The 2019 MLB Draft is in the books. That means it’s time for the annual draft recap, taking a look at every player the Braves have selected this year.
If you remember from last year, this is a place to get information on every pick as well as handicapping their odds of signing. That piece can be found here.
Some notes to remember
- I’ve attached video of every player drafted that I was able to. This is 34 of the 41 players drafted.
- The guys taken in the Top 10 rounds always sign unless noted, barring something that pops up on a physical.
- Guys taken in Rounds 11-15 are very likely to sign, rounds 16-20 typically see a high sign rate with the Braves as well.
- In rounds 21-40, almost all high school players tend to not sign. College players are usually more willing to sign.
1.Shea Langeliers, C, Baylor
The Baylor catcher is going to be a defensive star who should be able to add 20 homers a year. I have some question about how much he hits, but there is no question that he will be an elite defender and pitch framer. Some of the comps on him, including my own, include a better hitting Austin Hedges,
Odds of Signing: SIGNED. It was reported that he signed on Sunday for $4M, a full $950k under the slot value.
#9) #Braves select Shea Langeliers, C, Baylor Univ. #MLBDraft #ChopOn— 2080 Baseball (@2080ball) June 4, 2019
Notes: https://t.co/a7ws8O52Mp pic.twitter.com/jJcyFDyEQJ
1.Braden Shewmake, SS, Texas A&M
Shewmake isn’t the highest upside pick, but he’s been extremely productive in his three years for the Aggies. Shewmake is a career .322/.378/.488 hitter.
His biggest concern is his lack of power, as he topped out at 11 homers as a freshman, and has hit that many combined over the next two years. It’s also worth noting many expect him to need to move off short defensively, with a likely home at second or third.
Odds of Signing: SIGNED. It’s been announced he signed, and received slot.
Shewmake it look easy— USA Baseball (@USABaseball) June 4, 2019
Congrats to the No. 21 overall pick in the 2019 #MLBDraft by the @Braves and two-time #TeamUSA alum @bradenshewmake! #ChopOn @AggieBaseball pic.twitter.com/Wa3j6np5SP
2. Beau Philip, SS, Oregon State
I admit I didn’t understand this one at the time. I actually liked Philip, but was thinking of him in rounds 6-10 rather than the second round.
The former JUCO transfer has spent one year at Oregon State and put up a solid .313/.362/.475 line in 39 games while missing some time with injury. Philip has some decent all around tools to go with the projection, but none are plus tools.
Odds of Signing: SIGNED. Philip came in under slot.
This home run by Beau Philip ... 483 feet and 107 mph off the bat.— Oregon State Baseball (@BeaverBaseball) May 25, 2019
3. Michael Harris, OF/LHP, Georgia HS
The Braves started the second day of the draft going the prep route, taking a local kid who could have been drafted on Day 2 as a hitter or a pitcher. Harris prefers to hit and it sounds like he will get his first shot as a pro in that role.
Harris is an athletic outfielder with plenty of raw power potential, but also a prospect with plenty of swing and miss. On the mound he has a fastball up to 93 MPH from the left side and a promising curve as part of his three pitch mix. Most teams seem to prefer him on the mound, so that fall back if he doesn’t hit enough is always an option.
Odds of Signing: SIGNED. Harris is a Brave and should start in the GCL.
Check out these CBs from 2019 LHP Michael Harris (GA). Power, spin (24-2500rpm), & shape all project well moving forward; athletic w/ fast arm & sat 89-92 w/ life. High level uncommitted two-way player. pic.twitter.com/Cq3NSQPZlT— Vinnie Cervino (@vcervinoPG) September 1, 2018
4. Kasey Kalich, RHP, Texas A&M
Coming into the draft I would have ranked Kalich as one of the top five pure reliever prospects in the draft- guys who are already relievers and will only be relievers going forward. He’s only a draft eligible sophomore who spent just one year with the Aggies after coming from JUCO. Kalich racked up 12 saves with a 14.3 K/9 rate and is a guy who should move quickly though the minors. I don’t see Kalich as a future closer, but he has setup man upside with a fastball up to 95 MPH and a solid slider. For those wondering, I do not expect him to reach Atlanta in 2019.
Odds of Signing: SIGNED. Kalich has signed.
Soph elig for 2019 draft Kasey Kalich on to close for the Aggies. Sitting 92-95... pic.twitter.com/9oXxwxuVh7— David Seifert (@DSeifertD1PBR) March 2, 2019
5. Stephen Paolini, OF, Connecticut HS
Stephen Paolini came out of no where to be the Braves pick. No one had many notes on him, including myself. I had circled his name from an event report last fall that was extremely positive, but hadn’t heard anything more until the Braves drafted him. He’s got a promising body for projection, a swing built for power, and is a plus runner. The adjustment from Connecticut high school competition to pro ball is going to be a large adjustment, but this kid is very toolsy.
Odds of Signing: SIGNED. Paolini came in overslot, showing the Braves had to really believe in his talent to use such a high pick on him and then go overslot to get him.
What a dream day for Stephen Paolini! Achieving a dream and helping lead @CadetSjBaseball past Rockville (3-0) and into the Class M title game! @SJCadets @GTCTBaseball #ctbase pic.twitter.com/pX3Wby3EOk— CT Sports Now (@CT_Sports_Now) June 5, 2019
6. Tanner Gordon, RHP, Indiana
Another JUCO arm that went to D1 this year is Gordon, following the same path as Kalich. Gordon is a little different as a bigger bodied(6’5”, 215) starter. Gordon, who made 14 starts this spring with a 3.35 ERA, 0.97 WHIP, and 9.6 K/9, was actually a JUCO teammate of Trey Riley last year before heading to Bloomington. Gordon is a guy with a 94 MPH fastball that he gets downhill plane on to force ground balls, so he’s more of a pitch to contact guy than a strikeout pitcher.
Odds of Signing: SIGNED. Gordon will be starting the year in Danville.
Tanner Gordon, the Junior College transfer from @LoganVolsBsbl, strikes out the side in his Hoosier Fall debut. 92-93 touching 94 heater • 83 breaker. Impressive stuff #iubase pic.twitter.com/5QVhpF96gO— iubase.com (@iubase17) September 29, 2018
7. Darius Vines, RHP, CSU Bakersfield
After being drafted in each of the past two drafts, Darius Vines finally went high enough to sign this year. The lanky right hander has a four pitch mix and throws strikes. He’s got a very promising curve, and really has three average to slightly above pitches in his arsenal. In his only season in D1, he managed 12.1 K/9. It is also worth noting that the teams who took chances late in the past two drafts are the Astros and Cubs.
Odds of Signing: SIGNED. Vines came in a little under slot value.
Congrats to @CSUB_Baseball Darius Vines on being selected by the @Braves in this years draft! Being picked in the seventh round, Vines is the highest draft pick in school history! Check out some highlights from this past season! pic.twitter.com/F5EsL4xGeh— WACsports (@WACsports) June 4, 2019
8. Ricky DeVito, RHP, Seton Hall
If you look at the stuff alone, Ricky DeVito probably goes about 4-5 rounds sooner. The 2018 Big East Pitcher of the Year with a 1.88 ERA and 1.03 WHIP in 12 starts struggled a bit this year, pitching to a 3.92 ERA and 1.62 WHIP as he struggled at times with his command. DeVito has always had some inconsistencies with his command, but he’s got a heavy sinking fastball he runs up to 94 MPH and promising pitches in both the change and curve.
It’s possible that DeVito has a pair of future plus pitches and a third that could be average. That’s the recipe for a middle of the rotation starter should he be able to command it a little better- something maybe a slight mechanical tweak could help.
Odds of Signing: SIGNED. DeVito came in slightly overslot.
Today I saw RHP Ricky DeVito for @SHUBaseball. sat 90-92/topped out at 93-94 w/ 2 strks. primarily used FB which he commanded well w/ solid late run. didn’t need much else today but also threw some nice hard curves, a couple CH’s. Here’s most of his first 4 IP.— Owen (@CountryRoads277) March 23, 2019
2019 #MLBDraft pic.twitter.com/QDdTtBUdFi
9. Cody Milligan, UTL, Kansas JUCO
Cody Milligan landed in JUCO from Oklahoma State and had a very productive season for a team which made an impressive postseason run. Milligan hit .453 with five homers, 63 RBI, 30 for 30 in steals, and 89 runs scored in 61 games played. Milligan is a solid hitter and a guy with a plus run tool to go with a little more power than what he showed this season, adding 18 doubles and 9 triples to his extra base hit totals.
He actually caught this year and has some potential in the outfield, though many see a future second baseman. If Milligan can be a future catcher his value rises, and it would already be high due to his defensive versatility.
Odds of Signing: SIGNED. Milligan was a little overslot and will be headed to Danville.
10. Brandon Parker, OF, Mississippi JUCO
Brandon Parker is a solid hitter with some real power potential, but also a guy with swing and miss. He’s one of the higher upside guys on Day 2 because of his bat, but he’s also a bit of a lottery ticket because he’s going to need to prove he can hit.
Odds of Signing: SIGNED. Parker is delivered already and will be in Danville.
It's hard to imagine someone having a better season than Brandon Parker (@bparker_21) had as a freshman at MGCCC (@MGCCCBulldogs/@MGCCC_Baseball/@CoachRBatts). He backed it up as a sophomore, and now the West Harrison alum is starting his road to the show with his favorite team. pic.twitter.com/Ml5KdSw2fC— Jeff Haeger (@TheJeffTakeWXXV) June 6, 2019
11. Vaughn Grissom, 3B, Florida HS
Before the draft started I ranked Vaughn Grissom as the 20th best 3B in this class, a prospect with a very promising bat who was teammates with 5th overall pick Riley Greene- meaning many looks at him from scouts. Grissom is toolsy, especially with the bat, and has a feel for hitting and the bat speed to really project for plus power at maturity. Grissom is more than just Greene’s teammate though, and really started to stand out himself last year at the WWBA Championships- a wood bat event.
His future defensive home is a bit of a question now because of his tall frame and needing to fill in his body, but he’s a prep shortstop who should be able to handle third well if he needs to move.
In case you are wondering he is not related to former Brave Marquis Grissom. Marquis’ son is a significant prospect, but he’s not until next year.
If you want to know more about Vaughn, I was able to interview him and that will also be up. He was great to talk to the type of player who you can enjoy rooting for. Like a few others on this list, he grew up a Braves fan as well.
Odds of Signing: SIGNED. Grissom went overslot to sign, as expected.
FIU recruit Vaughn Grissom has been solid defensively and comes through with a 2 RBI double here. @HagHSBaseball— Doug Freeman (@DougFreemanPBR) March 15, 2019
Profile- https://t.co/YbeKaEy1xx pic.twitter.com/EF37YrrIXk
12. Andy Samuelson, LHP, Illinois JUCO
After starting out at Valpo as a freshman, Andy Samuelson ended up going the JUCO route and after a strong year out of the pen would have been headed for NC State next year. Samuelson recorded a 2.93 ERA this year with 29 strikeouts in 15.1 innings. He’s a projectable 6’4”, 185 pound lefty with promise, but has battled some consistency issues in his career. Samuelson is a pure reliever with big stuff that the coaches can work with and hope he can become a future high leverage reliever.
Odds of Signing: SIGNED. Samuelson has been signed. Dollar figures are not out.
No. 36 Andy Samuelson closes it out for @WVCBASEBALL with an 88 90 FB and 78 80 hard hammer. @NCStateBaseball recruit.@PBR_DraftHQ #MLBDraft pic.twitter.com/OPUJrxsOhH— PBR JUCO (@PBR_JUCO) April 11, 2019
13. Tyler Owens, RHP, Florida HS
The Braves got an arm with as good of a two pitch mix as some of the first day prep arms. Tyler Owens has a fastball that sits up to 95 and can touch 98 MPH, and a slider that can be a future plus offering.
There are some reasons why he wasn’t drafted higher, namely being undersized at just 5’10”. The second drawback with Owens is that the change is a bit further behind, but that’s often the case with prep arms with power stuff. A third thing that has been a negative for some is he has a bit of an unusual delivery, and some aren’t sure how that would hold up in a starting role,
I wouldn’t rule Owens as a starter out with his stuff and the Braves ability to develop pitchers. However should he move to the bullpen he has major upside there as well because of his two pitch mix.
Odds of Signing: SIGNED. Owens signed for the biggest Day 3 bonus in all of MLB so far this year as of this writing.
Tyler Owens with a long 1st. Worked 92-96, showed above avg slurve early and went to CH often. Providence attacked FB early. Struck out 2, Providence up 4-0. pic.twitter.com/9xVObCK5nh— Doug Freeman (@DougFreemanPBR) March 16, 2019
14. Jared Johnson, RHP, Mississippi HS
Initially put in the draft tracker as Isaiah Johnson, I was confused for a minute before realizing the pick was Jared Johnson. Jared Johnson was a popup prospect who likely would have been a Day 1 draftee had he been on the radar longer and had the ability to show his ability against better competition. That was the main knock against him, that he was a late riser who didn’t face great competition.
Why Johnson would have been a first day arm is because he’s got a fastball he can bring up to 97 MPH and a very promising slider to go with the 6’3”, 215 pound frame built to handle a starter’s workload. He’s also a bit raw, so the Braves have less bad habits to break with him than they might with a guy who has been around the showcase circuit.
Odds of Signing: SIGNED. The Braves signed this promising pitcher and lifelong Braves fan already.
KC ✔️ pic.twitter.com/vnlNpDFpsa— Jared Johnson (@jaredjohnson_42) May 28, 2019
15. Connor Blair, OF, Washington
Connor Blair is another JUCO product who went D1 this spring and had success. Unfortunately an injury limited Blair’s time for the Huskies this spring, but he put up excellent numbers when he did play. Blair hit .291/.362/.522 with eight homers in 134 at bats- but he also struck out 32 times against 10 walks.
I’ve talked to others about Blair that have seen him in person, and the general feeling is that he’s most likely organizational depth with a chance to be something more. That’s not unusual for college guys taken at this point in the draft, and there is some power in Blair’s bat if he’s able to make consistent enough contact.
Odds of Signing: SIGNED. Blair has signed.
WE ARE TIED.— Pac-12 Network (@Pac12Network) March 30, 2019
Connor Blair with a 3-run for @UW_Baseball.
Watch #Pac12BSB: https://t.co/ocpwaE1PtO pic.twitter.com/yCo4USKhmO
16. Joey Estes, RHP, California HS
Joey Estes is a solid young prep arm from California who is still young for the class. He’s got a 6’2”, 195 pound frame with some ability to add some projection and already has a fastball up to 95 MPH to go with a solid four pitch arsenal. Estes’ best pitch may be his slider
The real benefits of taking Estes are that he hasn’t yet turned 18, which is always a benefit for teams to find players young for the class. He’s also a very athletic pitcher with a quick arm, leading to additional projections for velocity and command. There is also some pitchability in him already, and he knows how to mess with hitters timing a bit.
Odds of Signing: 99%. I believe Estes to be signed, but not announced just yet.
‘19 RHP Joey Estes of @ParacleteVBB and a @LBDirtbags commit worked 90-92, 75-76 CB, 80 SL. @PBR_California #ShapeTheState pic.twitter.com/tEa2oa0cwA— Les Lukach (@LesLukach) July 14, 2018
17. Alec Barger, RHP, NC State
Alec Barger is another JUCO to D1 player, with the former Northern Illinois pitcher heading to JUCO last year and then to the Wolfpack this year. He was actually drafted higher last year, in the 16th round by the Brewers, but went to the ACC instead. Barger didn’t have a great year, posting a 5.33 ERA- but he did strikeout 33 hitters over his 27 innings of work.
Barger, who was a starter in JUCO and pitched mostly out of relief this spring, is a guy with a 96 MPH fastball and a sharp slider among his four pitch mix. The curve has some potential, but it is more of a third pitch that he would use in a starting role, and the change the furthest behind.
Odds of Signing: SIGNED. Barger is starting out in Danville.
18. Mahki Backstrom, 1B, California HS
Last fall it was projected that this 6’5” slugger would be a late first round pick. Mahki Backstrom had been in all of the biggest events and all star games, but he started to really struggle- to the point he didn’t even hit .300 this year in high school.
Backstrom has huge raw power to go with his huge frame, and also has huge bat speed and exit velocity. He’s not much of a runner, but he’s a decent athlete for his size and could be a solid defender at first and maybe even a below average defender in left.
Backstrom went to get his vision checked this spring, and after that occurred he started to hit more. It’s very possible that his struggles to hit the ball were related to vision problems.
This is a steal of a pick, because if the vision explains it all you get a first rounder in the 18th round. If he can’t hit, you didn’t use a high pick on a chance at some real upside.
Odds of Signing: 99%. I believe Backstrom to be signed, but not yet officially announced at this time.
2019 Draft Prospect 6’5” 1B/OF Mahki Backstrom @FlatgroundBats— SHINE BASEBALL (@SHINEBASEBALL1) April 5, 2019
Full Video: https://t.co/ishtfnDShd pic.twitter.com/5OO3D8gVXG
19. Kadon Morton, OF/RHP, Texas HS
There may be no higher upside player in this draft class than Kadon Morton. The two way star is also a two sport star, being a former football star in Texas.
Morton is a little raw but the upside is massive. He’s a great athlete, who has speed, defense, a big arm, power potential, and some feel for hitting. He’s going to need to keep improving the hit tool and refining his tools as a raw prospect, but the potential is there.
As a pitcher he has hit 91 MPH with a promising curve, and has plenty of projection remaining in his frame.
Odds of Signing: SIGNED. Not only was Morton signed, but he was the highest Day 3 bonus in all of MLB this year for a short time- before Owens’ bonus info came out,
You can dream Big with Kadon Morton. Long, loose , projection frame. Athletic delivery, loose arm, flashes plus velo with a feel to spin it. Arrow pointing up.. pic.twitter.com/oea1VeHb6X— Clarence Johns II (@ChinMusic6) February 21, 2019
20. Peyton Williams, RHP, Catawba
Peyton Williams is an interesting story. The draft eligible sophomore is a kid new to pitching, but has made real progress this year in getting his fastball up to 97 MPH and adding a curve this year which has made him very hard to hit.
Williams is a D2 star, so with the level of competition jump in addition to the rawness of being new to pitching it may take him some time to reach the big leagues- despite being a reliever with real big stuff.
Odds of Signing: SIGNED. The Braves took this Braves fan and got him signed after he had been planning to return to school in the time leading up to being drafted.
21. Javier Valdes, C, Florida International
After hitting eight homers in two years, Javier Valdes broke out to hit eight homers this spring. Well I should say he broke out last summer when he hit seven homers in the Northwoods League.
Valdes isn’t the biggest catcher out there, but one thing he brings to the position is the athleticism of a converted infielder. Valdes needs some time to work on his catching, but with the athleticism to become a solid defender, some emerging pop, and the fact he’s got some plate discipline he is a catcher worth taking a shot on.
Odds of Signing: SIGNED. The Braves have Valdes signed.
On the fifth day of Christmas the Woodchucks gave to me...a grand slam by Javier Valdes to tie the game! #12DaysofWoodchucks pic.twitter.com/4tJYSkO3nd— Wisconsin Woodchucks (@ChucksBaseball) December 14, 2018
22. Alex Segal, LHP, Wichita State
Alex Segal was once highly thought of before he had to miss his freshman season with an injury. He was a high school draftee and expected to make an impact in the Shockers rotation.
He returned last year and struggled out of the pen, and struggled even more this season with a 7.4 BB/9 rate.
Segal is a projectable 6’4, 185 lefty with a fastball up to 94 MPH and a very promising, potentially plus curve.
Odds of Signing: SIGNED. The Braves got Segal signed.
23. Drew Campbell, OF, Louisville
The Louisville outfielder can hit, run, and defend. He’s not a guy with a ton of power, but he’s got versatility and has performed at a high level in terms of college competition. Campbell projects as a fourth outfielder type with a higher floor.
Odds of Signing: 85%. He can’t sign just yet with Louisville in the College World Series, but expect him to sign in the time after the CWS ends.
Nice arm Drew Campbell. Listen to the guys behind me, funny stuff. pic.twitter.com/IqWeWuKmyc— Tony Campbell (@TonyCam03598911) February 18, 2018
24. Bryce Ball, 1B, Dallas Baptist
This 6’6”, 235 pound lefty slugger hit 14 homers last year in JUCO before coming to Dallas Baptist this year- with DBU being a professional prospect machine in recent years. Not only did he post an OPS over 1.000 for the third straight year, but he hit 17 homers for an NCAA Tournament team,
Ball is a guy that’s one of the better power hitting first base prospects in this class, but with first base only prospects being limited in value he dropped to the 24th round.
Odds of Signing: SIGNED. Ball signed for an overslot deal and is a guy to watch for someone who can exceed expectations.
Home Run Bryce Ball— NCAA Baseball (@NCAACWS) March 9, 2019
Home Run Bryce Ball
Home Run Bryce Ball
Then @DBU_Baseball WINS! pic.twitter.com/DwgpJE9nk9
25. Chad Bryant, RHP, Florida JUCO
Chad Bryant has significant stuff- hitting as high as 97 MPH with his fastball, and showing real promise with his curve....but he struggles to command his pitches, and isn’t consistent with his secondary pitches. Bryant was a former Mississippi State and Alabama commit, so he’s a guy that’s always been on the radar.
There is some positive in the fact he’s made real strides with his command this spring. After walking 51 in 47.1 innings in 2018, Bryant cut his walk rate to 28 in 43 innings this spring. The rest of his numbers weren’t pretty, but there is plenty to work with in his arm.
Odds of Signing: 50%. I give Bryant a 50% chance at signing because he’s a guy with the arm to really move up draft boards should he go to Alabama and see his command make further improvement next year.
Learn the name Chad Bryant ... dude is nasty... just signed @AlabamaBSB pic.twitter.com/mtU5jdswVh— NeXup (@NeXupBaseball) January 17, 2019
26. Riley King, 3B, Georgia
The Braves grabbed redshirt sophomore Riley King fairly late in the draft despite him being a potential Day 2 pick. King is an infielder who was forced to play out of position because of UGA’s talented infielder corps, but he’s hit well in the SEC, with wood bats in the summer, has some pop, and offers plenty of defensive versatility.
Odds of Signing: 0%. King has said he isn’t going to sign, which isn’t surprising where he was drafted versus where he could have been drafted.
Riley King hits a 2-run JACK to left to make it 4-1 good guys.— 960 The Ref (@960theref) May 17, 2019
27. Indigo Diaz, RHP, Michigan State
Indigo Diaz is a Canadian who came to Michigan State from JUCO this past fall. He’s a big kid(6’5”, 250) with big stuff(95 MPH) that relies heavily on his fastball.
Diaz struggles with his command at times and only has fringy secondary offerings, so there is a lot to work on- but there is real potential with his live arm out of the pen.
Odds of Signing: SIGNED. The Braves went full Day 3 slot($125k) to bring in this power armed reliever.
28. Ben Thompson, RHP, Arizona JUCO
Ben Thompson is a big(6’5”, 220) New Zealand native who missed all of 2018 with an elbow injury. He returned this spring and looked good, pitching with a 93 MPH fastball and going 59 innings over his 11 starts. Thompson proved his arm was healthy enough to throw a pair of complete games on the season, and recorded 53 strikeouts over those 59 innings.
Odds of Signing: SIGNED. The Braves have wrapped things up with Thompson.
Hey @ShooterHunt how's this for a downer? 76 79 hammer mixed with a 90 92 high spin FB and an avg CH. Ben Thompson from Auckland NZ and @CGYoteBaseball fills it up. #spinwins #mlbdraft pic.twitter.com/3FVLjTbakG— PBR JUCO (@PBR_JUCO) October 13, 2018
29. James Acuna, RHP, Azusa Pacific
No James Acuna isn’t related to Ronald Acuña Jr. This Acuna started his career at Oregon, and pitched well enough as a freshman before really struggling with his command last year. His struggled continued over into the Cape Cod League, and he eventually decided to end up at a new school- Azusa Pacific. Acuna only had a handful of starts this spring before missing the rest of the year with an injury, but his command looked better than what we saw at Oregon and in the Cape. He doesn’t have the biggest stuff, sitting in the mid 90s, and his command something that’s been an issue in the past, so his outcome is one with some questions.
Odds of Signing: 50%. Acuna decided to move on last year from Oregon to try to get his career going elsewhere. Does he decide to go pro, or stick it out in college for one more year?
Hey, @ronaldacunajr24 - There's another Acuña in town.— MLB Pipeline (@MLBPipeline) June 5, 2019
With their 29th-round #MLBDraft pick, the @Braves selected @APUBaseball RHP James Acuña (no relation). https://t.co/P4oIbKE8QK
30. Mitch Calandra, C, Eckerd
Mitch Calandra is a solid hitter with some defensive versatility for a D2 program that had the best year in their history this spring. Calandra is much more of a contact guy than anything, but this year saw a power spike as he went from two homers to six since last spring. He also has the ability to play the corner infield spots, with real experience at third base- important when the Braves value versatility.
Odds of Signing: SIGNED. The Braves have signed Calandra.
Mitch Calandra's grand slam vs University of Tampa! We Believe!⚾️@ECTritons @D2SSC @EckerdBaseball@mitchcalandra @Chase_Achuff @sherrymccollou2 pic.twitter.com/qogg1tb2FY— Nancy Achuff (@NancyAchuff) May 4, 2019
31. Greg Leban, RHP, Austin Peay
A big right handed reliever who has struggled with command in the past, Greg Leban made a big jump with command this spring. Leban went from walking 25 in 18 innings last year to walking 21 in 32.2 innings this year, as he racked up 58 strikeouts in that time- good for a 16.0 K/9 rate.
Leban is a bigger power pitcher, and being a 23 year old senior means that he could be pushed quickly if he is able to find success with his command after making the jump from the Ohio Valley Conference to pro ball. It’s worth noting that his twin brother was drafted high on Day 3 by the Marlins last year and is with that organization, so there is a bloodline connection here.
Odds of Signing: 99%. The Braves didn’t draft a college senior to not sign him.
32. Cody Birdsong, 2B, Quincy
The Braves grabbed a D2 senior All American late on Day 3. Birdsong is a very productive bat, a former JUCO standout at the same school that produced Trey Riley and Tanner Gordon, before going to two very productive years in D2. Last year he hit 17 doubles with 14 homers, and he followed it up this year with 14 doubles and 14 homers. Birdsong isn’t that fast and strikes out double the amount of time that he walks, so he has a lot of pressure to hit to keep moving up the ladder.
Odds of Signing: SIGNED. The Braves have signed Birdsong, who is in Danville.
Hawks get runners to first and second when Cody Birdsong singles to left field, but Tamaccio gets thrown out at home to end the inning. pic.twitter.com/3fLKCeCnBL— Matt Schuckman (@SchuckWHIG) March 31, 2018
33. Justin Yeager, RHP, Southern Illinois
After two years of light work for Southern Illinois, Justin Yeager saw an increased role this year and really took off with a 2.27 ERA, 1.04 WHIP, and a 10.6 K/9. Yeager fits the mold of these Day 3 arms, a big(another 6’5” guy) hard throwing power reliever from the college ranks.
Odds of Signing: SIGNED. The Braves have signed Yeager to a slightly overslot deal.
34. Willie Carter, OF, Webber International
Willie Carter comes from a small NAIA school, but put up big numbers with a .382 average and 19 homers. He’s a guy with easy plus to double plus power, a feel for hitting, and above average speed with decent size. He’s going to need to make an adjustment to the level of competition, but with his talent and college production there is a chance the Braves landed a real steal here.
Odds of Signing: SIGNED. The Braves have signed Carter and sent him to Danville.
Webber International OF Willie Carter drafted by the Atlanta Braves!— NAIA Ball (@NAIABall) June 5, 2019
.377, 19 HR, 62 RBI pic.twitter.com/9Dx3pdCarG
35. Anthony Hall, 1B, California HS
Anthony Hall is a projectable, fairly athletic 6”3” athlete playing first base due to a past Tommy John surgery on his resume. He’s got some power and should develop more as he continues to fill out. Defensively he may be athletic enough to handle the corner outfield- provided his arm is up to it. There is some hope that he could see his stock rise as he lost significant developmental time with his Tommy John surgery.
Odds of Signing: 50%. While most high school players selected in rounds 35-40 are locks to not sign, Hall isn’t committed to a college. Without a college commitment at this point, it feels like there is actually a good chance the Braves can get Hall signed.
.@ptlomahs first baseman @Anthony_Hall_ has plenty of reasons to smile - he was just selected in the @MLBDraft by the Atlanta @Braves! pic.twitter.com/NtTCVcO1B3— KUSI Sports (@KUSISports) June 5, 2019
36. Mitchell Jackson, RHP, Illinois HS
Mitchell Jackson is a big, 6’5”, projectable right hander with a lot of upside indicators. Jackson is projectable, a cold weather arm, a two way player(first base is his other position), and a multi-sport athlete(basketball is his other sport).
The biggest issue with Jackson is that he’s not close to a finished product, topping out in the mid 80s velocity wise. He’s the type of kid who typically goes to college to develop his body and game, so that the MLB team drafting him isn’t using three years of his minor league service time on a guy who is three years away from being three years away.
Odds of Signing: 5%. High school players in rounds 35-40 don’t sign unless there’s something unusual with their circumstances.
37. Davis Schwab, LHP, Missouri State
Davis Schwab is yet another big power pitcher destined for the bullpen. The senior from Missouri State, who started his college career at Kansas State, is 6’4”, 225, and while he started some games this year is a guy made for the bullpen because of command issues. Because of those command issues, Schwab didn’t post very good numbers at his two years at MSU- but he’s up to 93 MPH from the left side with a deceptive delivery, and he has struck out 64 batters in 54.2 innings this year,
Odds of Signing: SIGNED. The Braves have signed Schwab as a senior.
Once a Bear, Always a Bear!— MSU Baseball (@MSUBearBaseball) May 14, 2019
Come celebrate Davis Schwab and the rest of the senior class this weekend at Hammons Field!#MSUBears #OnceaBearAlwaysABear pic.twitter.com/It2oG17Cd3
38. Grant Mathews, OF, Tulane
This is an interesting pick, as Mathews had a big year while scouts came in to watch Kody Hoese hit .327/.402/.544 with 13 doubles and 10 homers, and he had just as many strikeouts on the year(25) as he did walks. This season followed a successful 2018, but took things to another level.
Mathews is just a hitter. A guy with a great feel for getting the barrel on the ball and putting it in play. He’s got some pop in his bat, but his power numbers are partly a reflection on his ability to hit. He works from the top of the lineup and gets on base frequently because of the advanced hit tool.
It’s worth nothing that Mathews is a redshirt junior who turned 23 years old at the start of May, so even though he has a year of eligibility remaining, he is already on the older side for a prospect. I only bring this up because it could impact his signing status.
Odds of Signing: 40%. Players taken this late are seen as longshots to sign, though maybe the Braves money can tempt Mathews to sign, especially considering he is already 23 years old as of May.
GRANT MATHEWS WENT BANANAS TODAY! 3 in one game! He ties a school record! #RollWave ⚾️ pic.twitter.com/SpWXF9MKh4— Tulane Baseball (@GreenWaveBSB) May 12, 2018
39. Josh Rolling, SS, Nevada HS
Josh Rolling is a big time athlete with great bloodlines. Rolling is the son of Henry Rolling, a former seven year NFL linebacker and starter for the Chargers and Rams in the 90s. He himself was not only a star two way player in baseball, but also a star quarterback and basketball player for his high school.
Rolling’s best asset is his athleticism, and he’s been putting in a lot of work to improve his bat and glove. He’s the kind of kid who may be able to stick at short, or handle third base, and should develop at least average power.
Odds of Signing: 5%. High school players in rounds 35-40 don’t sign unless there’s something unusual with their circumstances.
40. Cade Bunnell, 2B, Indiana
Cade Bunnell is not a player I was familiar with at all, and after looking at the numbers it was easy to see why- he barely played in four years at Indiana. Bunnell is the kind of good makeup guy with plenty of baseball experience that is a good influence to have around some of the very young guys the team plans to have down in the Gulf Coast League.
Odds of Signing: SIGNED. The Braves have signed Bunnell as a senior.
FINAL: Indiana 7, Purdue 6— The Hoosier Network (@TheHoosierNet) April 11, 2019
Cade Bunnell walks it off in the bottom of the 10th with an RBI-single to left field. The Hoosiers improve to 20-12 with the win. #iubase pic.twitter.com/fYv3szu5g9