Signs are pointing towards Austin Beck being Atlanta’s first option in the 2017 MLB Draft on Monday. Just think, the Braves’ farm system will get even deeper next week. That is a scary thought. The real question is, who will the Braves take with their first round pick?
A report by Bill Shanks of the Telegraph posted a piece recently about the Braves’ interest in Austin Beck, an outfielder from North Davidson High School in North Carolina. Beck can do it all. He has power, speed, and is a nice defender in the outfield. After not being able to play in the summer or fall last year due to a torn ACL, Beck’s draft stock plummeted. However, his play since recovering from injury has put him back on the map as a top-10 pick. The Braves have shown a willingness to draft a player with injury history if they think they have tremendous upside, and after having great results thus far from Kolby Allard, they appear to be comfortable doing so again.
Shanks has reported that Beck has had multiple private workouts and discussions with John Coppolella and Brian Bridges, and multiple sites have linked the two parties. It is also worth noting that he included that the team had also worked out Hunter Greeene, Shane Baz, Nick Pratto and Royce Lewis, but it seems Beck may be the favorite.
Keith Law went as far to even liken Beck to Mike Trout. “Beck looks like Mike Trout — not Trout at 17, but Trout today — with huge bat speed and a plus arm, but there’s effort to his game, and no one has seen him play with a wood bat or face good pitching.”
If other teams think that is the case, Beck may not be there at fifth overall. However, his lack of exposure to good pitching and injury past seems to be enough to scare off the first four teams selecting. While this report is still a rumor, we have no reason to think otherwise that Beck is currently the Braves’ first choice, and Shanks seems to think he will not only be on the board, but he could be selected at a cheaper price tag than some other prospects. This underslotting strategy would be implemented by the team so they could reallocate money to other prospects, allowing them to draft higher upside players asking for more money. This is similar to what the team did with Ian Anderson last season, yet they still got a high upside talent. With only three top 100 picks in the Draft, there will be mixed opinions among fans as to how that money should be allocated, but has Coppy ever proven to be anything less than a genius?
Beck seems to be that big time hitter some Braves fans have been wanting to draft in recent years, just to see the Braves draft high school pitchers. This is a great strategy, and do not be surprised if they do it again. However, it is looking like Beck is their guy. If they do select him, they will have two true five-tool elite outfield prospects with Beck and Ronald Acuna.
Here is him hitting three homers in his final high school games, if you were not sold where you heard Mike Trout: