So let's take a quick look at the Atlanta Braves recent draft history. Now I am no draft history buff, so bear with me on my very brief summaries. At the ends lets ponder a few things.
2009 - With the first pick, the Braves select Mike Minor, who most would agree was a "safe" pick projectable as a no.3 starter. David Hale may be a decent start or bullpen help. Mycal Jones seemed like a reach, as the Braves need middle infield depth and speed. (RSF was fun to check box scores on though, always had 2 hits it seems). This draft is tough to talk about because it’s so recent.
2008 – The Braves lost their first round draft pick (18th overall) for signing Tom Glavine (whom they released). The top 3 picks are in development, Craig Kimbrel is a K artist (and BB artist right now), Milligan may be solid but we haven’t seen solid development from much of this draft. It’s still too early to tell. Best possible player to come out of this draft? Possibly Craig Kimbrel.
2007 – Jason Heyward was a money pick for the 1st round. For some reason he fell to pick #14 and was an easy decision for the organization. Jon Gilmore was traded. Freddie Freeman, from the 4th round, projects to be a solid 1B for the Braves. (Milligan and Kimbrel both drafted but neither signed this draft). Best possible player to come out? Easy, Heyward.
2006 – 3 early picks, Cody Johnson, Cory Rasmus and Stephen Everts. Cody can maul but will he be a mainstay in the majors? Locke was traded, Kris Medlen was drafted in the 10th, Cole Rohrbough in the 22nd. Best possibly player to come out? Right now Kris Medlen.
2005 – Joey Devine (who we’ll always remember) and Beau Jones (shipped as part of Teixeira deal) were the first picks. Yunel Escober was a 2nd round pick, awesome. Jordan Schafer in the 3rd round and then Mr. Tommy Hanson in the 22nd. Best possible player? I’ll just say Hanson/Escobar, tied at the moment.
2004 – No first round pick this season. Eric Campbell was our 2nd round pick. Parr, Pope and Owings drafted this draft. Best possible player? No idea… (but after Campbell was picked at the end of rd. 2, rd 3 contained Wade Davis, Adam Lind and J.A. Happ.
2003 – Two Catchers drafted early on, Luis Atilano and Saltalamacchia (Adam Jones was taken right after Salty). Jo-Jo Reyes was drafted in the 2nd round (the player who makes me the most uneasy when in the game). Salty and Matt Harrison were traded for Teixeira. Best possible player for the Braves? Sadly, Jo-Jo Reyes
It seems like in the last 4 drafts, the Braves haven't done that well. Maybe things will change with a new Scouting Director and the end of Draft and Follow in 2007, but it seems as if the last few drafts didn't fill our minor leagues with a ton of talent. Outside of an easy pick in Heyward and Kris Medlen (a current reliever), the Braves do not seem to have a great draft strategy. 2005 had a great draft (we'll take 2 major leaguers every draft), 2004 was really bad and 2003 doesn't look very good as well.
I know there is a lot of talent in the organization, don't go crazy on me. But the best of it seems to be from international signings versus the draft (ex. Teheran, Vizcaino in trade, Bethancourt, Delgado). It also seems to me that the Braves need to take keeping the first round pick more seriously.
Do you think the Braves have been drafting well or have a solid draft strategy for the present day? If you took away international signings do you see the Braves as having a deep minor league system? Do you see the Braves failing with MI depth and speed? Any suggestions?