Jim Callis of MLB Pipeline has released their second mock draft of this year, and in the Braves slot projected an interesting pick in first baseman and pitcher Bryce Eldridge. Eldridge is consistently ranked as a prospect likely to go in the back end of the first round, coming in at 21st on pipeline’s top draft prospects, 23rd on Baseball America’s, and 27th on Kiley McDaniel’s.
Eldridge is a behemoth of a high schooler, standing at 6’7 inches with the power at the plate to match that frame. Eldridge was more strongly considered on the mound before last summer, but intrigued with his massive raw power to make him now a legitimate two-way prospect. The Braves have taken their fair share of such players with cornerstones Austin Riley and Michael Harris II both being two-way prospects in high school, 2021 second round pick Spencer Schwellenbach having first round buzz on the mound and at shortstop, and 2022 first round pick Owen Murphy being seen as a top five round talent at shortstop. The Braves look for athleticism at the top of their drafts and Eldridge has it both at the plate and on the mound, though his hit tool is a big question mark as a hitter. On the mound Eldridge isn’t a flamethrower but can get up to 96 mph and has better command than one would expect from a player his size. He has a four pitch arsenal that includes a slider, curveball, and changeup which have all shown flashes of average or better potential with the slider being his best secondary offering.
Two names left on the board in Callis’s mock draft that also fit Atlanta’s tendencies are Charlee Soto and Travis Sykora. Sykora is a right handed prep pitcher with high end athleticism and a fastball that has touched triple digits. Sykora also has the spin metrics on his fastball that the Braves like in young prospects and a hard slider as his primary secondary offering though his overall game especially in the command department need refining. Soto is likewise a premium athlete with premium velocity, and comes in as one of the youngest players in the class. Soto has jumped up draft boards going into this spring and features a slider and changeup with above average potential, but his delivery is high effort and could push him to the bullpen as a professional.