With the upcoming MLB Draft on July 17th, there are going to be a lot of names popping up on the board that most of you have ever heard of. While we can’t really go through every single prep player in the United States because we have lives and you don’t want to read 30,000 words, we at Battery Power did compile a list of some targets the Atlanta Braves could look at in the 2022 MLB Draft.
As part of our draft preview series, we will be going position-by-position to look at what players intrigue us in this draft. While the Braves are most often connected to pitching, specifically college pitching, you may be surprised to find out there are nine other positions on the field that need filling.
With the minor leagues a little less deep than in recent years, let’s look at what the Braves may be thinking.
Why the Braves could pick a first baseman early
They have lost their collective minds. Joking aside, there isn’t much depth at the position on the farm, so to get one of the better ones isn’t a bad idea. Jacob Berry is the type of player who may wind up at first — his defense at third has been average at best — but his bat — which made him one of the scarier college DHs in the land — should see him go if not in the top 5, clearly the top 10. With him off the board, there are still options available (more on them in a moment) in the earlier rounds that could help build that depth.
Why the Braves won’t pick a first baseman early
The options will be slim. Berry will be off the board and while Texas Ivan Melendez, coming off that massive Golden Spikes campaign in 2022, is attractive, he will likely be a fast riser to the bigs. With Matt Olson tied up until we have grandchildren, that doesn’t make much sense. With Berry and Melendez out of the picture, the rest of the names are nice players, but, minus some budget strategy, don’t present a lot of value in the early rounds for the Braves big picture.
Day Two/Three Targets
Here are a few interesting options that could come into play for later rounds.
Spencer Jones, 1B/OF, Vanderbilt — A California high school baseball star, Jones has been on the radar for a while because, well, anyone who goes to Vandy under Tim Corbin is seemingly a MLB draft prospect. The left-handed-hitting prospect had a good 2021, but had a strong season with Brewster on the Cape where he caught the eyes of plenty hitting .312 with three home runs and a .904 OPS. Jones has a history of injuries, but once entering the lineup at Vanderbilt in 2022 full time, he did well, making good contact and showing modest pop. He is a monster, listed at 6-foot-7 but plays the field well. His downsides are a high swing-and-miss rate and that he may project more as an outfielder in the long run.
Jayden Hylton, Palm Brach Gardens (Florida high school) — The Braves will have to snag Hylton early if they want him as he is committed to Stetson. He, too, is a monster, listed at 6-foot-6 and 210 with most thinking there is more to fill out in the ol’ projectable frame. He has a smooth swing but also moves well in the field with a rifle of an arm that some see him as a potential outfielder (although not as likely). There are certainly debates about whether he can hit at the next level, but most agree if he figures it out there is massive power potential here.
Peyton Williams, Iowa — Well, we know Williams can stuff the stat sheet. He had a huge 2022 campaign that included recording 20 multi-hit games. Listed at 6-foot-5 and 255 pounds, the lefty swings a big bat and showed an impressive approach at the plate, walking 35 times, striking out 35 times, and showing a little Ray-Patrick Diddier by getting hit 16 times. He may not be a 30-home run guy, but he rips the ball hard to all fields and can still be productive. As far as future potential, some feel what you see is what you get... which right now is a solid first base prospect for the future.