be available at 24 and is a pretty safe pick. A 6-foot-4 righty with a four-pitch mix — two of them being plus in his mid-90s fastball and slider — with very good command.
Spencer Schwellenbach — RHP/SS — Nebraska
This is the name I’ve seen in mocks the most for the Braves, but there’s also a chance they get him with their second pick. Atlanta is believed to like him more as a starter with an upper 90s fastball, slider, and a change-up that are all above average.
Bubba Chandler — RHP/SS — North Oconee (GA)
I don’t think the Georgia product will make it to the Braves, but if he does, the two-way athlete is certainly in play.
Gavin Williams — RHP — East Carolina
A 1.88 ERA in 81.1 innings for the ECU Pirates in 2021 with 130 strikeouts and just 57 hits allowed and 21 walks.
I watched his last start of the season when he went toe-to-toe with Vanderbilt’s Kumar Rocker and he struck out 13 in 7.1 innings, but he took a tough-luck loss 2-0.
He has the ability to be a top of the rotation starter with his upper 90s fastball and a high-70s curveball that keeps hitters guessing.
Gunnar Hoglund — RHP — Ole Miss AND Jaden Hill — RHP — LSU
I’m lumping these two together because they both have top 10 talent but injuries cut their 2021 seasons short and hurt their draft stock. If they fall to 24 (Hill likely will, Hoglund might not) the Braves could take a big risk on one of them.
Players they could go under slot for in the first round
Connor Norby — 2B — East Carolina
Ky Bush — LHP — Saint Mary’s
Tyler Black — 2B — Wright State
Trey Sweeney — SS — Eastern Illinois
Andrew Abbott — LHP — Virginia
There are 11 names that I’ve heard the most that the Braves could consider. You can bet Atlanta won’t take any of them.
I wrote the other week that high school bats are the toast of this draft class.
But we heard Saturday morning that a lot of high school players are pulling out of this year’s draft in favor of going to college. I think the high school bats they could target in the first round will be difficult to sign.
That’s why it’s a pretty safe assumption that the Braves will take a college arm at 24. The college bats in this draft are not very good.
If they did take a college bat at 24 it would have to be in an effort to save money to take a shot on a high school bat at 59.
If it were me, I’d take Gavin Williams at 24 and hope that Sweeney is available at 59. I think the Braves will go McGreevey and Ky Bush.
We’ll see what happens on Sunday night. The 2021 MLB Draft will start at 7:07 p.m. ET on July 11 on MLB Network. It will only be the first round on Sunday, with the Braves pick likely not happening until around 9 p.m. ET.