With information, mock drafts, rumors, leaks, etc. about the draft coming fast and furious now, here is some of the information about the Braves and the MLB draft, in particular what they are going to do with the 3rd overall pick.
1.) First, to the surprise of exactly no one, the Braves have interest in Mercer standout Kyle Lewis. However, Jon Morosi (and others) reported some more specific interest.
This, again, isn't abnormal as Lewis is widely regarded as one of the top players in the draft and has also worked out for the Phillies and others. However, fans of Lewis coming to Atlanta should be heartened that the Braves are taking a good long look at him and, according to some secondary sources, were impressed.
2.) Baseball America put their Mock Draft 5.0 out there and they, again, had the Braves taking Kyle Lewis. However, there are some interesting tidbits in this. One is that they noted the Braves are being very secretive with their preferences so nothing is a guarantee and little insider info is making to BA at least. Secondly, the BA staff noted the Braves checking in on high school arms, possibly scouting out potential underslot/overslot options including Jason Groome, Riley Pint, and Ian Anderson. This will not be the last time Anderson's name is mentioned in this post.
3.) The MLB Pipeline dynamic duo of Jim Callis and Jonathan Mayo shared their thoughts and pearls of information in a post yesterday as well first noting that Jason Groome announced his commitment to junior college. Some are thinking his stock has slid dramatically and he is looking to re-enter the draft in 2017 and allow his value to recover while others see the move as a way to gain leverage in bonus discussions...use that information for what you will. However, the Braves are mentioned specifically as a team potentially looking to make an underslot deal with the number 3 pick given all of the uncertainty in front of them with the Phillies and Reds. Callis and Mayo specifically mentioned the Braves coming out in force last week to scout prep right-hander Ian Anderson and the young man was electric in that start. Its still considered a longshot, but if the Braves can swing the underslot deal, they could feasibly sign a sliding player with potential signability problems including (pure speculation) Jason Groome, Joey Wentz, Blake Rutherford, or.....
4.) Delvin Perez. Considered by some to be the position player in the draft with the highest ceiling, there was talk early on of the young shortstop being a slam dunk top ten pick and potentially a top 5 pick. However, there has a pretty severe dropoff in his stock of late and it appears as though we may have an answer why
Delvin Perez & JaVon Shelby failed drug tests. Perez for performance enhancer, Shelby for adderall: https://t.co/lNl4Mtmm6s— Hudson Belinsky (@hudsonbelinsky) June 8, 2016
Now, there is lots of info we don't know here including what he tested positive for, etc. However, for a team like the Braves who could be utilizing a strategy to catch a player who slides in the draft and snatch him up, Perez could be interesting. However, makeup is a big part of what the Braves are looking for in prospects and Perez already had some red flags before making this colossal blunder. Still and interesting thought to ponder as the first round ticks down on Thursday.
5.) Mark Bowman put an article out a couple of days ago where he highlights that the Braves may use this draft to focus on getting hitters in to their system. Braves scouting director Brian Bridges noted that it will take a commitment by the organization towards targeting and picking multiple position players to shore up those ranks in the draft. Its left ambiguous if the Braves are ACTUALLY going to do that, but its worth considering given the absence of position player depth in the minors. The article also has a section on, yep..you guessed it, Kyle Lewis so there is that as well.
6.) One last note which is a bit older but worth mentioning. With all of this talk of overslot deals in the 40s for the Braves, Fangraph's new(ish) prospect guru (and generally awesome guy) Eric Longenhagen put a few more names out there a week or so ago.
If Braves try to cut a deal at 40 or 44, four names to keep an eye on are Kyle Muller, Forrest Whitley, Kevin Gowdy, and Will Benson.— Eric Longenhagen (@longenhagen) May 30, 2016
Its worth mentioning that in the above MLB Pipeline post, Benson is specifically noted as having real signability concerns. A raw prep prospect to begin with, Callis and Mayo have gotten wind that Benson wants Daz Cameron money ($4 million) to not go off to college at Duke University.