We are in the thick of draft season here at Battery Power and we are already getting a lot of questions about who the Braves might pick. To lend a hand to those that may not follow along with the minutia of amateur baseball and/or the draft (while also giving our two cents), we are running a series where we run down each position and what the Braves may or may not do at each position when the 2022 MLB Draft kicks off on July 17.
The way this is going to work is that we are going to pick a position for each article, run down the early round options and why they may or may not work for the Braves, and then give a few names to keep an eye on for days two and three at the given position. Today, we are going to run down the second basemen.
Why the Braves could pick a second baseman early
The short answer is that if they end up with a second baseman from day one, it is likely because a shortstop fell to them that they couldn’t pass their bat up and they end up moving off the position. There is a slight chance (emphasis on slight) that shortstop Zach Neto out of Campbell could fall to them at 20 and there is a more likely (but maybe still unlikely) chance that one or more of the prep shortstops that are projected to go in the middle of the first round like Jett Williams or Cole Young get to them. In that world, the Braves could go off script and pick the prep bat and then there is a chance that any of those guys could end up at second base. Eric Brown out of Coastal Carolina is another really interesting bat from the college ranks that could, theoretically, end up as a second baseman down the road, but it does feel like at the moment like he will end up getting taken between the Braves’ first two picks.
Why the Braves won’t pick a second baseman early
First, as a general rule, you don’t target second baseman unless a college guy has already been moved off of shortstop and the bat is too good to pass up. Second, the best guys that are already being projected to be second basemen right away are going to be gone long before the Braves pick as prep bat Termarr Johnson and Texas Tech second baseman Jace Jung VERY likely to be top 10 picks.
Second, if the Braves were to target a bat on day one, it would be far more likely to be a guy that is currently playing a premium defensive position OR hits a ton and it doesn’t really matter where they play. A cursory look at the expected draft board and the tendencies of both the Braves and the teams ahead of them gives us pause that a guy with second base in their future ends up being the choice.
Finally, the Braves don’t really target bats early in the draft these days, let alone ones that seem like they could be defensively deficient. Their preferred strategy MOST of the time is to find arms they like, sign them underslot early, and then go overslot on a few picks later in the draft. Even in the scenario where a prep shortstop falls to them who (again, in theory) could end up at second base down the road, they may be too expensive on the money side with larger bonus pool teams driving up their price to make their selection worthwhile given the Braves’ tendency to want to spread money around.
Day Two/Three Targets
There are not a ton of guys that immediately project as second basemen to highlight, although there are a couple notable ones
Robert Moore, Arkansas - Moore has been a College World Series star a couple years in a row now, has a high baseball IQ, and comes from a baseball family. Has not been good this year in terms of the counting stats, but it sounds like the underlying batted ball data is good and he has a track record of performance in the SEC to lean on. A solid day two play if the Braves decide to take that route.
Brett Roberts, Florida State - A hit over power guy out of the ACC, Roberts isn’t the strongest guy on the field but he gets a lot out of the tools he does have. He also hit well in the Cape Cod League in 2021 which helps his cause a good bit. May be an interesting guy to develop into a utility-type where he could play multiple infield positions and maybe even the outfield. Probably ends up getting picked on the second day of the draft if we are taking a guess at it.