The Braves have gone college prospect heavy in the shortened 2020 MLB Draft due to COVID-19. With their fourth-round pick, they took Clemson right-handed pitcher Spencer Strider 126th overall.
Strider is a draft-eligible sophomore, as he missed the entire 2019 season due to Tommy John Surgery. However, he did return this season and his velocity (95 MPH fastball) and arm speed were back to normal, and he actually had an improved curveball and changeup in a small sample size. He also showed improved control after posting a horrid 6.2 BB/9 rate between starting and relief as a freshman.
Strider was ranked outside MLB.com’s top 200 prospects, continuing a trend of the team selecting prospects that were selected far above where they were projected. Jim Callis seems to think this could be a discount to afford other players, but this has also been speculated about first-round pick Jared Shuster, and there is just one pick remaining for Atlanta. Perhaps they will be going after an over slot prospect to wrap up the event. Either way, it seems the Braves are entirely disregarding college statistics and going with the gut of their revamped scouting department this year.