Day two of the draft encompasses rounds 3 through 10. Traditionally this has been where the Atlanta Braves scouting and player development people do some of their best work. It’s relatively easy to pick guys with tools on the first day of the draft, but consistently finding Major League talent beyond that is an art form — one the Braves seem to have done very well over the years. Jordan Schafer, Cory Gearrin, Kris Medlen and Craig Kimbrel were picked in recent years from among these rounds. The Braves also use these picks to select prospects that they develop and trade; guys like Matt Harrison and Charlie Morton.
Below are the Braves first ten picks — the first two picks from yesterday, as well as the eight picks today. A disclaimer about the writeups below: I’m mostly paraphrasing scouting reports here, as I’m learning about these players just as every other Braves fan is. Part of the fun of this exercise for me is looking back over these reports every so often and seeing how right or wrong I was (I’m not always right, but I’m getting better at it). I try to approach the scouting report for each draftee from the Braves’ perspective — using my knowledge of their system and methods to unlock the tools they see in each player.
1st Round (31): Jason Hursh, RHP @Jason_Hursh — He has a power arm and can run his fastball to triple digits. That fastball a good deal of late movement to it, and was called one of the best pitches in the draft. His secondary pitches need some refinement, but the Braves are adept at helping talented young pitchers refine their off-speed offerings. Here is a video about his recovery from Tommy John surgery.
2nd Round (65): Victor Caratini, C — For the second year in a row the Braves select a catcher from Puerto Rico in the first three rounds (last year Bryan De La Rosa was their 3rd round pick). Caratini is a potent switch-hitter who is new to catching, but should get good instruction in a Braves system known for developing catchers. Caratini could also be an option down the road at the infield or outfield corners. The bat is the real weapon here, this pick reminds me of the Josh Elander selection last year.
3rd Round (102): Carlos Salazar, RHP @
alexbomp5 — A high school pitcher with a legit power arm who can touch 97mph with his fastball. He has somewhat of a hop off the mound when he throws, similar to Jordan Walden, though not as severe. Like the Braves first rounder Hursh, Salazar needs to refine his secondary offerings, and the Braves system is good at teaching throwers to pitch. They can’t teach velocity, and that seems to be what the Braves are going after early in this draft — hard throwers they can teach to pitch.
4th Round (133): Tanner Murphy, C — Another catcher, this time a prep catcher from Missouri. At this point most of the scouting descriptions of him use the words raw and tools. He’s a project as a catcher and will take time to develop. He also has a terrific arm, and could convert to being an RHP if he doesn’t work out as a catcher.
5th Round (163): Mikey Reynolds, SS @MikeyRey16 — Previously drafted by the Yankees (20th, 2012) and Orioles (30th, 2011). A smaller senior at Texas A&M, with a plus ability to get on base and good speed on the bases, but not much power. Probably close to what Tyler Pastornicky is, but with the ability to stick at shortstop. He seems like a huge over-draft at this spot, as he should have gone about 5 or 6 rounds later.
6th Round (193): Stephen Janas, RHP @SJanas_11 — A local product from Marietta, Georgia, who went to Kennesaw State, so I’m sure he’s very familiar to the Braves development people. He also had Tommy John surgery last year, returning only 10 months later. At 6-foot-5, 190-pounds, he is tall and lanky, though his height doesn’t translate into plus velocity, with his sinking fastball around 88-89mph, but will probably draw comps as a tall Tim Hudson. He is a command pitcher, which the Braves traditionally like, and there is likely hope that in his second year back from Tommy John he will regain more velocity.
7th Round (223): Ian Stiffler, RHP @stiffmiester12 — A high school pitcher from Pennsylvania, he is not listed on the BA top-500 draft prospects. Looks like he’s got a low-90s fastball, curve, a change-up, and an unbelievably awesome Twitter handle. He is also apparently the brother of the VCU baseball coach, and Ian is a Virginia Commonwealth baseball commit. Stiffler’s grandfather, Tom Qualters, was a major league pitcher for the Phillies and White Sox in the 1950s. This seems like another over-draft that requires a lot of projection.
8th Round (253): Kyle Wren, CF @KwrenGT — In the 8th round of the 2002 draft, the Braves drafted Jon Schuerholz, the son of then Braves General Manager Jonathan Schuerholz. This year, history seems to have repeated himself. Kyle Wren, the son of current Braves General Manager Frank Wren, is a speedy center fielder, and that plus tool plays in the field and on the basepaths. He’s a good hitter for average, but doesn’t have much power. Odds are he’ll follow in the footsteps of the young Schuerholz, play a few years of mediocre pro ball in the minors, then become a coach or manager in the Braves system.
9th Round (283): Dylan Manwaring, 3B @D_manwaring — Another high school player, Manwaring is from New York, and is committed to Wake Forest. He’s a big and strong player with a solid bat, and his selection by Atlanta is mostly about projection. The Braves took several high school players like this the last couple of years, including Fernelys Sanchez (also from NY), Conor Lien, Justin Black Jr, and Cody Livesay. Dylan is the also the son of former Giants catcher Kirt Manwaring. Here is a great video about him put together by the local news station.
10th Round (313): Ian Hagenmiller, 3B — Another high school third baseman, and the fifth high school player among the first 10 picks for the Braves. Much of what I said about Manwaring applies here. Hagenmiller is a strong projectable player who should hit for good power.
The remaining picks (11-40) will begin tomorrow. Reviews for that group will likely be posted later this weekend.