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2019 MLB Draft Primer: Braves Edition

The 2019 draft is creeping up on us, here is a quick guide to everything you need to know.

Atlanta Braves v Washington Nationals Photo by Rob Carr/Getty Images

Yes, is that time where we start talking about the upcoming MLB Draft as it is just over a month away now. Aaron has been doing the yeoman’s work of updating you all on the college and JuCo players to keep an eye on as the spring schedules has progressed (there was even an update earlier this morning for you diehards) and Matt has already been hard at work giving us an idea of potential candidates for the 9th overall pick. All of that information is very much subject to change as we learn more and more, but you have a pretty good head start at the moment. Below you will find very much a nuts and bolts explanation of what to expect for the 2019 draft with a few notes on things to keep an eye on.

General Info

The 2019 MLB Draft will begin on Monday, June 3rd and will consist, as always, of 40 rounds of picks. We can expect that the first two rounds will take place on day one of the draft followed by rounds 3-10 on day two and then the rest taking place in rapid fire fashion on day three (this doesn’t appear to be set in stone as a schedule, but lines up with what has been done in previous years). If trends hold, the draft will be covered by MLB Network and you can watch it unfold there or at the online stream over at

This draft is an interesting one for the Braves because they hold two first round picks. The Braves received the 9th overall pick in the draft as compensation due to the fact that they failed to sign their 2018 first round pick, Carter Stewart, over concerns with his physical. They also have their regularly assigned pick at 21 due to their record last season. The 9th overall pick has an assigned slot value of $4,949,100 while the 21st overall pick as an assigned slot value of $3,132,300. Mostly due to having the extra first round pick, the Braves currently have the sixth highest bonus pool in the draft at $11,532,200 behind the Diamondbacks (more on them in a bit), Orioles, Royals, Marlins, and White Sox. After the first round, the Braves will be drafting around the 20th pick of each round (there is a little bit of variability due to lost picks by other teams, etc.) and they do not hold any extra picks beyond the first round.

Potential First Round Pick Candidates

Again, Matt ran down a few candidates (and will continue to do so), so if you want a deeper dive into the potential options, I will direct you there. However, here is a quick rundown of what we know. The following players are very unlikely to be available at the 9th pick.

Adley Rutschman, C - Oregon State - 1st overall favorite for forever...great hitter at premium position

Andrew Vaughn, 1B - Cal - Arguably the best college bat in the class

Bobby Witt Jr., SS - Colleyville Heritage HS - Tooled up prep bat, may have the highest upside in the draft

CJ Abrams, SS - Blessed Trinity Catholic HS - Big time athlete who can absolutely fly and should grow into some pop.

The rest of the players have a CHANCE of being available at 9th overall but with varying degrees of probability that that would actually happen. This is not meant to be a complete list of candidates for the 9th overall pick, although I doubt me saying that will keep some of you from yelling at me in the comments section for not putting “your guy” on this list

Hunter Bishop, OF - Arizona State - College outfielder with big time tools (plus power and run) that has been among the leaders in offensive production this year. May have hit too well this year to last to 9th overall.

Riley Greene, OF - Hagerty HS - Arguably the best hit tool amongst prep hitters this year. Destined for a corner, but has real bat speed from the left side and could grow into some more power.

Corbin Carroll, OF - Lakeside HS - Small guy, but can flat out hit and is a plus runner as well. Should be able to stay in center field.

Nick Lodolo, LHP - TCU - Was drafted highly out of high school, but decided to take his chances and go to TCU. Low 90’s fastball with life and one of the better breaking balls in the class. Could move quickly through a system.

Daniel Espino, RHP - Georgia Premier Academy - Best pure stuff amongst the prep pitchers this year with a high 90’s fastball and a hammer curve ball. Mechanics are atypical and he doesn’t have fantastic size or projectability, but the stuff at present is excellent.

Bryson Stott, SS - UNLV - One of the better college hitters in the draft who also happens to play up the middle which is a big plus. Needs to drive the ball more, but all of the ingredients are there and the hit tool is real.

Josh Jung, 3B - Texas Tech - Having a bit of a down year partially due to an early season injury, but has a track record of hitting and should hit for some power down the line as well. Might not stick at third, but could hit enough where that wouldn’t matter.

J.J. Bleday, OF - Vanderbilt - Comes from a vaunted program and has always possessed a good hit tool. Biggest difference this year for him is the big jump in power with only a modest corresponding increase in strikeouts.

Matthew Allan, RHP - Seminole HS - Fastball hits the mid-90’s and he has a sharp curve ball. Changeup is very meh at the moment and his command has been inconsistent, but he has the frame and pure stuff to make noise as a starter.

Brennan Malone, RHP - IMG Academy - Possesses a mid-90’s fastball and most think he projects to throw harder than that down the line. Command and breaking balls have been hit and miss, but has big time upside.

Draft Notes/Thoughts

I get asked frequently if the Braves could spread their bonus pool around this year and the short answer is maybe, but it is unlikely. Arguably the bigger problem, is that the Diamondbacks possess a huge bonus pool this year and with them picking 16th and having a ton of money and picks, it will be hard to float a player past them at 21 or to the second round.

One other factor that needs mentioning is that this is a different scouting department this year. Under former scouting director Brian Bridges, the Braves prioritized pitching in the draft especially in the early rounds. However, given that the options are pitcher are more limited at the top of this draft class combined with the fact that Dana Brown now appears to be running the scouting side of things for the Braves, it will be interesting to see if we see some different trends especially with the international free agent penalties in full effect.

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