Petco Park, despite the perpetually average (to below-average) team that calls it home, is seemingly a house of horrors for the Braves on every road trip to San Diego. Monday night was no different, as Julio Teheran was lit up by a middling Padres lineup and the offense was largely held quiet. San Diego managed to plate ten runs against the likes of Teheran and Luiz Gohara, winning the game 10-3 and kicking off the Atlanta west coast trip with a solid gut punch.
The Braves had the eighth pick in the MLB Draft on Monday, and with it selected Florida prep right-hander Carter Stewart. With an already impressive collection of arms amassed over the past 3-4 years, the Braves add yet another high-ceiling prospect that has seen his 70-grade curveball become one of the most highly-praised offerings in the class. Braves fans should be excited about this pick.
Our own Garrett Spain takes a look at Carter Stewart and what the Braves are getting with their eighth overall selection.
Stewart’s go to pitch is his black magic curveball, featuring spin rates consistently above 3200 RPM. The spin rate on his pitch is actually better than any current major leaguer and makes this curveball potentially the best pitch in the draft. He throws the pitch on a true 12-6 plane and like his fastball it has seen a leap in velocity to the low-to-mid-80s. Stewart has consistently produced swings and misses from even top competition on the curveball, and for a pitch with such elite movement he does quite well to control the ball.
After selecting Stewart early in the first round, Atlanta then opted for a college bat in the second, taking Wichita State outfielder Greyson Jenista. The 6’4” left-handed hitter is a large presence, and despite middling power numbers this season, has been labeled as a power bat by many scouts. The combination of bat speed and strike zone recognition make Jenista an intriguing pick, especially given his potential to move quickly due to his age and polished approach.
After a gruesome injury in Boston sidelined outfielder Ronald Acuña, there was optimism that he may be able to return after his 10-day disabled list stint had expired, but on Monday it was reported that the top prospect was still experiencing soreness in the left knee and has no timetable for a return. The Braves will await his return as they continue to deploy a mixture of Preston Tucker and Charlie Culberson in left field.
Jim Callis of MLB.com breaks down each pick of the first round, including the Braves’ selection of Carter Stewart, who he says possesses the best breaking ball in the entire class.