If anything this year, expect the unexpected, as that seems to be the trend John Coppolella and the front office tends to lean towards during the draft. This draft is average and maybe even a little below average, but at the same time is top heavy with talent, which will greatly benefit the Braves since they have another top 5 pick this year. So with all that being stated, here’s the list of 5 players the Braves should draft in the 2017 MLB Draft.
5). Shane Baz- RHP/3B, Concordia Lutheran HS (Cypress, TX)
+fastball(90-93 MPH; MAX 94-96)
Shane Baz is the top prep arm in the state of Texas and that’s saying something because names on that lists Clayton Kershaw and Noah Syndergaard. For a kid of his age he has a very deep arsenal that includes a 4 and 2 seam fastball, a cutter, a slider, a curve, and change that could use some work. Like with any high schooler who can ramp it up in the low to mid 90s, his control and command needs improvement. The biggest concern is his signability as he is a very firm in his commitment to TCU as they will allow him to also play 3B which is also very good at but projects more as a pitcher. If the front office decides to pick up Baz it would resemble the pick they made with Ian Anderson last year as it would be a great money saving pick.
4). Alex Faedo, SP, Gainesville, FL (University of Florida)
+fastball (92-95; MAX 96-97)
-mechanics, but they’re consistent
Florida has become a starting pitching factory in the college ranks as of late, with names like Dane Dunning, Logan Shore, Kirby Snead, and AJ Puk, but scouts are saying that Alex Faedo could possibly be the best of the bunch. He uses a fastball that has good movement and sits in the low to mid 90s as his go to, a nice biting mid to upper 80s slider that gets guys to swing to over it or ground right into the ground, and a change that could use some touching up as solid 3 pitch mix. Faedo’s mechanics are a bit herky-jerky but they stay consistent from start to start. The Florida Gator star did have some knee issues that lead to surgery a couple of years ago that could raise some eyebrows but everything on those knees looks fine. Alex Faedo would fit nicely into an already loaded Braves pitching farm system and could quite possibly hear his name called as the 5th overall pick come Draft Day.
3). Austin Beck-OF, North Davidson HS (Lexington, NC)
+Bat w/ potential 70 grade power
+short, compact, powerful swing
-health due a torn ACL.
-wood bat power?
Austin Beck is being noted by Baseball America as their fastest riser in this year’s draft class and looks to be a solid draft pick. It does not hurt that he plays in the outfield, a spot where Braves could use some depth. Beck has been noted as having a very quick, compact, swing that has been compared to Mike Trout’s swing when he was in high school. He also has plus tools in speed, glove skills, and arm talent that is imperative to being a top flight MLB OF prospect. The only issue going forward for Beck is health and whether he actually has a plus wood bat power. He missed a season of summer showcase ball in 2016 due to a torn ACL. In the MLB draft you don’t necessarily draft on need because needs vary from season to season and from year to year, so you draft the best player available. If Beck is still there at 5, don’t be shocked if the Braves break their trend and actually select a position player this year.
2). Kyle Wright, SP, Nashville, TN (Vanderbilt University)
+fastball (90-95; MAX 96-97)
+arsenal (cutter, curve, slider, and change)
It is becoming quite evident that if you want to play pro baseball, you need to head to Nashville and become a part of the machine that coach Tim Corbin has built at Vanderbilt. Kyle Wright is the latest name to grab the attention of college baseball and scouts. He has an eclectic arsenal of pitches that sees him use a fastball, cutter, curve, slider, and change. All pitches look like MLB offerings, but if one needed to be fine tuned it’d be the change. Wright’s command can vary from day to day but not to the point where it should raise any red flags or caution lights. The Vandy star came into the year with 1st overall aspirations but an inconsistent start to the season has cooled that down. If the Braves were to draft Wright, they’d be getting a guy that could potentially be in the bigs within the next 2-3 seasons and that would not be a wasted draft pick at all if that is the case.
1). MacKenzie Gore-LHP, Whiteville HS (Whiteville, NC)
+Fastball w/ movement 88-92 MPH (MAX 93-95)
Coming out of Whiteville, NC, Gore has rocketed up draft boards and rankings as of late and looks to become another top guy in a loaded class from the Tar Heel state. He won’t blow you away with his fastball, but he does have great deception and movement on it to get guys to swing and miss. His change is stellar as it has great movement and depth on it. Gore’s curve and overall control need work but that can be easily fixed once he gets and sees time in the minors. The young southpaw was named as the Gatorade National Baseball Player of the Year, so if the Braves select Gore not only will they be adding yet another great arm in the stacked arsenal of pitching prospects, but it would also mean that Atlanta will have selected the Gatorade National Baseball Player of the Year in back-to-back years as they picked Kyle Muller last year. If that happens, it will mark the first time an organization has ever chosen the Gatorade National Baseball Player of the Year in consecutive drafts.