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Recapping the Braves 2008 Draft: Day 2, Part 2

The draft craziness continues with picks from rounds 16 through 30. This next group is interesting as there may be more talent in this group than in the previous 7 through 15 group. The Braves drafted several players who, in previous years, would make perfect draft and follow candidates. These selections may be the ones that the Braves plan to spend some extra money on to sign. Just like a draft and follow selection would be wooed right before the following year’s draft with extra money, some of these selections may be thrown some extra money this year to sign (and some may like the idea of signing without the pressure of being a high draft pick). Interesting picks to keep our eyes on to see if they sign.

Billy Burns (16), OF – With Burns we begin a run of Atlanta-area high school draftees, and the first of two consecutive players taken from Walton High School in Cobb County. Burns is also an unranked Georgia player. What is even more surprising is that he was taken ahead of two ranked Georgia players.

Mark Pope (17), RHP
– The second consecutive player taken from Walton HS, Pope was ranked as the 19th best prospect in Georgia by Baseball America. He already has a 90 mph sinking fastball as well as a curveball, both of which he can command.

Michael Palazzone (18), RHP – Palazzone was skipped over in the early rounds of the draft despite being ranked nationally by BA as the 139th best prospect (11th in Georgia). He is a graduate of Lassiter High School, again in Cobb County, and has played in the East Cobb League and, like our top draft pick this year Brett DeVall, Palazzone was also an Aflac All-America. He has a big frame and can already run his fast ball up to 92 mph. He has a big breaking curve ball that is considered major league ready and an advanced changeup. Since he was drafted so late, he may opt to fulfill his commitment to the University of Georgia instead of signing with the Braves. Keep an eye on this pick, if we can sign him he may prove to be like another second or third round pick.

Zachary Fuesser (19), LHP – Another high school pitcher, this time out of South Carolina, he was ranked as the 12th best prospect in the state.

Robert Brooks (20), SS
– This pick continues more trends for the Braves in this draft that I can list. He is a JuCo player. He is out of the South, specifically Alabama. He is a teammate of another draft pick, third-rounder Craig Kimbrel. He is ranked as the 21st best prospect in Alabama by Baseball America. I’m sure the list could go on and on. This pick also begins a run of shortstop picks for the Braves over the next five rounds. I wonder if their strategy is to see which one signs first?

Tyler Barnett (21), SS – Finally we choose another four-year college player, Barnett is a senior out of Eastern Kentucky University.

Bryan Carter (22), 3B
– He also goes by Dane Carter, and was ranked as the 91st best prospect in Texas by BA (there are a lot of prospects in Texas). He will likely sign as he is a senior at Texas A&M.

Daniel Hodges (23), RHP – He was unranked as a JuCo player out of North Carolina. He is also another senior at a four-year college who will likely sign with Atlanta.

Shane Moody (24), SS – Ranked as the 44th best prospect in North Carolina by BA, and the fourth consecutive senior picked from a four-year university. He is out of UNC Charlotte.

Nicholas Fuller (25), RHP – Yet another player out of Walter States Community College in Tennessee, our third one this draft (the others being Milligan and Francis). He is ranked as the 26th best prospect in Tennessee. As far as the Baseball America list goes, there are three more prospects ranked from Walters State in their top-49 in Tennessee. Fuller is another guy who, at least talent-wise, could have gone much higher in the draft, but as a freshman at the University of South Carolina he was dismissed from the team after his arrest and subsequent criminal prosecution for breaking into a dorm room and stealing some electronic equipment. The Braves must believe that Fuller is past his problems. Fuller’s accomplice in the robbery was Lonnie Chisenhall, who was selected by the Indians with the 29th overall pick in the first round this year.

Calvin Culver (26), OF – Ranked 118th in the state of California, another JuCo draftee by the Braves.

Anthony Rendon (27), SS – Ranked as the 30th best prospect in Texas by BA he is considered one of the best high school hitters in the state and if signed could move quickly in the organization. He may eventually wind up at second base or in the outfield, but his power and good plate discipline should allow him to find a spot on any roster.

Quentin Cate (28), C – An unranked Community College kid from California. I am surprised it took the Braves this long to select their second catcher of the draft. I had thought this was more of an area of need for the Braves.

Josh Moody (29), LHP – Moody is the third player taken from Nevada, and is a teammate of Kyle Farrell, our ninth-round selection.

Chris Shehan (30), OF – This 27th ranked prospect in Georgia hit .428 with 22 homeruns for Georgia Southern University. He is athletic with both speed and power, and his above average bat speed gives him a good chance to hit for power in the pros. He is only a junior and may opt to return for another year and raise his draft standing. In past years he would have been a perfect draft and follow.

We’ll finish up the Braves selections tomorrow with picks from rounds 31 through 50.

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