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The Braves Final Mock Draft Picks Are In For The 2012 MLB First Year Player Draft

2012draft_medium The 2012 MLB First Year Player Draft is finally here. Today is the day. The live coverage starts at 6pm tonight on the MLB Network, and the first pick is made right around the 7 o'clock hour. The Astros will be the first team to pick, and then the Braves are on the board with the 21st pick (probably an hour and half into the draft).

Talking Chop did a preview last week of six players the Braves could select tonight, that preview can be found here.

Capitol Avenue Club did an extensive review of eleven players they think the Braves might be in on, which can be found here.

Mock drafts have been running all weekend, and up through today. Here is a rundown of the latest mocks, with the projected pick:

  • Baseball America's mock draft on Friday had the Braves taking prep shortstop Tanner Rahier.
  • Baseball America's latest mock draft, posted today, has Atlanta drafting prep outfielder D.J. Davis.
  • ESPN's Keith Law has the Braves drafting high school left-handed pitcher Matt Smoral in his latest mock from Friday.
  • MLB's Jonathan Mayo predicts the Braves will take college outfielder Tyler Naquin.
  • Over at Minor League Ball, John Sickels and Matt Garrioch both predict the Braves will take Naquin, in their latest mock drafts, posted yesterday.
  • Kevin Goldstein of Baseball Prospectus has the Braves on Rahier in his latest mock draft, posted today; saying this about the Braves mindset for the first round:

The Braves are firmly in "best player available" mode, and hoping for an unexpected slide. Rahier has been sliding up boards over the last two weeks, and had an outstanding workout for Atlanta.

The Braves really seem to want Alabama high school outfielder David Dahl, but he's likely to be drafted much higher, with most mock drafts making him the tenth pick by the Rockies. In addition to the Braves being in "best player available" mode, they will also be in "at or below slot" mode, which could conflict with "best available player" mode. As Talking Chop pointed out last month, the recommended slot bonus for the Braves with the 21st overall selection is $1,825,000. A bonus of that size would be the third-highest bonus the Braves have ever paid an amateur player.

That first round bonus is just under half of the $4,030,800 that the Braves will be allotted to spend across their first ten picks by Major League Baseball. For more on those rules go here. The Braves internal budget will likely not be much more than that, judging by what they've spent in recent years. For that reason you may see the Braves draft a player higher than they should, and sign him for less than slot. That would go against the "best available player" mode, but fit right into "at or below slot" mode.

We won't have to wait too long before we know who it will be. A draft open thread will go up tonight around 6pm for general draft discussion.

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