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Baseball America projects Travis Sykora to Braves in first mock draft

Sykora would be the second prep right hander the Braves have taken in the first round in as many years.

Baseball: Perfect Game All-American Classic Mark J. Rebilas-USA TODAY Sports

It may still be spring training but we’re already looking ahead a bit to this summer, where the Atlanta Braves hold the 24th overall pick in the 2023 MLB first year player draft. The Braves have taken a pitcher with their top pick in each of the last three seasons so it should be no surprise that the top connections are all pitchers. Carlos Collazo at Baseball America has the Braves taking Texas prep right handed pitcher Travis Sykora.

Sykora is a physical specimen, standing 6’6 with a fastball that can hit triple digits. He regularly posts elite fastball velocity with running movement. He backs that up with a slider and a split-finger changeup which both are in need of development. As would be expected for a player with his velocity projected this late in the first round he does have major command concerns which pose the biggest challenge to his professional future. Atlanta has had success developing a couple of prep pitchers in recent seasons and has been able to unlock the most potential from the secondary pitches of their pitching prospects.

Also mentioned as a possibility is Florida prep right hander Charlee Soto, one of the youngest players in the draft class. Soto is 6’5 and may still be growing, and his velocity took a major step forward this past summer to vault him up draft boards. Soto already jumped from the low 90’s to being a guy who has touched 98 on his fastball and he pairs that with a slider and changeup. His changeup is seen as the better of the pitches and could be a plus pitch. Soto is athletic and has improved dramatically, but there are questions as to whether his delivery will allow him to be a starter long term.

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