Day two at the 2011 MLB First Year Player Draft saw the Atlanta Braves pick nothing but college players through their first ten picks. Atlanta went with a combination of refined and raw college talent, all of whom have plenty of projectability left in them. The organization focused on toolsy players with speed, as well as refined power bats. It seems like a good mix of talent, and a strong front ten.
Here is a pick by pick overview with scouting reports.
Nick Ahmed, SS - 2nd Round
Selected 85th overall, and ranked 79th by Baseball America, Ahmed is a polished college shortstop whose draft stock benefited from the plethora of scouts in attendance at UConn games to see his teammates, George Springer and Matt Barnes, who both went in the first round. His main tools are his speed and his glove, and he could be a legit stolen base threat in the pros. He will have to work to hit for average at higher levels.
I'm not sure where the Braves can put another shortstop in their system, so they may have other position plans for Ahmed. (He also throws 94mph on the mound.) He represents the Braves desire to add more speed to their system. He played on the Bourne Braves in the Cape Cod League with fellow Atlanta Braves draftees Cody Martin (7th) and Tommy La Stella (8th).
Kyle Kubitza, 3B - 3rd Round
This is one of those "Braves picks," that will probably baffle some people as to why they selected him this high. He was ranked as the 28th-best prospect in Texas, and unranked nationally. He is a patient hitter with power, but with inconsistent swing mechanics. For a college hitter he will likely take some time to develop as a hitter, and even more time to refine his defense, though he has the arm strength and athleticism to stay at third base.
Projected as more of a seventh round selection, the Braves must have just loved this kid to have taken him so high. Of course a high selection like this may have been necessary to lure him away from his senior season at Texas State. He seems to have the room to add muscle as well. @Kubbyk3009
J.R. Graham, RHP - 4th Round
Ranked as the 72nd best draft prospect by Keith Law, one spot behind the Braves first rounder, Sean Gilmartin. Baseball America had him lower at 120, but this is still a great value pick as the 146th overall selection. He has an explosive mid-90s fastball (that can reach to 100mph), as well as a workout regimen that has impressed scouts, but for a college player his pitchability is raw and will need to be molded.
Thankfully, the Braves are quite adept at taking raw talent like his and turning it into a quality arm on the mound. Think of him as the opposite of Gilmartin -- a less refined pitcher with more raw ability. Think of him as more refined David Hale. He may be given a chance to start, but may ultimately wind up in the bullpen as a power reliever.
Nick DeSantiago, C - 5th Round
Ranked as the 102nd-best player in Texas by BA, this JuCo catcher is another raw toolsy product. He has a good bat with lots of projectabiltiy left in it, and a strong arm, but his receiving skills are unrefined. Luckily for him the Braves excel at developing catchers. Same body type as a young Johnny Estrada.
Mark Lamm, RHP - 6th Round
Lamm was ranked as the 17th-best prospect in Tennessee. A fifth-year senior who had Tommy John surgery in 2010 (so that's out of the way). He went to the bullpen his senior year, and performed well as the setup man for Vanderbilt. He is a polished college arm from a school the Braves have gotten to know pretty well the last few years. His nickname is "Cowboy." @MarkLamm44
Cody Martin, RHP - 7th Round
A reliever his senior year at Gonzaga, Martin was drafted in the 20th round last year by the Twins and did not sign. He dominated out of the pen with a mid-90s fastball mixed with a mid-80s slider, as well as a curve and change. The Braves may push him back into the starting rotation, but could move him quickly if they keep him in the pen. He profiles as a Major League setup reliever with good durability. His father, Charles, was a pitcher in the minor leagues for the Braves from 1984 to 85.
Thomas La Stella, 2B - 8th Round
Described as a bat-only player who will wind up in left field. Good patience at the plate mixed with excellent raw power. He held his own in the Cape Cod League last summer and should adapt well to the wood bats. His patient approach at the plate will serve him well.
Chase Larsson, OF - 9th Round
A bigger, more imposing force than La Stella, but a similar profile as a patient power hitter. He hit an impressive 29 home runs, leading NCAA Division II in homers, RIBs, total bases, and slugging. More walks than strikeouts hint at a good approach, but he's one of those rolls of the dice as to whether his bat will translate to the professional level, though he seems to have power to spare. He was named the 2011 Tino Martinez D2 Player of the Year. The award is presented to the most outstanding player in DII college baseball. This Oklahoma College product originally hails from Vancouver, Canada, and is nicknamed the "Canadian Clipper."
Logan Robbins, SS - 10th Round
An above average athlete with exceptional speed and a strong throwing arm, his bat will be a project for the Braves. Expect him to move slow, but the Braves should be a good fit for him, as he profiles a bit like Andrelton Simmons from last year's draft, though a notch below in most categories, except speed.
The rest of the picks from the first day will be posted later. And yes, the Braves finally took a high school player.