Day two of the 2014 draft finds the Atlanta Braves continuing to exclusively draft players from southern states. Atlanta started out by focusing on really tall pitchers, then added some grinders, and finally a couple of power bats. All of the batters they have drafted so far are said to be above-average contact hitters. So it seems like the organization is trying to avoid guys who are susceptible to striking out a lot.
For reviews on the first two Braves picks, click here.
3rd Round (102): Max Povse, RHP @TallWall22 — The first thing you notice in any scouting report is that this UNC Greensboro product is tall. He’s 6-foot-7 or 6-foot-8, depending on which scouting report you read. He has a low-90s fastball, but his slider and change need work. He improved his K and BB rates each of the last three years, and only allowed one home run in 79 innings this season thanks to improving sink on his fastball. He might be a bit of an over-draft at 102, as Baseball America ranked him 142nd and Minor League Ball ranked him 340th. He’s a southern product so the Atlanta scouting department is probably very familiar with him. Based on his Twitter picture (right) he’s already a Braves fan (and again, he’s very tall).
4th Round (133): Chad Sobotka, RHP @Chad_Sobotka — The first ever player drafted above the 15th round from the University of South Carolina-Upstate, Sobotka didn’t pitch all season due to a stress fracture in his back. The 6-foot-6 right-hander will probably be a reliever for Atlanta. He has mid-90s heat from both a four-seam and a two-seam fastball with lots of movement. His off-speed stuff needs work, but his slider could develop into a plus offering. BA had him ranked at 115, and Minor League Ball at 146. ESPN’s Keith Law had him ranked 66th, saying Sobotka’s ceiling is as a number-3 starter, while his floor is that of a high-leverage reliever. This pick is not without risk due to his injury history, but it could payoff big time if Sobotka can stay healthy and maintain his velocity. Click here for a video interview with Sobotka from the Cape Cod League last year.
5th Round (163): Chris Diaz, LHP — A junior starter from the University of Miami in Florida. Diaz is that classic “pitchability” lefty the Braves love. His sinking fastball has only average velocity, in the high-80s, “tickling 90,” per Baseball America. His changeup and slider are both average, and he must maintain command of all his pitches to be effective. He projects as a back-of-the-rotation starter, but one that could get to the Majors in a year or two. Diaz doesn’t wow with his stuff, but has been effective for the Canes, going 9-1 with a 2.41 ERA this season. He’s one of those “I don’t know how he does it, but he does it” pitchers. It’s tough to project how that kind of pitcher will fare as a pro. BA ranked him 126th overall, while Minor League Ball ranked him 210. He was named ACC Co-Pitcher of the Year this season. He reminds me of the Sean Gilmartin pick from several years ago.
6th Round (193): Keith Curcio, CF @KeithCurcio — Curcio is an athletic outfielder with good speed. While he doesn’t have any stand-out tools, he’s said to be a grinder who plays above his natural abilities. He excelled last summer in the wooden bat collegiate Northwoods League, placing second in batting average (.367) and walking more than he struck out. The ability he showed there to hit with a wood bat is likely what gave the Braves confidence to draft him this high. He was unranked on any of the prospect outlets draft boards, so this could be a bit of an overdraft at this position.
7th Round (223): Luke Dykstra, 2B @lukeydykstra4 — Yep, as you might have guessed from his last name he’s got baseball bloodlines. His father is former Mets and Phillies star Lenny Dykstra. The same terms used to describe his father–and his brother Cutter Dykstra, a former second-round pick–have been used to describe Luke: gritty, gamer, instincts. BA ranked him 110 on their draft board, though he went unranked on Minor League Ball’s board. Projected by BA to be drafted anywhere from the 2nd to 5th rounds, the Braves got good value here with a roll-of-the-dice feel-for-the-game pick. A good comp might be Tyler Pastornicky.
8th Round (253): Bradley Roney, RHP @bradley_roney — A two-way player at Southern Miss (corner infielder and closer), Roney is projected to be a reliever in the pros. He’s got a max-effort delivery that leads to some command issues, but he can touch 95 mph with his fastball, and has a plus slider. Ranked 205 by Baseball America, but unranked out of 350 by Minor League Ball. The hope with a guy like this is that once he commits to pitching full time his command and velocity will improve. This is a similar approach that the Braves took with David Hale. Roney might be further along as a pitcher than Hale was, and Roney will probably remain a reliever rather than moving to the rotation like Hale did.
9th Round (283): Jordan Edgerton, 3B @jordanedgerton — Edgerton is out of UNC-Pembroke, a Division II school. The Braves have never shied away from drafting guys who put up big numbers in D-II. This pick reminds me of the Chase Larsson pick from 2011, also in the 9th round (Larsson didn’t pan out). Edgerton hit .369/.429/.608 this season while playing his home games in a home run friendly park. While he has big power, the scouting reports on him also say that he has a good eye at the plate and doesn’t strike out a ton. He will probably end up at an outfield corner eventually. He was ranked 437 on the BA draft board, but clearly the Braves believe there is a lot more there.
10th Round (313): Matt Tellor, 1B @M_Tellor19 — The senior first baseman from Southeast Missouri State, a school the Braves have had good success with recently. Shae Simmons was one of two players drafted by Atlanta out of SEMO in 2012.
— shae simmons (@shae_simmons) June 7, 2014
Tellor is a big man at 6-foot-5, although most other players are probably taller than the 5-foot-10 Simmons. While the Braves took Shae in the 22nd round (689 overall), they made Tellor the highest drafted player ever from SEMO at No. 313. He’s got above-average power, and made big strides from 2013 (.841 OPS) to 2014 (1.102 OPS). Of course, in that same 2012 draft, the Braves also selected a big corner infield slugger from SEMO named Trenton Moses, who had even bigger power numbers than Tellor. Moses hasn’t translated that college power into consistent power in the pros. Sometimes I think the Braves fall in love with certain schools’ players a bit too much.