Reactions from the Braves first day of the MLB Draft

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The Braves took a wholly different approach to this year’s draft than they have their entire rebuild – a sign things have officially changed in Atlanta. This is no longer an organization focused on the future; they are planning on winning now and sustaining that winning culture for as long as possible. With pitching stockpiled throughout the farm from years prior, the Braves decided to eye out position players with their three picks inside the top 60. They began the night by selecting Ryan Langeliers, a catcher out of Baylor.

According to most draft experts, Langeliers was the second-best catching prospect in this draft behind Adley Rutschman out of Oregon State who went first overall. He is touted for his defensive prowess behind the plate, which has become the focus of the catching position in today’s game. Langeliers’ pop time has been recorded at 1.8 seconds in-game, and he has a missile for an arm. With the bat, he won’t be able to challenge Rutschman but does possess a substantial amount of pop that should only grow with age. Langeliers hit three homers and had 11 RBIs IN ONE GAME this past weekend at NCAA Regionals. Adding him to a talented young duo of Alex Jackson and William Contreras in the minors all but assures the future of the catching position is taken care of in Atlanta.

The VP of scouting, Dana Brown, had some fond words to say of Langeliers, including how he believes the Baylor product can rise through the minor leagues quickly:

Despite Brown’s high praise, not every media outlet agreed with the pick. Bleacher Report gave the Braves first selection a C. Although; they did call Langeliers a first-round pick based on his defense alone, which is 70-grade. Their reasoning for their distaste: the Braves already have a top catching prospect in their system – William Contreras. But considering quality catchers that can hit have become like gold on the trade market, I don’t think the Braves are worried about having too many of them.

Because Carter Stewart refused to sign with Atlanta in last year’s draft, Langeliers was their compensation pick. With their own selection, the Braves doubled-down on college bats – the strength of this draft – and took a shortstop out of Texas A&M, Braden Shewmake.

Shewmake is an intriguing prospect as he burst onto the college scene by winning SEC Freshman of the Year, mashing eleven home runs and 69 RBIs while hitting .328. That consistency continued throughout his sophomore and junior campaigns. Shewmake hit .322 in his career as an Aggie, but his power numbers dropped remarkably. He only had eleven home runs and 91 RBIs combined in his final two seasons.

Still, Shewmake’s ability to hit line drives all over the field like clockwork made him bound for the first round. The Braves believe he’s the type of player that can play anywhere on the diamond, not just short; which is why shortstops are so valued as prospects. However, Dana Brown touches on his power, versatility and how much room he has to grow:

The former Aggie has a tremendous frame at 6’4″ but is extremely skinny. The fact that he could even drop dingers in college at that weight is impressive in itself. As he bulks up and fills out his frame, he should see a substantial uptick in power to all fields.

Once again, Bleacher Report was not thrilled with the Braves selection of Shewmake, giving them a D. They did not like Atlanta taking the safe route with both of their picks in the first round. To them, a better course of action would have been snagging a prep-player with an outstanding ceiling and then settling on a safe college bat. But what does Bleacher Report know?

Atlanta did not stop there. They had one more pick left on the first night of the draft, and with it, they tripled-down on college bats by taking another shortstop – Beau Philip from Oregon State 60th overall.

The JUCO star left to play for the Beavers this year, filling in for Cadyn Greiner, who was the 37th overall pick in the 2018 draft. According to all accounts, this was among the biggest reaches of the day. Baseball America had Philip as the 254th ranked prospect, which had Bleacher Report throwing a fit. They gave the Braves a C- for the pick, but did acknowledge Atlanta will have some extra money to spend heading into day 2 of the draft.

Philip is a 6-foot shortstop that played well in his first season against top-of-the-line competition at Oregon State. He slashed .312/.362/.475 for the Beavers in 2019. His best attribute is his defense. Philip can cover a lot of ground and has a cannon when throwing to first.

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