Atlanta Braves 2015 Draft Picks, Rounds 21-40

Day three of the 2015 MLB First Year Player Draft and this completes the selections made by the Atlanta Braves. Previous selections can be found using these links:

Picks 1-5 (Round 1 & 2)
Picks 6-13 (Round 3-10)
Picks 14-23 (Round 11-20)

21st Round (630): Kurt Hoekstra, 2B @khoek7 — A junior middle infielder from Western Michigan, Hoekstra was named the team MVP this year while hitting .322/.401/.491. He’s got good size at 6-foot-2 for a middle infielder, but he doesn’t project to have too much home run power and only average speed. Since playing in a collegiate summer league last year, he has gradually raised his draft profile, and is yet another late bloomer selected by the Braves.

22nd Round (660): Dalton Geekie, RHP @daltongeekie — A Georgia boy from McEachern high school by way of Georgia Highlands College, where he just finished his sophomore year. He has a large projectable 6-foot-5 frame and works his fastball in the low-90s, but was unranked by any prospect outlet.

23rd Round (690): Taylor Cockrell, RHP @tcock_06 — A two-way player out of State College of Florida Manatee, he is signed to play with the University of Tampa next year and ranked as the No. 85 prospect in Florida by Baseball America. He’s sits in the low-90s with his fastball, and he’s got a big enough frame at 6-foot-3 to retain and/or add-to that velocity.

24th Round (720): Jake Lanning, 3B @jakelanning4 — A senior at Holy Cross College in Indiana, he was a two-way player, leading his team on the mound and in the field. The switch-hitter destroyed his competition with a slash line of .475/.553/.732 as well as a 1.96 ERA and a .197 BAA. This pick follows one of the Braves stated goals in this draft of selecting all-around athletes and two-way players.

25th Round (750): Jonathan Morales, C — A sophomore catcher out of Miami Dade Community College, and a native of Puerto Rico. I can’t find much info on him, and he is unranked in Florida.

26th Round (780): Ben Libuda, LHP — A junior from little-known Worcester State College in Massachusetts, he checks in at a wispy 6-foot-7 with plenty of room to add more strength. He’s a four-pitch pitcher with a low-90s fastball and a potentially plus slider. Looks as if there’s a lot to like with the package that Libuda brings with him.

27th Round (810): Robby Nesovic, 3B — A junior third baseman from UC Santa Barbara, he starred as a pitcher as well, continuing the trend of picking two-way players. He has a big 6-foot-3 frame, but didn’t hit for much power in college.

28th Round (840): Curtiss Pomeroy, RHP — A junior from Georgetown, he is also a two-way player, and only went back to pitching this year after not having thrown off the mound regularly since Little League. While he only made five relief appearances this year, the Braves liked what they saw, and Pomeroy seems convinced that his professional baseball future is as a pitcher.

29th Round (870): Collin Yelich, C @cyelich — Most notably, Collin is the brother of Marlins’ outfielder Christian Yelich. He sounds like a reliable catcher with a good work ethic. The Braves also like the bloodlines.

30th Round (900): Doug Still, LHP — Drafted last year by the Braves in the 33rd round after finishing high school, the team selected him again after he completed his first year of Junior College at Jefferson College in Missouri.

31st Round (930): Matt Custred, RHP @cattmust — The Braves draft the college teammate of their 6th-round pick (Matt Withrow), who are both juniors at Texas Tech. Custred checks in at an imposing 6-foot-6, 240 pounds, and has mostly been a reliever in his college career. He only appeared in three games his sophomore year, which leads me to believe there may have been some sort of injury. He only appeared in 15 games (18 innings) in his junior year, so he doesn’t have a lot of mileage on his arm.

The remaining picks in rounds 32 through 40 are all high school players, who are generally unlikely to sign. Sometimes they are selected by the team so that the player knows the team is tracking them as they enter college. Some of these picks may be backup picks in case some of the high school players drafted in earlier rounds don’t sign, leaving extra money to make a run at one of these guys. If any of them sign, I will write up a review and add it to this list.

An interesting note about the team’s 35th-round selection, catcher Chase Smartt, he is apparently deaf. Here is a good story and video about him.

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