ESPN names their draft needs for the Braves

Braves roster moves

What’s different about the MLB Draft compared to other sports is it takes place smack dab in the middle of the season. While eight Braves enjoy their All-Star break in Seattle, Alex Anthopoulos will also be in town, but with an entirely different goal in mind, picking the next crop of talent that will hopefully roam the field with similar success at Truist Park.

The Braves have been spectacular in the MLB draft in recent years under Alex Anthopoulos, finding gems throughout the first ten rounds. In 2020, the draft was shortened to just five rounds because of COVID, but that didn’t stop the Braves from finding two All-Stars — Bryce Elder and Spencer Strider.

The year before, Anthopoulos selected Michael Harris in the third round, and most recently, AJ Smith-Shawver was taken in the seventh round in 2021. All of these players are currently playing critical roles in the team’s success, which isn’t normal, but it is why the Braves have been able to establish themselves as the class of Major League Baseball.

Kiley McDaniel of ESPN recently released his draft guide for all 30 teams, tabbing some best fits and to-do lists for each organization. Here is what he had to say about the Braves.

Day 1 picks: No. 24, No. 59, No. 70

2023 draft bonus pool: $8,341,700

Where their farm system ranks: 30th, $54 million

What they do well and a recent draft win: The Braves rushed Spencer Strider, Michael Harris, Vaughn Grissom and A.J. Smith-Shawver to the big leagues from recent drafts, all with some real early success. Last year’s fifth-rounder, Ignacio Alvarez, is already looking like a nice find on an overlooked demographic of West Coast juco position players, while lower-upside college pitchers Bryce Elder and Dylan Dodd offered quick inventory value, if not more.

What they need to accomplish in this draft: This obvious drafting and development success along with a couple go-for-it trades with Oakland leading to real big league results is why the farm system is ranked last. Restocking the system for more potential trades and maybe finding another underrated quick riser will continue to be the aim.

Best fits: It’s hard to ignore local prep product and Omaha hero Floyd here, as there are some Strider vibes to his style of pitching. Otherwise, it’s mostly the third cut of position players on the board here with players like Davis, Emerson, McGonigle and Lombard Jr. among the better fits. I don’t have any inside info, but Lord fits some of the characteristics that the Braves tend to look for.

The Braves seemed to pivot their draft strategy last year, focusing more on high upside high school talent in the early rounds in attempt to replenish the lower levels of the minors. I tend to believe that’s the direction they will go again this time around. The core of their team is locked up for the foreseeable future. Continuing to accumulate high upside pieces that could be used in trades down the road makes a lot of sense.

Photo: David J. Griffin/Icon Sportswire


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