With the 21st overall pick in the first round of the Major League Baseball First Year Player Draft, the Atlanta Braves select right-handed pitcher Lucas Sims from Brookwood High School in Snellville, Georgia. The Braves get back to drafting players from their home state, and they got a good one, a true power arm who can touch 97, and routinely sits around 91-93.
Sims is a Braves fan, whose favorite player growing up was John Smoltz. Atlanta scouts its own backyard better than anyone, and Sims is one of the top prep players in the state, and one of the best high school pitchers in the draft.
Here is what Baseball America said about Sims when they ranked him the 29th-best prospect in the draft:
Sims has been a factor in this draft class since being invited to USA Baseball's 16U trials in 2010, and he pitched last summer in the Prospect Classic for the 18U team, tossing a scoreless inning against the Collegiate National Team. Sims has been the most consistent high school pitcher in Georgia this spring, pushing him up toward the back of the first round. He has a fairly clean arm action and no obvious or significant mechanical issues. Sims consistently flashed three plus pitches this spring, including a fastball that has touched 97 mph at times and generally sits in the 90-93 mph range. He struggles at times to finish his pitches out front, causing him to leave his stuff up in the zone. Sims throws his slider with power in the low 80s, and at times it has good depth as well. He has the ability to spin a breaking ball, and he's shown a solid curveball as well that's about 10 mph slower than his slider. A Clemson recruit, Sims figures to squeeze into the back of the first round thanks to his present stuff and track record.
This is a great pick for the Braves, who get back to drafting local talent, and high-upside high school arms. As they keep saying on the draft show, you can't teach 97mph. I was hoping the Braves would select a power arm like this, and they cooperated.
Congratulations to Luke Sims, welcome to the Braves. You can follow Sims on Twitter @LSims_.
Video of Sims from last year's Perfect Game All-America Classic: