We are entering July, and that means it is officially draft month for Major League Baseball. The Atlanta Braves will be drafting at 24th overall, but last season they picked 20th and had a slew of day one picks. As part of a short series I asked the minor league crew how they feel about how last season’s draft has shaped up.
Now that half a season of performances finished we’ve had our first extended looks at last season’s draft. With that, how are you feeling about the 2022 draft class as a whole and what are the biggest ways your perspectives have shifted?
Matt- Nothing has changed for me yet. Between it being these players first half of a season in the first full pro year of their career and some of the bigger names still not having debuted because of injury (or debuted last year and hurt now), it’s simply too early to change how I feel. For example I was a bit down on David McCabe, but he’s since come on a bit. I’d say after the season is probably a better time to shift anything with this group,
Brady — So far, I actually like this class more than most in recent years. I think the Braves did a great job of finding some good value in the middle-to-later rounds in guys like Nacho Alvarez, David McCabe, Kevin Kilpatrick Jr., Keshawn Ogans and others who have shown some flashes thus far. However, it’s early and it’s honestly a little to early to definitively say what the Braves have in their class and what they don’t. Plus, there are multiple guys we’ve yet to get extended looks at due to injuries like JR Ritchie, Cole Phillips, Adam Maier and Blake Burkhalter. All in all, I like the class a lot so far and hopefully my opinion continues to trend in that direction as we get more looks at these guys.
Devin — It’s difficult to truly gauge how I am feeling on last years draft class until I see JR Ritchie and Cole Phillips on the bump. There has been a bit of a let down with how Owen Murphy has started his professional career thus far but he’s going to be 19 for the remainder of the season so it’s more than plausible we see steady improvement as the year goes on. If I had to give an answer though, I’d say disappointed. It is difficult for pitchers to lose a year of development this early in their timeline and despite players like Ignacio Alvarez showing some promise I do have a bit of a sour taste in my mouth at the moment simply due to the injuries.
Garrett - I think ultimately what we’ve seen from the early returns on this draft is just how much risk is involved in sinking significant capital into pitching. It’s a strategy that’s necessary for Atlanta as the Braves don’t go after bigger name pitchers on the trade and free agent markets and thus have to develop from within. Unfortunately what we’ve seen is most of their money has either not played or played sparingly with Cole Phillips and Adam Maier both having not returned to game action, Blake Burkhalter undergoing Tommy John surgery this spring, and JR Ritchie having the same early this season. Owen Murphy hasn’t been off to a great start yet either, so we’ve been in an odd limbo of not really having much of anything to gauge these pitchers by. Overall early returns on pitching have been disappointed purely due to the injuries, but the offensive output has impressed me. Nacho Alvarez and David McCabe have both had successful seasons and it seems the Braves have really mastered turning those mid-round picks into productive position player prospects in recent drafts .