After drafting high school slugger Braxton Davidson in the first round last night, the Braves kicked off the second day of the Rule IV draft by returning to the organization's strengths. The third, fourth, and fifth rounds of the draft all saw Atlanta grabbing college pitchers. Here's a look at who they tabbed.
Third Round, 102nd Overall: Max Povse, RHP, UNC-Greensboro
With their third pick of the draft, Atlanta dipped into the college ranks for the first time, grabbing UNC-Greensboro's Max Povse. Povse is an utter giant, weighing in at 6'8" and 210 pounds. This gives him an imposing mound presence and a surprising amount of projectability for a college starter. His heater sits in the lower-to-mid 90s with a decent amount of sink, and he also offers a slider that will need refining within the system. But with his build, this is the kind of pick you can dream on.
Here's what MLB.com had to say about Povse
At 6-foot-8, 220 pounds, Povse is the type of tall, projectable pitcher that teams always love to have in their system. His fastball will sit at 91-93 mph, touching 95, though it comes in straight too often, especially when he elevates the pitch. Povse’s best secondary pitch is his slider, which has good depth and velocity to it but needs to be tightened up in pro ball. He also throws a changeup and has shown decent feel for it, but he will definitely need more reps with the pitch at the next level. If Povse’s secondary stuff can develop into at least average pitches, his size and velocity alone could make him an interesting player to watch moving forward.
Fourth Round, 133rd Overall: Chad Sobotka, RHP, USC-Upstate
Atlanta stayed in the Carolinas for their fourth selection, grabbing another college righty: this time it was Chad Sobotka out of South Carolina-Upstate. Sobotka was a bit of a wildcard after missing all of this year with a stress fracture in his back. Many experts believe he would have been a first or second rounder had it not been for the injury. Should he be able to make a full recovery to starting (and the Braves obviously believe that he can) Sobotka could end up being one of the best value picks in this draft.
Like Povse, Sobotka is huge, measuring in at 6'7" and 200 pounds. His heater is his main calling card, as his fastball sits around 94 and can touch as high as 96. He throws from a high arm slot as well, giving his pitches a considerable amount of downward plane. He's got a slider and a changeup that could both be average pitches, should they continue to develop.
Here's what MLB.com had to say:
Though he has missed the entire season with a stress fracture in his back, Sobotka still should become the first South Carolina-Upstate player ever drafted above the 15th round. Had he been healthy and proven that he could make the move from reliever to starter, he might have gone in the first two rounds.
Coming out of the bullpen for the Spartans and in the Cape Cod League, Sobotka dealt 92-94 mph fastballs that reached 96. His heater is more notable for its downhill plane -- he's 6-foot-6 and uses a high three-quarter arm slot -- than its life or his command of the offering. Sobotka does have enough in his arsenal to start, as he flashes a low-80s slider with some bite and a deceptive changeup.
He'll have to do better job of repeating his delivery and locating his pitches, and he'll have to prove he can hold up in that role. If not, he still could be an effective late-inning weapon out of the bullpen.
Baseball America also added this on Sobotka:
Righthander Chad Sobotka showed premium arm strength and mid-90s velocity last summer in the Cape Cod League but missed the entire season with a back injury at USC-Upstate. He did get back on the mound in late May and threw several bullpens and workouts for area scouts, and the Braves saw enough to take him with pick No. 133—right around where he ranked on the BA 500 (No. 115).
Fifth Round, 163rd Overall: Chris Diaz, LHP, Miami
The Braves kept with southern college pitching in the fifth, grabbing Miami's Chris Diaz. Diaz was the co-ACC pitcher of the year this past year, and honor that he shared with UVA hurler Nathan Kirby. Diaz reminds me a bit of the Sean Gilmartin selection. He's a pitchability lefty with a chance to move quickly through the system. His primary offering is his 90mph sinker, which he compliments with a slider and a changeup, all of which he can throw for strikes. All three of these offering have the potential to be average major league pitches. There's not a ton of upside here, but that's ok, Diaz is a very solid selection in the fifth, especially given the three high-ceiling arms the Braves nabbed before him. Baseball America tabbed him as the 126th best draft prospect nationally.
After going undrafted out of high school, Diaz broke out during his sophomore year at Miami. He became the Hurricanes ace and earned a spot on the U.S. national team last summer. Diaz primarily relies on his sinker, which sits around 90 mph with heavy life. He mixes in a slurvy slider and a changeup. He throws a lot of strikes and comes right after hitters with his fastball. Diaz pitched out of the bullpen with the national team and could move quickly in the Minor Leagues if he returned there. But with his feel for pitching and three offerings that have a chance to be at least average, he could develop into a Major League starter.