Its MLB draft season and with it comes a sea of mock drafts. There are a few things to note with them before you start shouting about who the Braves may or may not pick. One is that outside of the first six picks or so, it is particularly hard to project picks in baseball because present day MLB roster need has little to no bearing on the choices being made. These guys are not going to being playing in the majors next year like it is in football or basketball, so it is far more likely that a team will take the best player available, let them develop in the minors, and worry about the roster choices they will have to make down the road.
Two is that it is particularly difficult to be accurate with mock drafts this early in the process especially for the team picking in the bottom half of the first round like the Braves. Data is really weird coming off the COVID-19 layoff, there is a break now after the season so there are going to be more private workouts, etc. so things are going to change a bunch. The upside is that because teams could feasibly show more one-on-one interest with players, we could get some good information closer to the draft.
With that said, we do have a mock draft from the fine folks at MLB Pipeline, so lets take a look.
This mock continues the time honored Braves mock draft tradition of when in doubt, go with the kid from Georgia and, for a while, that was pretty instructive as the Braves do remain active in their backyard when it comes to the draft albeit less so in recent years on day one of the draft. Bubba Chandler was the pick for Pipeline and he is a two-way talent out of North Oconee High School although it seems like its more likely he ends up as a pitcher. He currently features a fastball in the low-90’s and a nice breaking ball that looks like a future plus pitch. He also plays shortstop and is a switch-hitter with a bit of power.
One thing to note about Chandler is that while he is ranked higher by both Pipeline and Baseball America than where the Braves will be drafting, one thing that could push him down is his football commitment as a quarterback to Clemson. On the one hand, this could work out well for the Braves as they could get a talent available to them later than they maybe should. However, that college commitment could also mean that Chandler would be very tough to sign as a first round pick for Atlanta at all especially with so many other teams having a larger bonus pool than them.