clock menu more-arrow no yes mobile

Filed under:

Atlanta Braves Draft Target Profile: Jett Williams

The Braves should strongly consider snatching up a top prep talent if one falls to them at 20

Atlanta Braves v Milwaukee Brewers Photo by Quinn Harris/Getty Images

There is much uncertainty in the upcoming draft, but one thing that has been pushed with all of the conviction of a goose in a bread shop is that the Atlanta Braves are looking to take a pitcher in the first round. They’ve done it now for two years, so why would they stop now. There are, however, two important things to realize. One, with a front office notorious for not leaking things to the media, it’s likely these sources are not coming directly from the top. Two, the Braves in the past two years have been limited by bonus pool restrictions and COVID-complicated scouting seasons and the best options available simply have been college pitchers. In seasons with larger draft pools this same scouting department has gone with a prep pitcher in Carter Stewart and college bats in Shea Langeliers and Braden Shewmake, as well as giving large bonuses to high school talent in later rounds every season. They traded for more bonus money for a reason and make no mistake, the Atlanta Braves have interest in every pool of players in this draft. Perhaps the most intriguing option for this draft could present itself in Texas prep shortstop Jett Williams.

Despite his short stature, Jett Williams is one of the premium offensive talents that will come in the second tier of prep players behind the top four guys. Williams has one of the best pure hit tools in the draft with an ability to consistently spray line drives across the field. He has shown an advanced feel for pitch recognition, and has a swing geared to maximize hard contact and get the most out of his 5’8 frame. His fantastic bat speed allows him to catch up to velocity with ease, and he has surprising pop in the bat and has shown average power. Williams is a superb athlete on all sides of the ball, with the ability to do damage on the bases and provide rangy defense up the middle. His defensive home has been in some question as a shoulder injury this spring has made it hard to gauge his arm and ability to stick at shortstop long term. There are many scouts who believe the arm will play there and others who believe he will find himself at second base or center field long term. Either way, Williams represents a potential premium bat that can play up the middle and has great instincts for the game.

If the Braves have a player fall to them at 14, Williams and fellow prep shortstop Cole Young seem to be the prime candidates. From what I’ve seen and heard of Williams I’ve grown to prefer him to young by a solid margin believing him to have more athleticism and impact potential offensively. If he is there for the Braves at 20 I think he will represent the best player available and would be a perfect fit in a system lacking in high end offensive talent. Williams’s feel for the game is years ahead of his age, and the size of his game much outplays the size of his frame. If the Braves believe he is a shortstop that makes it even more clear, as right now without time being able to look at him in person and see any workouts he may be doing it’s hard to know how his arm is looking. If Williams falls the Braves have the money now to make the move to snatch him up and at least one person here who would absolutely love the pick.

The biggest obstacle to Jett Williams ending up in a Braves uniform is the 18 teams that pick above them. There have been connections between Williams and the New York Mets, who have two picks, though should they manage to float one of the premium draft talents and go well over slot at 11 they would be off of the board for him. Prep bats that can hit are going to be held in high regard in any draft, and in one with such a drop in talent after the top 10 Williams is a player with a high level of variance. If another team sees him as a shortstop long term that may be the tipping point, but the downsides to taking Williams at 20 if he falls there are fairly limited. Perhaps they like another player more, or a premium pitcher like Dylan Lesko falls to 20, but with players like Cade Horton and Connor Prielipp now getting top 15 buzz there is a decent shot that a very interesting player could come Atlanta’s way at 20. If that player is Jett Williams, I can say that I would be on board with that pick. Keep in mind the number of injured arms means there will be first round talent still available in the second round, so going with a Hjerpe or Hughes may not even be necessary to get the “best” college arm available. They would have to throw Williams a lot of money, and somewhat limit their options the rest of day one, but he is an exciting talent that would fit neatly in a system weak at the lower levels.

Sign up for the newsletter Sign up for the Battery Power Daily Roundup newsletter!

A daily roundup of Atlanta Braves news from Battery Power