What if I told you that the Atlanta Braves farm system just got even deeper? What if I told you that the Atlanta front office drafted yet another top of the rotation starter? What if I told you the Braves drafted a hometown kid who could very well develop into a 5-tool, switch hitting centerfielder? That’s exactly what John Coppolella did on the first day of the 2017 MLB Draft. Though they only had 2 picks instead of 3 last year, the front office absolutely nailed their selections on the first day.
The Braves used the fifth overall choice to pluck Vanderbilt starting pitcher Kyle Wright. Many viewed Wright not only as the best pitcher in the draft, but also as the best overall player in this year’s draft class. Wright is stud coming out of Vanderbilt with a very electric fastball to go along with a great arsenal of pitches that includes a 2-seam fastball, a slider, a curveball, and changeup. There really are not a lot of things Wright needs to work on, but if there was it would have to be his command, which can be inconsistent at times, and his change that he needs to develop a bit more feel for. Nonetheless the Braves got a steal of pick with Wright going 5th overall.
As the night progressed, many top outfielders were coming off the board. Names such as Austin Beck, Bubba Thompson, Adam Hasley, Jeren Kendall and Brent Rooker were selected. That left the Braves front office feeling the heat to select an outfielder to add to the farm system that lacks in overall depth. So with the 41st overall selection, the Braves picked Etowah High School’s own Drew Waters. Coming out of Etowah, Waters was committed to play his college ball at UGA, which no longer looks like it will not happen as he is expected to sign with the Braves. Waters is noted as being the top position player in the state with the potential to become a solid 5-tool outfield piece for the Braves. The switch-hitting Waters has great pop in his bat from the left side of the dish, but at the same time has better gap-to-gap power when he swings from the right handed side of the batter’s box. Waters is also noted as having great base running skills, plus defensive skills, and a great arm that really could put him in any spot in the OF. One thing that is a minus is that he does have some swing and miss tendencies at the plate. If he can get that squared away, expect the Woodstock, Georgia, native to become like another Georgia high school star in none other than Dexter Fowler, who was coached by the same high school coach. Atlanta’s front office once again got a steal of a pick with them drafting Waters at #41.
The Braves once again had a fantastic first day of the MLB Draft and look to further the already stacked farm system with even more talent. On day two, look for the Braves to further the depth of the farm system with low-risk high schoolers and more experienced college players. A big shout out and round of applause needs to be sent to Atlanta’s scouting department after three straight solid years of high round picks. Though times might be grim for the MLB team, it sure is exciting to be a Braves fan once you see what the organization has waiting in the wings.