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MLB Draft: Braves work the system with selections of Anderson, Wentz and Muller

Ian Anderson at No. 3 was a surprise to some, but a clear picture was painted by the end of the night.

Jason Getz-USA TODAY Sports

The Braves went into the 2016 Draft with a plan, and they executed it. The selection of Ian Anderson with the No. 3 pick foreshadowed what many thought the club would do: cut a deal early to score big later that night.

The result? Three high school pitchers ranked in the Baseball America's Top 30 – Anderson, Joey Wentz and Kyle Muller, the Gatorade National Player of the Year. That's a massive haul.

The MLB draft is all about money. It is nothing like the NFL or NBA drafts you watch. Each pick has designated slot money assigned to it. Teams with high picks will sometimes look to find a bargain with their highest pick to save money for a later pick. The Phillies and Reds did something similar with their top-two selections. It's a system, and teams exploit it.

Taking someone like Jason Groome or Riley Pint would have been expensive for Atlanta. They would likely command $6M+ to sign.

Ian Anderson was ranked 12th overall by Baseball America. Since he didn't necessarily project as a top-10 guy, the Braves can sign him for somewhere around $3 million below the recommended amount of $6.5 million. That frees up money to spend big on Wentz, the 40th overall pick, and Muller, taken four picks later.

Wentz and Muller have serious upside. So does Anderson, though he's more polished than Wentz and Muller. It's not a guarantee that all three sign, but the money should be there. They will only add to the tremendous depth the Braves have in the minors.

The Braves have spent the last 18 months collecting as many pitchers as possible. Armed with plenty of money and a draft pick that allowed them to rig the system, the team added three of the best high school pitchers in a draft that was headlined by high school pitchers.

The club used their 76th pick to add Brett Cumberland, a slugging catcher by way of UC-Berkeley.

It's never wise to judge draft picks just hours after they're made, but Braves fans should be happy with tonight's selections. Now let's go add some bats.

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