Atlanta Braves draft options and short Q and A with Kiley McDaniel

The Atlanta Braves selected catcher Shea Langeliers with their first pick in the 2019 Rule 4 draft. (Photo by Brace Hemmelgarn/Minnesota Twins/Getty Images)
The Atlanta Braves selected catcher Shea Langeliers with their first pick in the 2019 Rule 4 draft. (Photo by Brace Hemmelgarn/Minnesota Twins/Getty Images) /
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The Atlanta Braves might grab Trey Sweeney as an under-slot signing.  Syndication: LafayetteIN /

White and Sweeney

KD:  I would say, Lonnie White Jr., (Malvern Pa.  ESPN 32, MLB 72, BA 32) Prep a high school centerfielder that’s committed to play wide receiver at Penn State, in Pennsylvania, is a candidate to be one of the guys they overpay at that second pick if they go under at the first one.

(White originally committed to Clemson for baseball, but he switched his commitment in May 2020 to Penn State to play both baseball and wide receiver for the football team. I don’t see the  Braves risking money on a player who may decide football is king, as Oakland did last year, losing the money twice.)

OWENS: I like what I see in Trey Sweeney (ESPN 27, BA and MLB number 55), out of Eastern Illinois. Is there a chance he goes higher than like second round in this situation? He doesn’t look that much different from some of the shortstops that you’re talking about.

He batted .382/.522/.712 with 14 homers in 48 games, walking 46 times with just 24 strikeouts this season, and while Eastern Illinois isn’t a big school, and his mechanics need work, hitters will hit. He’s the same size as Corey Seager; why shouldn’t he figure it out?

KD: . . .Sweeney (or)  Connor Norby (East Carolina 2B, ESPN 32, MLB 58, BA 44),  a contact-based college infielder are of interest (to Atlanta) . . .(who) seem to like college middle infielders . . . (after taking) (Braden) Shewmake and Beau Philip and Langeliers . . .  I think (drafting up the middle is) their model, their approach, and the things they value tend to move those guys up.

Sweeney’s ceiling

KD: I think (Sweeney), Norby, and Wright State second baseman Tyler Black (ESPN 16, MLB 58, BA 82), are three guys who, if you put them on the Cape (Cape Cod wooden bat league) for a month, would go 15 picks higher.

I think (all three of the infielders I mentioned) might be better than Matt McLain (SS – UCLA, ESPN 15, MLB 12, BA 10),  and there’s a real shot he doesn’t get to number 24. McLain’s in play at 19 and 20 with Toronto and the Yankees, also 21 with the Cubs.

I would say the odds that (McClain) goes in one of those three picks is like maybe 50/50. If he gets past that . . . he probably goes in the late 20s, early 30s. I would say Sweeney is probably likely to go in the top 40, for many of the same reasons you’re mentioned . . .(Sweeney’s) a left-hand hitting, 6’3″, 6’4″, shortstop with bonkers numbers even if it’s only Eastern Illinois.

(His) leg kick might be a little too high. Who knows if he’s really faced good competition. . . But at some point (he has) a chance to (become) a 6’4″ everyday shortstop, . . . why shouldn’t he really go in that different of a range?

Related Story. Late round options. light

McDaniel also suggested first baseman Jacob Walsh and outfielder Ryan Gilbert as potential Atlanta Braves targets in later rounds, and Gilbert as a kate overpay from round seven onward if the club saved a lot of money earlier.