Atlanta Braves Select Sean Gilmartin With The First Pick In The 2011 MLB Draft

With their first overall pick in the 2011 MLB Draft the Atlanta Braves have selected Florida State left-handed pitcher Sean Gilmartin. The Braves make him the 28th overall selection.

This is a safe pick by the Braves, but a pitcher who could move quickly with his refined approach, much like Mike Minor. Many of the high school pitchers the Braves were eying had already been selected by the time Atlanta selected. Below is what the experts had to say about Gilmartin:

Baseball America, ranked him 48th overall in the draft:

Gilmartin isn't flashy, but his total package should take him off the board in the first 50 picks as one of the draft's safest selections. A two-way talent out of a California high school, he attended a camp at Florida State and wound up being one of the Seminoles' rare cross-country recruits. He has pitched on Fridays for three seasons and helped lead Florida State to the College World Series last season, though he struggled putting hitters away in the second half of the season and last summer with USA Baseball's college national team. Gilmartin has improved significantly in the last year and become a scouts' darling with his combination of good size (6-foot-2, 192 pounds), clean arm action and solid athleticism. He has pushed his fastball into the average velocity range at 88-91 mph, his changeup remains a plus pitch and his slider has improved to average. Gilmartin knows how to use his stuff, particularly his changeup, how to set up hitters and how to keep them off-balance. His 10-1, 1.35 season includes four double-digit strikeout efforts. Scouts compare Gilmartin favorably to Vanderbilt southpaw Mike Minor, who went seventh overall to the Braves in 2009 and reached the majors a season later.

Keith Law of ESPN, who ranked Gilmartin 71st:

Gilmartin's a college performer with adequate stuff but who may need to find another gear to be more than a fourth or fifth starter in the big leagues.

He'll pitch with a fringe-average fastball, mostly 88-89 but touching a 91, and has a big, slow curveball that might work against lefties but wouldn't be a weapon against better right-handed batters. His best pitch is his changeup, 76-78 mph with good arm speed and some late fading action, although he uses it a lot and I'd like to see him pitch more off his fastball. He's a good athlete who can even swing the bat a little bit. He stays over the rubber well and pronates his arm very early after showing the ball to the center fielder.

This is what I thought Mike Minor was in college -- a command lefty with a good changeup but an average fastball and no plus breaking ball. Minor added some muscle after signing and upped his velocity, at least temporarily, and I suppose Gilmartin could do the same.

A safe pick by the Braves, clearly, and a player who should sign for slot and sign quickly. As far as a strategy of getting the best available player on the board, Gilmartin was likely not the best guy out there. If this was a money thing, then there were other more projectable players who would have been easy to sign. The Braves must have a feeling about Gilmartin, that they can get him in their system and mold him into a higher ceiling talent, (again) much like they did with Minor. It continues a string of safe drafts for the Braves, with Lipka and Minor both safe and easily signable players.

In addition to the Mike Minor comps for Gilmartin, there have also been a lot of Tom Glavine comps. Tony DeMacio, the Braves scouting director who runs the Atlanta draft room, was the scout who originally signed Glavine way back in 1984. So he could be trying to rekindle some of that magic.

The larger strategy here could be that by drafting a guy like Gilmartin, who should move quickly to the Majors in the next couple of years, the Braves signal that they may be willing to trade some of their current stock of pitching talent. One thing is for certain, they're building quite a stable of young arms -- several staffs worth.

The Braves will not pick again until late in the second round, which begins Tuesday at noon.

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