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Recapping the Braves 2009 Draft: Day 2, Part 1

As you read the reviews of the 4th through 15th-round picks, keep in mind that this is a group of draftees the Braves try to get 100% signed. After them they may take some flyers on kids they hope to sign, or kids they want to treat as summer follows (following their progress in a summer league and making a determination about whether to sign them just before the August 17th signing deadline).

There are definitely some trends here, as there usually are in Braves drafts. The team is doign a good job of picking up some middle infield talent, and they are of course picking tons of pitchers. Many of the guys they've picked are surprises to have gone this early and are were unranked guys on the Baseball America lists (which is what I used to glean the rankings listed in the descriptions below).

Another interesting trend you will notice is the amount of college players as opposed to the lack of high school prospects. This is a departure from some other drafts that were rich in high school talent.

Mycal Jones (4), SS - Ranked as the 143rd best player available, and the 10th-best shortstop, and described as one of the first JuCo players who should be taken -- that fits right up the Braves alley, as they love the JuCo guys. He is old for a JuCo player at 22, as he had to fight through some academic ineligibility. His greatest asset may be his speed, but he'll have to refine his swing to utilize it more on the basepaths, as he has shown good power with an uppercut swing in college. Comparisons to him are that of a Chone Figgins-type middle infielder. It looks like the Braves got good value with this pick, and they added to areas of need in the middle infield and speed categories.

Thomas (David) Berryhill (5), RHP - He's a junior out of Newberry College, which is a school in South Carolina (a lot of berries there). He served as their closer with a fastball in the mid-90's, and is considered a good all around athelete. BA says he could be a summer follow, but going in the 5th round should mean the Braves intend to sign him sooner rather than later.

Ryan Woolley (6), RHP - He is a junior from UAB, so another Southern kid. He's not listed among the top-prospects from Alabama, as he is a transfer from UGA. He didn't play baseball last year after being injured in a car wreck during the Cape Cod league in 2008, click here for more.

Robert (Robby) Hefflinger (7), OF - A local kid from Georgia Perimeter College (they have a baseball team?). He's another kid who is not listed among the top prospects in Georgia. He was a two-way player, putting 7-0 record with three saves and five complete games while striking out 60 to go along with a 2.68 earned run average as a pitcher, and hitting .324 with 11 home runs had 43 RBIs while playing the outfield. He also played third base and catcher in high school, graduating from the same high school as the Owings brothers, Jon Mark and Micah. More here.

Kyle Rose (8), OF - A community college prospect, and another unknown kid from Alabama who is not listed among that state's top prospects. He's also another kid who has been involved in an accident, having injured his spleen in a bus crash in high school. There's a local news video of the incident here.

Matthew Weaver (9), SS - Let's see if we can get the trend right: a community college kid, unranked in his state, yep, this is our guy. He's a freshman out of New Jersey, and is another two-way player who posted a 3.38 ERA, primarily as a relief pitcher. His real skill is with the bat, and no doubt why the Braves drafted him as a hitter. He hit. 452/.517/.839 last  year with 13 HR, 71 RBI, and 28 SB.

Aaron Northcraft (10), RHP - Unbelievably it took until the 10th round for the Braves to pick a high-school player, and hallelujah he's ranked. Of course, he's from a high school in California, so he's ranked 48th in the state. Mater Dei high school is in Santa Ana, an interesting connection there is that Kris Medlen went to Santa Ana Community College. Northcraft is a big 215-pound, 6-foot-4 pitcher with a delivery that is almost sidearm. His fastball tops out at 90mph and has good movement. He was projected to go higher than the 10th round, and will be a tough sign, as he is also being wooed by USC.

Christopher (Casey) Masters (11), LHP - Back to college kids. Masters is a big fellow at 6-foot, 230-pounds. He can run his fastball up into the low 90's, but his best pitch is his curveball. He is originally from Marieeta, Georgia, so no doubt he is very familiar to the Braves scouting personnel.

Christopher Lovett (12), SS - Our third JuCo shortstop taken in this draft. Here's another guy who is not ranked in Tennessee. He hit .392 with 15 HR and 49 RBI last year for Columbia State Community College.

Jordan Kreke (13), 3B - A college senior from Eastern Illinois University. He is listed as the 18th-best prospect in Illinois, and he's also listed as a shortstop, but the Braves must view him as a third baseman since that's what they drafted him as. He hit .394 this spring with 16 doubles, 13 homers and 59 RBIs his senior season. He is the son of Don Kreke, who was drafted three seperate times, but had his career cut short because of injuries. More on him here.

Cory Harrilchak (14), CF - This college senior might draw some comparisons to the recently acquired Nate McLouth. He's a 5-foot-11 speedy center fielder with good power, and is considered a "grinder" as opposed to a tools guy. He was ranked as the 22nd best prospect in North Carolina, and was expected to be drafted in the top-15 rounds. A Southern Conference coaches poll listed Harrilchak as the most underrated pitcher, one of the three best pure hitters, the hitter you least want to face, and the best base-runner.

Bennett Pickar (15), C - Only the second high school player selected by the Braves so far. He is the first catcher taken in this year's draft and the only catcher on the All-Colorado high school team. While he was not listed among the top catching talents in the nation by BA, he is considered by many to have a pro body, a pro arm, and a rapidly developing bat.

That's all for now. I'll have the wrapup of picks 16-through-30 later tonight.

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