Day 2 of the MLB Draft has completed and despite not having a third round pick the Braves still had a very strong day with some incredible value. Based on the calls alone you could tell the front office was very thrilled to add some of these players and there is a very good reason they felt this way - let’s recap today.
Round 4 - Tristan Beck, Stanford
Perhaps one of the biggest surprises was the Braves being able to grab Tristan Beck in the fourth round (112). The Braves have been tied to Beck for quite some time and were able to nab him with the 112th pick - much to the happiness of draft room which burst out in applause upon the announcement of the pick. Beck, whose value dropped essentially only because of a back injury, throws three pitches for strikes including a great fastball/changeup combo, and a very solid curveball. He is a first/second round talent that the Braves were able to draft in the fourth and couldn’t be happier to add his arm to the mix. Beck came in at 35 on MLB Pipeline’s top 200 and gave him an overall grade of 50.
Round 5 - Trey Riley, John A Logan College
Riley is an extremely intriguing arm that has an extremely good fastball/slider combo, both of which are graded at a 60, and a solid changeup. To me Riley profiles as a dynamic reliever should the Braves decide to go that route, but I’m sure they will keep him as a starter as long as possible. Riley’s fastball sits in the mid-90s and can touch 97, and then a slider that comes in, in the mid-80s. Riley came in at 76 on Pipeline’s top 100 and getting him at 142 is some tremendous value. Riley finished this season with a 1.85 ERA and a 13.56 K/9 rate - showing how dynamic his arm can be.
Round 6 - Andrew Moritz, UNC Greensboro (NC)
Braves once again went to UNC Greensboro to pick up an intriguing bat in Andrew Moritz. While he doesn’t hit for much power, what he does do is hit. In his three years in college Moritz’s lowest OPS was .963 - his Sophomore year where he hit .392/.450/.513. He’s coming off his junior year that saw him hit .428/.492/.637 with a 10.7 SO%, and 11.1 BB%. While he doesn’t possess elite speed, he has great instincts in the field and should be able to stay in center and provide good defense while possessing a plus hit tool.
Round 7 - Brooks Wilson, Stetson University
ATHLETE ALERT. Brooks Wilson was a two-way player with Stetson University who appeared in 31 games where he had an 11.1 K/9, 3.1 BB/9, and 2.13 ERA along with an .887 OPS (.307/.418/.469). Unconventionally, and rather cool, Brooks has a strong fastball/splitter combo with his splitter being his real swing-and-miss pitch. He could be a relatively quick prospect that ascends his way up the system because there is a ton to like about this pick.
Round 8 - AJ Graffanino, Washington
The son of former major leaguer Tony Graffanino, AJ makes his money off of his defense. AJ did hit .329/.420/.434 his Junior year, with a microscopic 6.59 SO%, but his billing is his fielding ability. He’s a big body, coming in at 6’2”, but he moves extremely well and provide plus defense up the middle. While his bat doesn’t project for much power, and it remains to be seen if he can hit at a high level, his floor is still a very good defensive shortstop and with the Braves pitching plethora - his addition is valuable to the organization.
Round 9 - Ryan Shetter, Texas Tech
Shetter, announced as a starting pitcher, had a great year at Texas Tech going 5-0 with an 2.97 ERA, 1.15 WHIP, 9.6 K/9, and 3.7 BB/9. Shetter sits in the low 90s with his fastball with a solid curveball and breaking ball. Despite the walk rate he’s a known strike thrower and has seen some solid development each year with improving numbers.
Round 10 - Brett Langhorne, Carson-Newman College
The run on college seniors in the 10th round didn’t end with the Braves as they select the third baseman out of Carson-Newman college. After struggling at Tennessee for two years, Langhorne transferred to the Division 2 school and hit .323/.433/.509 in 52 games. Langhorne also went 17-of-20 in the stolen base department. Langhorne also took on the Cape Cod league in 2016 where he hit .250/.318/.300.
Overall, this was a fantastic day two for the Braves who got a ton of value despite not having a single pick in the third round. The trio of Beck/Stewart/Jenista that the Braves got in the first four rounds are all first/early second round value picks and it’s clear the Braves went with best available and then decided to go with intriguing pitchers to help stay within the budget. There is a ton to like and we are only on day two! Check back tomorrow for more coverage of the 2018 MLB Draft.