This mock draft has Braves taking two of the best players in the SEC

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The Braves have a lot of good options on the table going into the 2022 MLB Draft, and they really need to nail this one with an extremely depleted farm system. After flipping Drew Waters and Andrew Hoffman for the 35th pick, the Braves will have some extra draft capital to play with. Armed with five picks in the Top 100, I could see Atlanta going after some high school talent to sign over-slot, but Baseball America has the Braves going with two talented players out of the SEC in their latest mock draft.

Subscribe to Baseball America if you want to read the full draft; I highly recommend their content. With the 20th pick, they have Atlanta taking 2022 SEC Tournament MVP Drew Gilbert. Gilbert is the definition of a five-tool player, maybe even a six-tool player if you count the fact that he has some experience on the mound. He’s the perfect type of sparkplug prospect that could make a lot of noise quickly, and the Braves have a track record of developing talented outfield prospects.

With the pick acquired for Waters, Baseball America has Atlanta taking Preseason First Team All American Connor Prielipp out of Alabama. If not for injury, Prielipp had a chance to be the first player picked in this draft. I had the Braves taking him at 20 in my last mock draft, and getting him at 35 would be a steal. Here’s what I had to say about Prielipp:

Prielipp has been connected to the Braves a few times by people in the industry, and he makes way too much sense for Atlanta if he’s available. We’re talking about a guy who could have been the first pick if he hadn’t undergone Tommy John Surgery. He has an incredible slider and apparently threw a bullpen recently that showed there’s nothing to worry about with his elbow. When you’re a team like the Braves that needs talent badly, this is a guy you have to roll the dice on. He has ace potential, and I’m betting on that with the 20th pick every time. He could get to the Show very quickly — a la Spencer Strider.

Finally, with the 57th pick, the Braves go with Florida high school shortstop Cameron Smith. Scouts rave about Smith’s contact ability, and there’s a lot of projection there to grow into a gap-to-gap power bat.

Photographer: Bryan Lynn/Icon Sportswire

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