We’ve already checked in with the 2022 Draft Class to see who has started the year off hot. This is a group that is going to be key for Atlanta. With Vaughn Grissom set to graduate soon, this is a farm system that badly needs reinforcements. For the Braves, their 2022 Draft Class is undoubtedly going to be all over their Top 30. We’ve already checked in with Baseball America, so where does MLB Pipeline have these guys ranked?
Time for a refresh!
— MLB Pipeline (@MLBPipeline) August 18, 2022
So far, seven members of the 2022 Draft Class have cracked Atlanta’s Top 30. More could be on the way with graduations and strong starts to their rookie careers.
RHP Owen Murphy (Pick 20)
My Rank: 6
Actual Rank (Baseball America): 6
Actual Rank (MLB Pipeline): 5
The first three high school arms the Braves selected are all going to be highly ranked — I expect them to clock in just behind Vaughn Grissom, Jared Shuster, and Kyle Muller in some order. Murphy is a fantastic talent, and although he was an under-slot pick, the Braves got a live arm with tons of potential.
RHP JR Ritchie (Pick 35)
My Rank: 5
Actual Rank (Baseball America): 7
Actual Rank (MLB Pipeline): 6
Ritchie and Murphy both put up video game numbers at the plate and on the mound; these are two young men the Braves are going to be excited to work with. You can really arrange Murphy, Ritchie, and Phillips in any order — I like them all a lot.
RHP Cole Phillips (Pick 57)
My Rank: 4
Actual Rank (Baseball America): 12
Actual Rank (MLB Pipeline): 9
I have Phillips taking the fourth spot; he had top-ten pick potential before undergoing Tommy John surgery. He has the ability to be a frontline starter, and the Braves obviously agree. They signed him to an over-slot deal; he could easily end up being the best player in this draft class.
RHP Blake Burkhalter (Pick 76)
My Rank: 25
Actual Rank (Baseball America): 28
Actual Rank (MLB Pipeline): 25
Burkhalter may be the first member of this class to reach the majors — he was one of the best bullpen arms in the SEC this past season, and this is a draft heavy on high school talent. We saw a similar rise with AJ Minter when he was drafted out of Texas A&M with the 75th pick.
C Drake Baldwin (Pick 96)
My Rank: 24
Actual Rank (Baseball America): 27
Actual Rank (MLB Pipeline): 23
Baldwin was a solid pickup for a team that badly needs help at the catcher position, and while that doesn’t factor much into rankings, he should get every opportunity to play. The bat isn’t a question, but his defense behind the plate will be key for him as he moves through the system. Fortunately, the Braves can afford to be patient with him.
3B David McCabe (Pick 125)
My Rank: 28
Actual Rank (Baseball America): 29
Actual Rank (MLB Pipeline): NR
McCabe is a massive switch-hitting third baseman, and there’s plenty of raw power potential with the Canadian project drafted out of Charlotte. He has had a slow start in FCL, but there’s no cause for concern.
RHP Seth Keller (Pick 185)
My Rank: 18
Actual Rank (Baseball America): NR
Actual Rank (MLB Pipeline): 24
Keller may not clock in as high as I expect, but he’s another very talented high school pitcher that put up eye-popping numbers. Like Ritchie and Murphy, he has two-way potential — we’ll see if the Braves agree with that assessment. They gave him a big bonus to forego his commitment to Old Dominion.
RHP Adam Maier (Pick 215)
My Rank: 12
Actual Rank (Baseball America): 18
Actual Rank (MLB Pipeline): 16
Maier is a little more steak than sizzle right now, but he was getting some first round chatter for 2023 going into this draft. The Braves really like this kid — they forked over $1 million over slot to get this guy. Based on potential alone, I think he sneaks into the top ten if he can get some good work in.
Photographer: Larry Radloff/Icon Sportswire