In my opinion, the Braves had a solid draft — they needed to refill the lower levels of the minors, and they did that with a bevy of talented high school players. The Braves saved some money and snagged a very talented college arm in the seventh round in the form of Adam Maier:
The Braves have agreed to terms with seventh-rounder Adam Maier (No. 215 overall) for $1,200,000 (slot value: $215,400), per @jimcallisMLB.
— MLB Pipeline (@MLBPipeline) July 23, 2022
Atlanta has a pretty thin farm system, so I expect a lot of these guys to debut in the Top 30 lists from Baseball America and MLB Pipeline. Here’s where I would rank them, along with where I expect them to clock in. There are six guys I would rank in Atlanta’s new Top 30. Of course, some of them were slot plays, so they won’t be in their exact draft order:
RHP Owen Murphy (Pick 20)
My Rank: 6
Expected Rank: 4
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
Expected Rank: 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
Expected Rank: 5
I have Phillips taking the fourth spot; he had top-ten pick potential before undergoing Tommy John surgery. He’s got 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.
C Drake Baldwin (Pick 96)
My Rank: 15-20
Expected Rank: 15-20
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.
RHP Seth Keller (Pick 185)
My Rank: 10-15
Expected Rank: 10-15
Keller may clock in higher than 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: 7-10
Expected Rank: 7-10
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.
Photographer: Larry Radloff/Icon Sportswire