Atlanta Braves MLB Draft: Top College Arms to Watch as Season Ends
As the college baseball season winds down and the 2022 MLB Draft approaches, we look at the top college arms the Atlanta Braves could target with he 20th pick.
The Atlanta Braves have taken some high-upside college arms in the first round of the MLB Draft the last couple of years in Jared Shuster and Ryan Cusick (both from Wake Forest).
We’ll see if they continue with that trend in 2022, but the crop of college arms this year isn’t great.
And a lot of the top arms are either injured or coming off an injury.
But here are a few pitchers that could be in play for the Braves at 20.
Blake Tidwell — RHP (Tennessee): After winning 10 games for Tennessee in 2021, he entered 2022 with a lot of hype. But shoulder soreness kept him out for the first two months of the season.
He’s been slowly working his way back as he’s yet to go further than 4.2 innings in an outing or throw more than 84 pitches. But when out there, he’s been great with a 2.54 ERA and 41 strikeouts in 28.1 innings pitched.
I got to watch him in person at the SEC Baseball Tournament this week and he was really impressive.
Connor Prielipp — LHP (Alabama): Prielipp very well could have been the number one overall pick had he stayed healthy. But after a shortened 2020 season because of COVID, he missed all of 2021 and 2022 after having Tommy John surgery. He did just throw a bullpen session for scouts recently.
He has a devastating slider that grades out as one of the best in this draft class. Seems like the perfect upside arm for the Braves to take at 20 as he has front of the rotation potential.
Gabriel Hughes — RHP (Gonzaga): No college arm has seen their stock rise as much as Hughes. He was a two-way player for the Zags but decided to become a pitcher only this year.
It’s paid off as he has a 2.62 ERA and 124 strikeouts in 86 innings. He features an upper-90s fastball and plus slider.
Kumar Rocker — RHP (No school): If you want to talk about upside, there may not be a pitcher in this draft with more upside than Rocker who seemed like a consensus number one pick going into the 2021 season.
The Mets took him 10th overall last year and had agreed to a $6 million deal, but then backed up after seeing his medical. Rocker chose not to go back to Vanderbilt where he was one of the best pitchers for two seasons. His stock could fluctuate significantly leading up the draft depending on his medical and how he looks during his starts in the Frontier League.
There are some other college arms that could be available at 20, but those three have the biggest upside that the Braves could target.
Let me know which of these four you like or if there is another college pitcher you have your eye on at 20.