Braves 18th-Round Pick Zach Alvord Weighs Options

A great article by a local news outlet about the only player the Braves drafted from Georgia, high school second baseman Zach Alvord. With talent that put him in the top-200 draft prospects, Alvord was not taken until the 18th-round by Atlanta, who want the opportunity to convince the powerful prospect to forgo a commitment to Auburn and sign with the Braves.

Some choice quotes from the article which is definitely worth reading:

John Alvord said that due to Zach’s guaranteed opportunity to play at Auburn, he had requested an unspecified signing bonus which his father described as "high."

"He was in a position that teams are going to have to buy him out of that college offer. That was by design by us. If he’s going to miss college ... he’s going to have to be paid for it," John Alvord said.

"We turned down several generous second round offers," the father added [...]

"At this point it’s completely up in the air. ... I’ve always watched the Braves and I’ve always watched Chipper. .. I might get the chance to go to the Braves and fill [an infield slot] ... It’s definitely a great opportunity," the younger Alvord said.

Zach (39 career home runs at South Forsyth) was the only one of 36 prospects to hit a home run in each round of batting practice at Turner Field during a private workout shortly before the draft, raising the possibility that Atlanta would spend an early pick on him.

His "signability" was not in the Braves plans for an early draft pick, but by wrapping up a bunch of early draft picks who are signable to reasonable slot-based bonuses the Braves may have some extra cash to spend on a prospect like Alvord. This kid has been compared to Gordon Beckham and Dustin Pedroia, and while those are obviously perfect world comparisons, the opportunity for Atlanta to go from no middle infield prospects to two the likes of Matt Lipka (their first-round selection this year) and Alvord and have them develop together as the double-play combination of the future is a very intriguing prospect.

If ever the Braves had extra draft cash laying around, it would be this year, when they don't have a true first-round pick. In comparison to bonuses paid out in recent years, Lipka was a bargain. That makes me wonder if Alvord is asking for more than Lipka got.

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