It is never too early for a new MLB mock draft. Alright, maybe it is a tad early, but it is still fun to see who they currently project the Atlanta Braves selecting. Right now, the Braves are tabbed to take Tanner Witt, a college pitcher from the University of Texas, with the 24th pick.
The Atlanta Braves Select Tanner Witt
A college pitcher with upside does make some sense for the Braves. Witt is coming off Tommy John surgery but shows plenty of promise. Before the injury, he featured a plus fastball that went into the mid-90s with good spin rates. He features a few off-speed pitches, but the curveball looks to be his best secondary pitch and was also viewed as a plus offering.
The issue with doing a mock draft this early is that Witt will almost certainly move out of this range of the draft. Especially considering he is coming off a Tommy John. If he were to come back and pitch well, it could elevate his draft positioning. On the other hand, Witt could fade if his stuff does not appear as sharp post-surgery or if recovery takes longer than expected.
Tanner Witt would make sense for the Braves in this position. A plus fastball and curveball has been something they have targeted in recent drafts. A college pitcher could also reach the majors quicker and contribute to the major league team which is well within a championship window.
While the Braves could be interested in Tanner Witt, it is still too early to get a good feel for who they might take. There will be more mock drafts over the next few months and new names will be linked to the team. With the Braves farm system’s current state, it is also tough to project a particular position for them to target. They could simply take best talent available when the time comes.
Another important factor that could impact the Braves draft pick is the luxury tax. If a team goes over the tax threshold by over $40M have their highest draft pick pushed back 10 draft spots unless that pick falls within the top 6. In that case, a team’s second highest pick gets moved back 10 spots. For the Braves, it would be their first round pick which currently sits at 24. The competitive balance tax threshold for 2023 is $233M. Spotrac currently projects the Braves projected tax at around $226M.
Meaning the team has about $47M to play with before they would have their pick moved back. They would need to make a few more moves to put them in this area. It is important to note though seeing as the Braves do have a question at shortstop and Dansby Swanson is probably going to get a deal with an AAV in the area that could cut that $47M in half. The Braves probably will not fly by the threshold to the point of having their pick moved back but is something to note. Plus, if Dansby does sign elsewhere, the Braves get an extra pick which adds to their bonus pool.
Plenty to Come!
We are still months away from the MLB draft. Meaning we are still well away from zeroing in on who the Braves are interested in come draft day. The Braves are projected with Tanner Witt currently but that will most likely change.
What do we think about Tanner Witt? Who are some names to keep an eye on come draft day? Could the Braves have their pick pushed back? All things we will keep an eye on throughout this offseason and as we get closer to draft time.