Day three of the 2016 MLB Draft sees the Atlanta Braves selecting several players that they will sign to over-slot bonuses. While the team’s primary strategy on day one was to spread the money for the top three selections of the draft nearly evenly across those three players, a second strategy seems to be to select several high school and Junior College picks on day three and see which ones will take over-slot deals.
Click here for rounds 3-10 from day two of the draft.
11th Round (319): Matt Rowland, RHP — Day 3 of the draft usually starts out with a player or two who will sign for more than the $100,000 slot limit for all picks from the eleventh round onward. The prep pitcher Rowland fits this bill, with Atlanta inking him to an over-slot deal of around $400,000. The local product from Pope High School has good size at 6-foot-3, and already sports plus velocity with a fastball touching 95 mph, while sitting in the low-90s. He draws a comparison to Derek Lowe for the sinking action on his fastball, which he pairs with a slider that flashes future-plus. He’s far less refined than the other high school pitchers taken ahead of him, but he nonetheless represents good value at this pick in the draft. The Braves also continue to double down on the strength of this draft, high school pitching. He was ranked No. 496 by Baseball America.
12th Round (349): Brandon White, RHP @brandonwhite01 — A dominant closer at Lander University in Greenwood, South Carolina, he features a plus slider, average fastball and a developing curve. Click here for a great article on him, and how he was forced to improve on his secondary pitches. This could be a great under-the-radar pick, especially since everyone will focus on his name, which is the same as…
13th Round (379): Brandon White, RHP — A fifth-year senior, this Brandon White has the honor of being the first ever player selected from Davenport University in Grand Rapids, Michigan. Three more of his teammates also got drafted after him, including Corbin Clouse, who went in the 27th round to the Braves. This Brandon White was a starter in college, with a low-90s fastball, as well as good size and athleticism.
14th Round (409): Ramon Osuna, 1B — Completing a nearly annual tradition, the Braves select Osuna out of Walters State Community College… after all, the school’s head coach is an associate scout for the Braves. At 6-foot-3, 240 pounds, Osuna has a big, strong frame which results in good in-game power. He has also hit for a high average, though power and/or hitting prowess don’t always translate well from the JuCo ranks to the pros. The Braves have drafted plenty of players with his pedigree who didn’t go anywhere.
15th Round (439): Zach Becherer, RHP — A JuCo sophomore out of Rend Lake College in Illinois, Becherer had Tommy John surgery in mid-April. At 6-foot-4 he has a good pitcher’s frame, and was apparently moving towards being a possible helium pick before the injury. The Braves have reportedly signed him to an over-slot bonus of $275,000. So he must be very highly thought of, despite being just a sophomore and recently undergoing TJ surgery.
16th Round (469): Josh Anthony, 3B @mlbjaye — A JuCo standout from Western Oklahoma State College (the same school that produced Andrelton Simmons and Braves’ 2015 15th-rounder Justin Ellison), Anthony is also a local product from Columbus, Georgia. He grew up a Braves fan, with Chipper Jones as his favorite player. He put up some video game numbers the past two years, combining to hit .444 with 25 home runs and 49 stolen bases, and really came on this year, hitting 20 home runs. He’s committed to Auburn, and also plays catcher. The Braves will likely have to go over-slot to sign him.
17th Round (499): Devan Watts, RHP @d_watts7 — A junior reliever from a small private college in Tennessee, there’s not much scouting info out there about him. He may be a bit undersized at 6-foot, but Atlanta has a good track record of plucking relievers out of these middle round picks.
18th Round (529): Zachary Rice, LHP @zrice45 — A junior from UNC Chapel Hill, Rice is an interesting selection. A reliever throughout his college career, he only threw 3.2 innings this year, allowing half of the 22 batters to reach base. At some point during the spring he was dropped from the UNC roster. While he has significant control issues to overcome, he throws a low-90s fastball and a plus slider with a deceptive delivery.
19th Round (559): Tucker Davidson, LHP @tucktuck6 — A JuCo lefty from Midland College in Texas, Davidson is committed to play at NC State next year, but the Braves have other plans. He worked mainly as a starter, and has good control with a plus slider.
20th Round (589): Gabe Howell, 2B @howellgabe — A high school player from Trion, Georgia, north of Rome, the well-built two-sport athlete was thought to have the potential to get drafted in the first ten rounds. He’s athletic enough and quick enough that some scouts see a good-hitting middle infielder in him. His defense apparently needs work, but the Braves will move him from shortstop to second where that will be less of a liability. This quote from his mom might just be the highlight of the draft:
“It was like a movie at Mount Paran when he took batting practice in front of all 30 teams,” Lori Howell said, pausing for a second to relish the moment one more time. “He almost hit Chipper Jones’ truck with his homer.”