The 2018 MLB Draft is now over and the Braves have come away with their picks in rounds 1-40. Due to a missing third rounder from the actions of the previous front office there were only 39 players selected, as well as a little less money to play with in the bonus pool.
Still new general manager Alex Anthopoulos, scouting director Brian Bridges, and the entire team of cross checkers and regional scouts pulled out a very impresive crop of talent. The group is very heavily leaning towards the college side, and also very much towards the side of pitching- but I have no doubts that this will improve the quality of the Braves farm system.
Now lets take a look at who the 39 newest potential members of the Braves system are- as well as their potential signability.
I have linked the scouting reports on Stewart, Jenista, Beck, and Riley as well. Full scouting reports are coming on the other big guys as they sign, a list that includes Higginbotham, Kingham, Vodnik, and Alexander. Moritz signed today, and his full scouting report will be coming soon, but I wanted to get this out first. Should one of the few unsignable players shock us all and sign, a full report on them will also be available.
For all of the guys who won’t have a full scouting report I’ve tried to share at least one good video to give you a look at them. There are a few guys I couldn’t find that with, but most of them have video.
- Carter Stewart, RHP, Florida HS
Chance of Signing: 99.9%. You don’t take a guy this high not to sign him. It would take some bad break for it to not work out for both sides.
2. Greyson Jenista, OF/1B, Wichita State
The Wichita State star and last year’s Cape Cod League MVP was already talked about here. He’s got real potential as he hits for average, and just needs to unlock his considerable power.
Chance of Signing: SIGNED. Jenista signed his contract already. It’s not known exactly what he signed for yet, but it was good to see him get done fast.
3. No pick- MLB penalty
4. Tristan Beck, RHP, Stanford
I already talked about Beck here. He’s a college pitcher who has a high floor as well as some remaining upside. It’s hard not to love this pick.
Chance of Signing: 99.9%. See the comments about Top 10 rounders.
5. Trey Riley, RHP, Illinois JUCO
I talked about Riley here already. He’s another very high upside arm pitching in a cold weather state. Even if he has to move to the pen, his stuff would make him valuable.
Chance of Signing: 99.9%. Not only is he a Top 10 rounder, but I’ve heard some rumors about the amount- which is a little overslot, but not anything huge.
6. Andrew Moritz, OF, UNC Greensboro
Moritz is an interesting player. He’s similar to former Braves prospect Todd Cunningham- a decent prospect who faced too much pressure after being drafted a bit too high for the type of player he was. Moritz is the kind of guy you have to root for, as he had pretty much no options out of high school in terms of pro offers or college offers, but he went to UNCG and led his league in batting average in each of his three seasons. He’s got a potentially plus hit tool to go with a plus run tool and a chance to be above average in center defensively.
I see Moritz as a better prospect than Cunningham, because Moritz offers better defense. That matters because both guys lack power, and a strong defender in center without power is a better profile than that same player who is limited to left defensively. Not to mention his impressive work ethic that has helped turn him into a productive player.
Chance of Signing: SIGNED. Moritz signed today at a deal that will save the Braves roughly $38k from his slot value.
7. Brooks Wilson, RHP, Stetson
While Wilson is a senior, he’s not a traditional “senior sign” type. In fact had Wilson been a junior, his talent alone would have had me saying he should be picked around this point in the draft. The two-way player- he also played shortstop and hit .307/.418/.469 with eight steals this year, is a potential relief ace.
Wilson was actually a starting pitcher up until this year and posted ERA’s of 2.90 and 3.01 in a solid conference in 2016 and 2017. He had solid but not spectacular numbers, and was even drafted in the 24th round by the Rangers last year.
Things changed this year when he moved into the pen, and allowed his stuff to play up. The results also played up, and he became a relief weapon and closer for the Hatters. His solid fastball and above average to plus splitter are tough for hitters, and while I can’t see him closing I can see him being that guy capable of working multiple-inning stints.
Wilson could move through the minors fast and provide the Braves a versatile relief weapon.
Chance of Signing: 100%. Wilson is a lock to sign because he has no other options. Also while he won’t be a $5k senior sign, he will be an underslot guy and the Braves can’t afford to lose that money. He won’t be a quick sign as Stetson is still alive in the NCAA Tournament.
Atlanta takes Brooks Wilson in the 7th round. He has a low 90s fastball and a split-changeup. Solid reliever option who has been used in a lot of high leverage situations in college. #MLBDraft #Braves @StetsonBaseball #stetson pic.twitter.com/ngtx2p43sY— JT Baseball Scouting (@JTScouting) June 5, 2018
8. AJ Graffanino, SS, Washington
The son of former Brave Tony Graffanino, AJ was going to be picked higher until an injury disrupted his season. AJ isn’t too different than his dad in that he is a slick fielding shortstop and above average runner, but there are some questions about how much he hits- particularly power wise.
I’m optimistic that Graffanino is able to hit for enough contact to keep moving up the ladder, but to be honest I don’t see enough power for him to be an every day option. Without that power his best case scenario is as a utility player, but this far down the draft board that is good value.
Chance of Signing: 99.9%. Another Top 10 rounder. Also a guy who won’t sign fast as the Huskies are still in the tournament.
VIDEO: B8 - AJ Graffanino brings in a run with a double to right field. Huskies lead 5-3. pic.twitter.com/o5MxnqHgFp— Washington Baseball (@UW_Baseball) May 27, 2018
9. Ryan Shetter, RHP, Texas Tech
Shetter has been around for a while at Texas Tech, and has always been solid, but he really took a step forward this year. The reason may be because Shetter moved from the rotation to move of a swingman/relief ace role, often coming out of the pen for multiple inning stints.
Shetter doesn’t have the best stuff. In fact he usually sits in the lower 90s with a breaking ball that he can use to get strikeouts, and a usable change. His best attribute is his consistency, as he is a guy with a track record for being solid. His future role is a question, but I think he ends up in the pen- the role he was better in.
Chance of Signing: 99.9%. The Braves aren’t going to let a guy in the Top 10 rounds go. He may have a delay in signing as the Red Raiders are still playing.
10. Brett Langhorne, 3B, Carson Newman
Langhorne is the second senior, but the first true senior sign. It’s actually the second straight year the Braves used a day two pick on a senior sign 3B that backed up Nick Senzel in college, as Langhorne joins Jordan Rodgers. Langhorne eventually transferred out of Tennessee after not playing very much, but after dropping to Carson Newman he was very productive. He’s a little different than most third basemen in that while he’s got some pop, it’s actually his speed that stands out more. In his two years there he has hit .323 and .327 with combined totals of 14 homers and 37 steals. He’s a solid defender as a former prep shortstop, and has good bloodlines considering his father played in the minors.
Chance of Signing: 100%. Not only is he in the Top 10 rounds, but the Braves need his underslot deal to make others work.
11. Jake Higginbotham, LHP, Clemson
The Braves came into the third day with a little bit of money to play with and took a chance on a very interesting lefty out of Clemson. Higginbotham isn’t very big at just 6’0” tall and 175 pounds, and he had an injury cost him half of 2016 and all of 2017- but he has stuff and plenty of it. Despite his stature, Higginbotham can get his fastball up to 94 MPH with an at least average to above curve and a changeup that can at least be usable as a third pitch. He’s also shown some willingness to throw a slider as well. He’s athletic and has some raw upside, but his size and injury history make him a reliever risk.
Chance of Signing: 99.9%. Higginbotham is said to be signing and the Braves wouldn’t have taken him here otherwise. Really the only question is passing the physical- the same issue with all overslot bonus guys.
12. Nolan Kingham, RHP, Texas
There’s a lot to sort through here. I had Kingham towards the back of my Top 100 pre-draft. He’s got power stuff. He has good bloodlines, as his brother is Pirates rookie Nick Kingham. However his stuff was up and down at times this year, sometimes as often as start to start. When he’s on he looks like a guy who should go in the first two rounds, but when he’s off he looks much different. There is definitely a lot to like, and I personally see his stuff as too good to pass up...especially when he’s the type of pitcher who can gut out a big win when he doesn’t have his best stuff(see Texas A&M start in the tournament last weekend). I’m trying not to give too much away as he’s a guy I have targeted for a full scouting report once he’s signed- but that could be a little while as the Longhorns are still playing.
Chance of Signing: 95%. The Braves didn’t take him here to not sign him, and I’ve heard positive things even though signing isn’t what’s on his mind as he chases a national title.
13. Brendan Venter, 1B, Auburn
A former JUCO transfer who had a very strong first year in the SEC. He’s an average hitter with easily plus power, and managed 15 doubles and 12 homers for the Tigers. He’s a converted third baseman, who can play there if needed, but is not good enough to play third regularly. He’s got some potential, but the pressure is really on his bat to produce as an all bat prospect that plays first base- not to mention he’s a right handed hitter and thrower, further adding to him needing to hit.
Chance of Signing: 90%. The Braves simply don’t let guys they take this high walk, as they do a good job of working the money around the kids to bring them in.
14. Victor Vodnik, RHP, California HS
One of the most interesting guys on the third day, I’m saving a lot of info to write up a full scouting report when he signs. Vodnik isn’t very big(5’11”, 175 pounds) and he doesn’t have much of a third pitch at all, but he does have a pair of very strong pitches in a plus fastball and potentially plus slider. Again there is a lot more on him to come.
Chance of Signing: 80%. Vodnik has hinted af signing on his social media already, and was seen as signable heading into the draft.
15. Greg Cullen, 2B, Niagara
The Braves grabbed one of the most productive hitters in D1 this year in the 15th round. Cullen hit .305 with a .757 OPS as a freshman, then .341 with a .865 OPS last year to go with 19 walks and 12 strikeouts. However he had just combined for 22 doubles, 4 triples, 3 homers, 17-29 in steals, and 39 walks.
Then he broke out this year, hitting an absurd .458/.556/.655 for a 1.211 OPS, thanks to 17 doubles, 3 triples, a career high 4 homers, 13-15 in steals, and nearly double the walks(38) to strikeouts(22).
The smallish infielder(5’10”, 175 pounds) doesn’t have much home run pop, but his new found gap power to go with his feel for hitting, very advanced approach, and good run tool make him a guy to watch.
Chance of Signing: 75%. He’s likely to sign, especially since you can’t expect anyone to improve upon the crazy numbers he posted.
The Niagara Natural: how Greg Cullen (@cullengreg7) became Division I's leading hitter (.467 batting avg) and picked up #MLB interest @NiagaraBASE @NUPurpleEagles @MAACSports pic.twitter.com/gIQ4vBR4ok— Ted Goldberg (@TedGoldbergTV) April 18, 2018
16. Ty Harpenau, RHP, Texas Tech
The Braves liked Shetter so much that they took his roommate, Harpenau. The roommates join a long list of recent Red Raider picks by the Braves including Matt Withrow, Matt Custred, and Tyler Neslony.
Harpenau was not good in his first two years at TTU, first as a starter/reliever, then purely in relief. His command was rough and he posted ERA’s above 6.50 with hits per nine above 11.3. The lone positive was that he struck out more thsn a batter per inning in 2017.
Things changed this year though, as his command improved to allow him to post his best walk rate and drop his hits per nine to nearly half of his career rate, at just 6.4 per nine. He did drop his strikeouts to just literally one under the number of innings he pitched(48 in 49 IP), but he went from being a liability to becoming an asset.
Harpenau is going to be a reliever, but is a guy capable of going more than an inning at a time. His fastball is arguably his second best pitch, as his breaking ball is how he records his strikeouts. He has some untapped potential if he can keep improving the command.
Chance of Signing: 75%. The Braves typically sign guys taken this early. Don’t expect him immediately though with the Red Raiders season still alive.
17. Justin Dean, OF, Lenoir-Rhyne
The Braves took a senior sign lefty reliever out of Lenoir-Rhyne last year in John Curtis, and this year went back for his former teammate. Justin Dean dominated D2 this year as he hit .398/.498/.640 with 13 doubles, 7 triples, 6 homers, and 14 steals.
Dean will need to show he can translate his game to the pros, but he’s a very good athlete with well above average speed and some pop in his bat. He plays strong defense in center, as I’ve seen him make some tough plays out there like the one below. The other thing that you can’t help but like is that he’s considered to be a great kid and has had his work ethic praised by his coaches.
Chance of Signing: 70%. As we get a little deeper, we start to run into the risk of some of these guys returning to school. However I think Dean signs as the Braves have been watching him for a while now.
18. Cameron Kurz, RHP, UC San Diego
Cameron Kurz is very interesting, and not just because he absolutely dominated D2 baseball as arguably the best reliever in the nation.
The thing here is Kurz is a fourth year junior, so he was running out of time to succeed for one of the top programs in D2. He was up and down as a redshirt freshman, showing promise but also walking 20 guys in 21 innings. Then last year he hit rock bottom as a player, pitching just 8.1 innings on the year and watching his team’s postseason run from his couch.
This year he changed his mental approach and how he pitches, and the results were spectacular. He went 5-1 with a 0.74 ERA and 0.77 WHIP in 36.1 innings. He struck out 63 while only walking 11- and out of the 126 at bats against him, literally half ended with a strikeout(63). He gave up just 4 runs(3 earned) on 17 hits, and opponents hit just .135 against him. He also completely shut down power, as the only extra base hits he gave up were 4 doubles.
Kurz is a great kid, smart student(plans to become a doctor), and has a very strong work ethic. He’s also got a promising mix of stuff- especially now that he’s improved his command and approach.
Chance of Signing: 65%. I would normally have listed this a little higher, but Kurz is a great student who plans on going to medical school. He’s got a real plan for himself outside of the world of baseball, which can add a potential signing question.
T8: Cameron Kurz! Takes over for Kyle Lucke with men at 1st and 2nd and needs 4️⃣ pitches to get this swinging strikeout! 7️⃣ straight Ks for Cam going back to Saturday. #Tritons outs away.— UCSD Triton Baseball (@UCSDbsb) April 27, 2018
6-3 #GoTritons #CCAAbsb #d2bsb pic.twitter.com/2DPJFWxdRL
19. Zach Daniels, RHP, Iowa
The Braves took a reliever from Iowa named Zach Daniels in the 19th round. Daniels started off as a two-way player as a freshman, but has been a high usage reliever for the past two seasons.
Daniels has posted solid numbers, particularly the better than a strikeout per inning rate, but has some command issues. He took a big jump forward this year, going from a 1.59 WHIP to a 1.20 thanks to seeing his hits allowed drop from 9.8 H/9 to just 6.3 H/9.
He’s got a mid-90s fastball that has plenty of life on it, and his best pitch is his hard slider. Daniels could have some untapped potential if he can keep moving forward the way he did this year, and will be a pure relief prospect because he only has two pitches.
Chance of Signing: 100%. Daniels has already confirmed to Iowa media that he intends to sign.
(Note that Daniels is the first player I don’t have video of or plan a larger scouting report on, as there just isn’t a video I can share.)
20. CJ Alexander, 3B, Florida JUCO
The older brother of hyped infield prospect Blaze Alexander(overslot 11th round pick by Arizona), CJ is a very talented prospect himself. While Blaze is one of the best defensive prospects in the class, CJ is a completely different prospect even though he also has a double plus arm.
CJ is a bigger bodied prospect, and has considerable power- plus to potentially plus plus. There are some questions about his defensive home, but his bat makes him a real prospect.
I don’t want to go on too much here because I plan a full scouting report upon him signing, but lets just say this is a very exciting pick.
Chance of Signing: 99.9%. Alexander has made his intentions clear that he intends to sign on social media. The only reason I’m not putting him at 100% is because he’s an overslot guy and he’ll have to go through the physical.
21. Tanner Lawson, LHP, St. Edwards
The junior built off a solid sophomore season to have a more featured role in 2018. He pitched to a 2.75 ERA with 91 strikeouts in 98.1 innings of work. The former Houston Cougar, who dropped down to smaller school St. Edwards to find success after a velocity spike in 2017 has a three pitch mix to work with, led by his swing and miss offering in his curve.
Chance of Signing: 60%. The Braves try to sign all of their picks in this range so by default he gets projected to sign even though it’s far from a guarantee.
22. Ray Soderman, C, Oregon
Soderman is defenitely a defense first catcher. He didn’t have a ton of success throwing out base stealers this season, but had decent success in that area last year at a junior college before transferring to Oregon. His bat on the other hand is especially weak, as he doesn’t make much contact or hit for much power- which the numbers reflect. This pick is all about defense and makeup, as Soderman projects best as an org guy due to the bat.
Chances of Signing: 50%. Soderman probably doesn’t get a better opportunity in a year if he returns to school, but as a guy whose future is not playing in the big leagues the decision to leave early may be tough.
23. William Woods, RHP, Tennessee JUCO
William Woods is a JUCO freshman who left UT Martin to attend junior college so that he could pursue pro ball. He’s a projectable 6’4”, 190 pitcher who had decent but not special results during his one year of college. I’m not that familiar with him, but I’m sure the Braves scouts saw something in Woods to make him their target.
Chances of Signing: 100%. Woods has told local media that he was intending to sign his contract in Orlando today. The Padres were also in on him, but the Braves gave him what he wanted. An amount is not yet known.
24. Rusber Estrada, C, Faulkner
Venezuelan native Rusber Estrada reminds me of Jonathan Morales in 2015. I’m not saying they’re the same type of player, but there are some similarities to their profiles. Like Morales, Estrada was taken in the same range of the draft, and comes from a smaller school with some untapped potential.
Estrada is a very solid defender, but he also offers some potential with the bat. As you see in the videos below, he makes hard contact. It’s hard to ask for more from your catcher than to play solid defense and make hard contact, and Estrada does both. He hit .313 with 7 homers and a .911 OPS on the year.
Chances of Signing: 55%. We’re at the 50/50 part of the draft, but based on the Braves drafting three catchers I lean towards getting Estrada’s signature.
25. Michael Mateja, 3B, North Central
A D3 All American, Michael Mateja posted huge numbers against lesser competition. All he did this year was hit. He hit .444/.534/.691 with 20 doubles, 4 triples, 4 homers, and 11 steals on the year along with walking more than he struck out. The numbers are a little better than last year, despite the fact he had less at bats thanks to some bad weather in the cold weather states this spring.
Mateja isn’t the biggest guy, but he’s got a track record for great success, and brings some versatility to the table. There’s an uphill battle to go from D3 to the pros, but this late in the draft it’s worth giving a guy like this a look to see if he can keep doing all he’s ever done- produce.
Chances of Signing: 50%. Mateja has another year of eligibility and this likely won’t be a huge bonus, so he has to make a big decision on graduating or playing pro ball.
26. Zach Guth, LHP, Maryland JUCO
The Braves love their JUCO players, and pitchers. Guth is both of those things, and he had a strong year for one of the top JUCO programs at his level after transferring in from Maryland. Guth, who last pitched for the Terrapins in a limited role in 2016, had a strong year with his expanded playing time. He struck out 65 guys over 49 innings and posted a 2.57 ERA.
Chances of Signing: 100%. Guth has made comments on social media that make it sound like it’s only a matter of time until he signs his contract with the Braves.
27. Zach Seipel, RHP, Minnesota Crookston
Zach Seipel is actually newer to pitching, but has had great success in spite of that. He’s got a low to mid 90s fastball and plenty of room for growth, even as he struck out 63 in 36.1 innings in relief this year.
Chances of Signing: 50%. This is a tough spot because it’s a later pick and probably not a big bonus, but Seipel could decide to get his pro career started now.
28. Derek West, RHP, Pitt
Pitt pitcher Derek West is a big bodied(6’5“, 225) right hander with a four pitch mix including a fastball that can reach 95 MPH. He’s dealt with injuries, and as a redshirt sophomore does have two more years of eligibility left to improve. In 9 starts and 4 relief appearances for 50 innings, West’s first college action saw him post a 3.24 ERA with 47 strikeouts to 24 walks while holding opponents to a .200 batting average.
As a Pitt guy (H2P) I’m more familar with West than most, but probably a little biased here. I see a guy with the stuff, deep arsenal, and frame to keep starting. I also think he can improve upon his numbers, especially when you consider he was shaking off two years of rust after missing both 2016 and 2017. There’s #4 starter upside in there.
Chances of Signing: 50%. Taken this late with a likely small bonus on the table, this could mean he goes back to school to add to his resume- but after Tommy John surgery and knee surgery, he may be ready to start his pro career.
After two years of battling through injuries, Derek West (@DWestPitt) impressed on the bump this year. Now he's been selected by the Atlanta @Braves in the #MLBDraft!— Pitt Baseball (@Pitt_BASE) June 6, 2018
: https://t.co/TKTNbjBOnL #H2P #ProPanthers pic.twitter.com/WltTEbpV71
29. Ray Hernandez, 3B, Alabama State
I was hoping for an Alabama State senior throughout the draft, but I was hoping more for reliever Darren Kelly. Hernandez has an interesting bat with a chance to hit and hit for power. This year he hit .379 with 11 homers, and also cut his strikeouts in a huge way, down from 54 a year ago to just 31 this year. He also runs very well, stealing 20 bases this season.
Hernandez also offers some versatility on the field, as he’s a primary third baseman but does have a chance to get a look in the corner outfield thanks to his running ability.
Chance of Signing: 100%. Hernandez is a senior and he is a lock to sign. He’s one of the later picks that I see as worth keeping an eye on.
30. Mitch Stallings, LHP, Duke
Duke senior lefty Mitch Stallings had a down year this year that followed a solid 2017 debut in the starting rotation. Stallings can be a bit homer prone, but the lefty who hits 91 MPH with an average to above change is able to strike batters out at a good rate.
I think Stallings may be a guy who could start because he has the frame and arsenal, but may be better served as a reliever in the longterm. Either way there is a promising pitcher for the Braves coaching staff to work with.
Chance of Signing: 100%. Stallings is a senior and will sign, but with Duke still playing it could take some time to happen.
31. Gabriel Rodriguez, OF, Florida JUCO
This is the same Gabriel Rodriguez that the Twins took with the first pick of the 11th round last year out of a Puerto Rican high school, a pick typically used on a solid overslot guy. He was considered to be especially raw, but long and lean with real power potential. He was also seen as a guy with promise on the mound, hitting as high as 93 from the left side with an above average curve.
Fast forward a year. He passed up the Twins money and made it to a Florida JUCO, where he hit just .252 with two home runs.
Chance of Signing: 50%. Rodriguez likely passed up more money last year than the Braves could offer now, but his stock is also down after really struggling in his first year in college. He’s a high upside boom or bust type.
32. Trey Harris, 2B/OF, Missouri
Harris is a college senior, and after a solid career in the SEC he gets a chance to play for his hometown Braves. Last year Harris hit 12 homers and stole 9 bases while walking more than he struck out. This year he had 11 homers with 12 steals, and while his walk to strikeout rate regressed, his triple slash line moved to .316/.413/.516.
As an athletic college player with some power and speed, there is something to like with Harris. He played a mix of infield and outfield in college, and the Braves could give him a look at second base.
Chance of Signing: 100%. Harris is a senior and Atlanta area native has already signed his contract.
Trey Harris, who said he would stomp on home plate three times if he homered against Missouri State, settled for one giant stomp after driving a pitch over the right field wall. Missouri leads 3-2. pic.twitter.com/5yZFBLQSNr— Peter Baugh (@Peter_Baugh) April 25, 2018
33. Mason Berne, 1B, UNC Wilmington
Mason Berne is a college senior first baseman with a right/right profile for hitting and throwing. It’s not the ideal profile, but he’s got considerable power. After a slow 2017 in his first year at UNCW following a JUCO transfer, Berne saw his .263/.343/.434 line with 9 doubles and 8 homers become a much stronger .335/.422/.547 with 14 doubles and 12 homers.
Berne swings and misses a lot- he’s struck out 51 and 55 times in his two years at UNCW. He’s also not a good runner, and limited to first defensively...but you can’t help but like the power and the production in his bat.
Chance of Signing: 100%. Berne is a college senior and will be going pro.
34. Zack Hess, RHP, LSU
Odds are you are already familiar with his father, infamous ACC basketball ref Karl Hess. Zack is a big time talent with flashes of brilliance, but the inability to find consistency because of command. I’m not going to talk much about him because he’s not going to be a Brave.
Chance of Signing: 0%. Hess was only a draft eligible sophomore, and he turned down good money much earlier in the draft from other teams, as he has a real shot at pushing himself into the first round next year with improvements. Hess has already turned down more money than what the Braves can afford here, so he’s headed back to Baton Rouge. If I’m wrong a full scouting report will come when he signs.
35. Logan Brown, C, Southern Indiana
The Southern Indiana catcher is the son of former big league catcher Kevin Brown, who also played at USI. Brown’s strength is as a defensive catch and throw receiver with pop times already big league average and a 65% rate in throwing out base runners- 24/45. The bat projects to be light, and while he doesn’t walk a lot he gets on base at a decent clip as he was hit by more pitches this year than he had walked.
Chance of Signing: 100%. Brown has already told media in Indiana that he intends to sign.
36. Victor Cavalieri, LHP, Houghton
Cavalieri comes from a small school in a cold weather state after a very impressive senior year. He racked up 100 strikeouts in just 60 innings to set a school record. This is actually a guy I don’t know more about, but the strikeout numbers have caught my eye.
Chance of Signing: 100%. As a senior you can just consider his signing a done deal.
37. Alex Camacho, RHP, Vanguard
The thing that pops out with this senior small school reliever is his size- he’s 6’7” and 250 pounds. He’s got a fastball with some downhill plane that gives the Braves something to work with, and he posted solid numbers as the closer for Vanguard including more strikeouts than innings pitched.
hance of Signing: 100%. Camacho was a senior, and he doesn’t have other options as leverage.
38. Franco Aleman, RHP, Florida HS
One of the more promising prep arms in the draft, projectable Cuban native Franco Aleman is a guy who would have gone way earlier if not for his bonus demands. He’s going to head to Florida International, and could be a first rounder if he develops to his potential.
Chance of Signing: 0%. It would be great to add another projectable 6’6” prep arm, but that’s just not on the table. Should something crazy happen and he signs, I’ll have more on him.
39. Jack Perkins, RHP, Indiana HS
One of two Jack Perkins’ in this draft, with the Phillies taking the pitcher from Stetson. This is the higher upside Jack Perkins, the Indiana prep pitcher headed to Louisville next year. Perkins would have been selected much earlier if he was considered to be signable. He’s an interesting power pitcher with some room to grow as the former prep football star will now be focused on only baseball.
Chance of Signing: 0%. Perkins has already announced that he was greatful to be selected, but will be honoring his commitment to the Cardinals.
40. Micky Mangan, C, Georgia HS
Mangan is the son of longtime chief groundskeeper Ed Mangan. This pick was done as a favor to Ed, as Micky is headed to college.
Chance of Signing: 0%. Prep players taken this late just don’t sign pro deals. Mangan will be headed to college.
This draft was amazing. The best Braves draft since 2015, and one of the best drafts in Braves history(in terms of immediately post draft). Sure they were very college oriented in a draft known for its high school pitching, but they didn’t force anything or overspend and let the draft board come to them. Brian Bridges and company did a great job of letting other teams reach and play bonus pool games, while they sat back and took the best talents on the board at affordable prices.
When the Braves system needed some desperate restocking- and trust me it did, as things in Danville/GCL/DSL weren’t pretty pre-draft, they loaded up with both quality and quantity.
The Braves ended up with the guy I saw as having the most upside in the entire draft among FIVE players in my pre-draft Top 100(Stewart, Jenista, Beck, Riley, Kingham). Then in my Top 200 both Alexander and Moritz would have been included. I would have had both Higginbotham and Vodnik in my Top 250, and Graffanino and Wilson in the Top 300. It’s hard to ask for anything more than that, especially when you consider the Braves didn’t have a third round pick or it’s associated bonus slot.