The Atlanta Braves have the 24th pick in Sunday’s Rule 4 draft, and as usual, no one can say with certainty who gets the nod.
I had the opportunity to ask ESPN’s Kiley McDaniel a couple of questions about the Atlanta Braves‘ possible choices and how they view the draft under GM Alex Anthopoulos.
The 2021 draft lacks a consensus, unquestioned, number one prospect. We’ve heard the names Jack Leiter and Kumar Rocker nonstop for months, but neither player pitcher comes in at number one on any of the big three lists.
McDaniel has shortstop Jordan Lawler at the top of his list (subscription required), and former Tomahawk Take writer and current Baseball America draft guru Carlo Collazo agrees (subscription required). MLB Pipeline has Lawler third and another shortstop Marcelo Mayer as their number one.
Depending on who you talk to, there are six to eight prospects who could go at number one overall, and another three or four who might go there if the Pirates decide to go under-slot and spread their money around. None of those players will make it to the Atlanta Braves at number 24.
After those prospects, the field flattens out quite a bit. If, for example, a team likes a hitter at number fourteen, they probably like three other hitters equally well and will choose based on makeup and cost.
Parity perfectly describes prospects ranked between 15 and 40. In that group, the choice is less about taking the best available player on skills and more about how the player fills the team’s farm system, how far the team feels it is from contending, and if all else is equal, which player will sign for less money.
With those caveats, here’s my part of the discussion with Kiley McDaniel.