Kiley McDaniel of ESPN is hot on his draft coverage, and on Monday morning dropped his second mock draft. For the Atlanta Braves there was much the same information, with McDaniel expecting to go with a position player in the first round this year. However there was a bit of additional context provided that differs from others.
Mock 2.0— Kiley McDaniel (@kileymcd) June 26, 2023
A shuffle at the top with a full breakdown of what I believe PIT is thinking as well as the camps for each of the top five players. The leverage/logic is fascinating.
Related: you can watch the whole first day of the draft on ESPN platforms! https://t.co/bSTlZIdg0w
At 24 McDaniel has the Braves selecting University of Miami third baseman Yohandy Morales, a player who has not yet been connected to the Braves. Talk surrounding Atlanta has primarily centered on prep players though that’s likely more a case of the strength of the draft versus any particular strategy. Morales for his part has been phenomenal with Miami, hitting .408/.475/.713 with 20 home runs, though his weakness in pitch recognition and plate discipline are noticeable. A strong player with the bat to stick at third base, he is a bit more of a project than some other college players but also presents an offensive upside few do. The notable statement from McDaniel was that the Braves need defensive value in their first round pick, which would exclude Bryce Elderidge who has previously been projected to the Braves. This has been mostly true of the few highly drafted Braves position players in recent years like Shea Langeliers. McDaniel also draws the profile connection to George Lombard Jr, another name that has popped up throughout this draft process.