Back to Texas
The Atlanta Braves returned to Texas to select AJ Smith-Shawver, a 6’-3 205 pound right out of Heritage High School in Colleyville, Texas, ranked number 321 nationwide, and number 25 in Texas by Baseball America.
Smith-Shawver is a wanted man; recruited by NCAA Division I schools as a three-star quarterback and a two-way player between the foul lines where Texas Tech suggests he could play third base as well as pitch. However, his future in baseball appears to lie on that raised bump between home plate and second base.
He’s new to pitching and still learning his mound craft; his mechanics aren’t smooth and lacks consistent command. Saying that, his fastball touches 95 and he’s shown he can spin a hook. Both pitches need work, but the Braves will get him into the system before too many bad habits turn into muscle memory.
Speedy center fielder
Tyler Collins is fast… no I mean really fast. Jim Callis said his speed wasn’t quite an 80, but definitely a 70 when they went over his tools after the announcement.
Baseball American ranks the 5’-10, 175-pound center fielder for Boyd High School in McKinney Teas as their number 322 prospect nationwide and the number 26 prospect in Texas.
Collins bats leadoff for Boyd, choking up on the bat and slashing balls all over the ballpark. His speed turns singles into doubles and doubles into triples. On defense his speed makes up for some of the bad reads he gets on fly-balls and his arm strength needs work, but he projects as an above-average hitter and annoying baserunner for opposing pitchers.