Don’t ask me why, but you’re about to get a recap of just about everyone the Braves have drafted this year. Seriously, I have a baseball problem. Anyhoo, I’ll present it in several segments which I hope make sense. The first segment consists of selections from rounds seven through fifteen. These are picks that most teams, Braves included, try to get 100 percent signed. The other segments will be presented over the weekend along with some more thoughts from the draft (and boy do I have some thoughts about this year’s draft).
The first, most interesting thought that came to me last night is that with the absence of having to pay first round money, since we don’t have a first-round pick, the Braves have a lot of extra cash to spend on some prospects further down the draft chart. I was a little hesitant about some of the Braves’ selections yesterday because of the possible problems with signing some of these guys, but the Braves are in a better position that most teams to throw some cash at lower draft picks, who perhaps should have gone higher in the draft. Guys like fifth-rounder Jacob Thompson or 18th-rounder Michael Palazzone. If that truly is one of their draft strategies then we may come away with some spectacular talents from much deeper in the draft this year. This could also be another reason for so many Junior College selections. Players that would usually go on to a major university for a year or two to raise their draft standing may instead opt for the extra cash the Braves may be able to offer and jump to the pros now.
Here are the Braves selections and what I was able to find out about them (rounds 7-15):
Paul Clemens (7), OF/RHP – Ranked as the 31st best prospect in North Carolina by Baseball America. Clemens is an overpowering and very aggressive pitcher with a fastball in the mid to low 90s which he complements with a developing changeup and curve ball. He was drafted last year by the Giants in the 36th round, but did not sign.
Brett Oberholtzer (8), LHP – Ranked as the 22nd best prospect in Florida by Baseball America, he is considered the top JuCo lefty in the state with a three-pitch arsenal. His fastball can reach 90 mph with movement and he complements it with an advanced changeup and what has been described as a “knockout slider.” He was selected last year by the Mariners in the 47th round.
Kyle Farrell (9), RHP – Baseball America ranked him as the 6th best prospect in Nevada, and he is the second player the Braves have taken in this draft from Nevada (the other being fourth-rounder Braeden Schlehuber), but he won’t be the last. He’s another risky pick for the Braves since he’s only a freshman, but he already has a plus power spike curveball and a good fastball that he can throw in the lower 90s. If the Braves can’t sway him he may choose to return to school to try and raise his draft standing for next year. Farrell is a teammate of Colby Shreve, who we drafted in the eighth round last year, but did not sign.
James Hoover (10), RHP – This Community College prospect also goes by J.J. Hoover. He was ranked as the 10th best prospect in Alabama, and so far he is the third prospect we’ve drafted this year out of that state. He is a four-pitch right-hander mixing a low to mid-90s fastball with a slider, curve ball, and changeup. His impressive arsenal of improving pitches makes him a strikeout pitcher.
Richard Sullivan (11), LHP – Another potential steal in this draft, Sullivan doesn’t get the exposure that most pitchers of his caliber would while pitching for SCAD. He throws with an unorthodox delivery and can run his fastball up in the low 90s. He also combines a developing changeup with a plus curveball.
Ross Francis (12), RHP – He also goes by David Francis, and is a teammate of sixth-round draftee Adam Milligan. Francis was ranked as the 21st best prospect in the state of Tennessee by Baseball America.
Travis Adair (13), SS – Yet another Community College prospect out of Tennessee. He was ranked 46th in the state by Baseball America.
Jason Hanson (14), 3B – He is an unranked kid from Sabino High School in Arizona. An interesting pick in that he is a high school kid that doesn't seem to be on Baseball America's radar.
William Hiller (15), OF – Yet another Community College prospect, this time out of Texas. And yet another interesting pick, in that he is unranked in Texas out of 115 players.
Tomorrow I'll throw out some blurbs about picks from rounds 16 through 30.