Braves picks: 21. 85. 116
Hey guys, my name is Matt and this is my first year involved with this project. I'm a huge Braves fan and am a Braves featured columnist on Bleacher Report.
This first post is mostly just about the organization, position by position, as well as the recent draft philosophy.
Heading into the draft, the Braves have an interesting farm system. Obviously there is a TON of pitching talent starting with Julio Teheran, Arodys Vizcaino, and Sean Gilmartin, but also including Zeke Spruill and JR Graham among others. Pitching doesn't need to be a priority in this draft.
There aren't many first base prospects worth noting, but some other guys could ever convert if needed. However the presence of Freddie Freeman means that this isn't going to be a priority.
At second base Tommy La Stella is an intriguing prospect from last year's draft and Phil Gosselin has some potential as well. With Dan Uggla in town for the next few years, second base isn't a huge priority but it could be a spot the Braves look depending on who is available.
Shortstop is loaded. Obviously rookie Tyler Pastornicky has started hitting recently and Andrelton Simmons looks like a potential All-Star right now, but there is more depth. Nick Ahmed, a top pick in last year's draft has been playing well this year too. This isn't going to be a big priority spot this year.
At third Chipper is done after the year but a Martin Prado or Juan Francisco could take over. Joey Terdoslavich is in AAA, but hasn't been hitting well, Joe Leonard hasn't lived up to his draft hype but is having a decent year, Edward Salcedo is still raw but showing tools, and Brandon Drury is struggling in the Sally League. This does not even include Kyle Kubitza, a pick from last year. This could be a spot the Braves look.
At catcher Brian McCann is the guy, though his contract could lead to him needing to be replaced within a few years. Christian Bethancourt is the leading candidate to replace him, but Evan Gattis has a chance too. The Braves could draft someone here if the right guy is available.
In the outfield there are plenty of questions. Jason Heyward has a spot locked up for the next decade or so, but that's the only thing close to being solved. Michael Bourn is a free agent after the year and Martin Prado could be moved to third after the season. There aren't many big prospects, though speedy center fielder Matt Lipka has potential.
What this means is that the Braves are rich in pitching depth but have a need for hitting prospects, especially outfielders and high-ceiling guys.
The Braves are known for drafting pitching- especially college pitching in recent years. Their last few drafts have been ones where they have spent little money, though they did find some quality players. The Braves could actually be willing to spend some money in this draft because they dropped some big contracts after last year and more after this season(Chipper, Lowe)- but it would be a major surprise if they went way over-slot for a guy early on.
I'll start to throw some names around next time.