There were some groans from Atlanta Braves fans when the Baltimore Orioles signed Mike Gonzalez earlier this week. Groans because that was our last chance to get a first round draft pick in 2010. The Orioles first-round pick is protected, which means we get their second-round pick (along with a supplemental first round pick). This may not be such a bad thing, though.
As it stands now, the Braves will have three of the top-75 picks in next June's draft. We will get the 35th pick (compensation in the supplemental first round for Gonzalez), the 56th pick (the Orioles 2nd round pick as compensation for Gonzalez), and the 72nd pick (our standard 2nd round pick). All of this is assuming we don't sign any more type-A free agents, in which case we would also forfeit our second-round pick (73 overall).
We had similar picks in 2008 when we took a trio of strong young pitchers -- Brett DeVall, Tyler Stovall, and Zeke Spruill -- two of whom are considered by many to be two of our top-10 prospects. While first round picks are coveted, the Braves have done well with their second round picks. Players such as Freddie Freeman, Jeff Locke, Yunel Escobar, Jo-Jo Reyes, and Brian McCann were all second round picks by the Braves in the last decade. The Braves have actually done a better job of holding onto their second round picks of the last decade than their first round picks.
The point is that there is a lot of talent in the second round of the draft and the Braves will be able to take full advantage of that. By not having a first rounder, they also free up draft money to possibly take some chances and pay some above slot bonuses to guys in the lower rounds who were projected to go higher but didn't. The Braves have generally had good luck with these types of players in the past.
It would have been nice to have two more picks had Rafael Soriano not accepted arbitration, but we're still in good shape for next year's draft.