Like we do every year around this time, Talking Chop will bring you all the stories we can find that are of interest about the players drafted by the Atlanta Braves. These are often stories from local papers, but those are the folks who know these players the best.
On the left side of the main page of TC we'll keep up with which drafted players have been signed. They'll be added once we see a report that they have officially signed, or a report that says something about them not returning to school or agreeing to a dollar figure with the team, etc. The Braves won't release an official signed list for weeks, so we have to infer, but that has historically been pretty accurate. Four names have been added to that list thus far.
Below are links to local stories about each player, with a clipped passage from the article (draft round listed in parenthesis):
Lucas Sims (1): For newest Atlanta Brave, childhood dream comes true | 11alive.com (with video)
Sims' family knew one thing: after several years of being scouted and profiled on various web sites, their 18-year-old pitcher would almost definitely be selected early in Monday's draft. When the Braves became on the clock in the first round, Sims' ears perked up. "I paid a little extra attention and my heart started going a bit," he says. "The five minutes they were on the clock, I was just sitting there, really wanting the Braves to pick me."
Alex Wood (2): Braves pick UGA's Wood in second round | Online Athens
The new-look draft economics for might have impacted Wood’s selection by the Braves. Teams have a cap on the amount of money they can spend on bonuses for the first 10 rounds. Wood said that the Braves were willing to go above slot value to sign him. According to Baseball America , the bonus slot for the No. 85 pick is $583,300. "Once I didn’t go yesterday, the Braves had saved some money," Wood said. "We ended up calling several teams and telling them that we needed X-amount of money because the Braves were going to give me above slot and we ended up making it there. I know they really wanted me and I can’t be more excited right now for sure."
Many more after the jump:
Justin Black (4): Husker baseball recruit to go pro
Black, a center fielder from Billings (Mont.) West High School, was chosen in the fourth round of the draft by the Braves. "When they called, my mom answered and started crying, then I got on the phone and I started crying and we were all hugging and excited," said Black. Black’s father, Bo, said his son will sign for about $300,000 and the cost of a college education.
Blake Brown (5): West grad Brown drafted by Braves : Pantagraph.com | Central Illinois
The 179th pick overall, the 20-year-old Brown said he will sign with the Braves and forego his final season at Missouri. "They saw potential and tools that could be used in the future," Brown said. "They said I had a lot of room to keep growing. "I want to just keep learning and letting the natural ability take over … not pushing too hard and getting in my own way."
Josh Elander (6): Two Frogs Taken On Day Two Of MLB Draft - Texas Christian University Horned Frogs - Official Athletic Site
Elander was the 209th overall pick by the Atlanta Braves on Tuesday. The junior catcher from Round Rock was recently named to the College Station Regional all-tournament team. He leads the team with 10 home runs this season and has tallied 42 RBIs. The only Frog to have started all 60 games this season, Elander is hitting .316 with a .521 slugging percentage and a .442 on-base percentage. On the bases, Elander leads the team with 14 stolen bases in 21 attempts.
David Starn (7): No. 13 Kent State Baseball’s Starn Selected In Seventh Round of 2012 MLB First-Year Player Draft By Atlanta Braves: Kent State University Athletics
A former walk-on, Starn has blossomed into a Louisville Slugger Second Team All-America pick and Kent State's career leader in pitching victories (28) strikeouts (338) and innings pitched (329.0). Starn became the second straight Kent State arm to earn Mid-American Conference Pitcher of the Year recognition, 10th in program history and fourth under the tutelage of Birkbeck in 2012. He ranks as the conference's top pitcher with a league-best 2.01 ERA and 118 strikeouts – the most in a single season in Kent State history - to go along with a 10-3 record on the hill. In conference action, Starn was 5-1 with a 2.21 ERA and 74 strikeouts against just 18 walks.
Recordpub.com - Atlanta Braves draft Kent State pitcher David Starn
Birkbeck said Starn reminds him of a left-handed version of former KSU star Andy Sonnanstine, who pitched for the Tampa Bay Rays from 2007-2011. “He is productive and he is funky enough that he makes hitters uncomfortable,” said Birkbeck. “And he is a strike thrower with very good college command of four pitches.” “It’s the one team I wanted to go to,” [Starn] said. “When they come to games, they don’t have a radar gun. They look for guys who know how to pitch. I always love how their pitchers throw. It’s the same things I’ll have to rely on, because I’m not going to overpower guys with my fastball.”
David Peterson (8): Three Cougars Picked In Top Eight Rounds Of MLB Draft - Live5News.com | Charleston, SC | News, Weather, Sports
Converted to a closer in 2012, Peterson finished the season with a team-best 10 saves which ranked third in the conference. Peterson was picked for the midseason Stopper of the Year watch list and finished with a 3.40 ERA and a 1-3 record. He struck out 40 batters this season and finished with 211 for his CofC career, ranking third all-time. Peterson moved up 41 rounds from the 2011 draft where he was picked in the 49th round by the Houston Astros. He was also drafted out of high school in 2008 by the Cincinnati Reds in the 40th round.
Steven Schils (9): Schils Selected in Ninth Round of MLB Draft by Braves - Official Site of Florida Tech Athletics
“It was an awesome experience to be drafted,” he said. “My phone has been blowing up and my family is really happy. Words can’t describe how I’m feeling right now. Going in the ninth round is a privilege and a life changing experience. I feel like I’ve worked really hard to earn this opportunity. I love to play baseball and now I have a chance to do it for a living. I’m ready to get after it. “I grew up watching the Braves and they were one of my favorite teams. It’s always been my dream to play professionally. Being selected by the Braves makes it even more special. When I transferred to Florida Tech, one of my goals was to get drafted with the help of Coach B and Coach Merc. It was an honor to play for those two and I thank them for helping me.”
Mike Dodig (10): The Daily Mail > Sports > C-GCC’S Dodig drafted by Braves
The Braves have been following Dodig Jr.’s career for a few years and decided to bring him down for a recent tryout, along with 11 other prospects — three of which were position players. "Playing on Turner Field was unbelievable," Dodig Jr. said of his experience. "It’s one thing to imagine playing there and completely another to actually do it. It was great." The Braves weren’t the only team interested in the C-GCC freshman, either. The Cincinnati Reds gave him a tryout as well, but Atlanta sprang first on Tuesday and Dodig Jr. could not be more happy with where he landed.
Nathan Hyatt (13) & Tyler Tewell (14): Braves Draft Hyatt, Tewell - Appalachian State Mountaineers | Official Athletics Site
In his only year as a closer, Hyatt set a single-season school record and fell just two shy of the program’s career record with 16 saves, which led the Southern Conference and ranked sixth nationally. The flame-throwing right-hander was 16-for-17 in save opportunities and allowed just 24 hits while striking out 29 in 27.1 innings of work. Tewell made the most of his first season as a full-time starter, finishing third in the Southern Conference with a .357 batting average to go along with 79 hits, 17 doubles and four triples (all team highs), six home runs and 45 RBI. He played 52 of his 59 games in right field for the Mountaineers this season but was drafted by the Braves to play his natural position of catcher. Hyatt and Tewell are both juniors and have the option of signing with the Braves by July 13 to begin their professional careers or returning to ASU for their senior seasons.
Braves select Wofford pitcher, former Landrum star Wilson | GoUpstate.com
"It’s really exciting," Wilson said. "Of course, I’ve always been a Braves fan." Wilson went to a workout at Turner Field only four days before Monday’s first round of the draft. "Something just felt right when I was there," Wilson said. "I was pretty nervous. It was a daunting task to go through. There were a lot of college baseball players and MLB talent evaluators. But once I was on the mound, it kind of all went away. I felt like it went pretty well."
Day three of the draft begins at noon.