The 2010 amateur draft has already been one of the most successful drafts in recent years for the Atlanta Braves, but they may not be done yet. While the Braves have signed their first 16 picks, the next player remains unsigned -- talented high school catcher Stefan Sabol. Even though he was the 524th player taken in the draft, Sabol is considered one of the top all-around athletes in the field and a top-100 pre-draft prospect.
He is signed to play baseball at the University of Oregon this year, and in the mean time he is testing his talent in the West Coast League for the Cowlitz Black Bears. Sabol joined the team last week:
"I had a break after high school to let my arm rest, but I am chomping at the bit to get some action," said Sabol, who batted .391 with 10 home runs, 24 RBIs and stole 16 bases as a senior at Aliso Niguel, leading his team to the South Coast League title. "The Braves are going to come up and watch me as a summer draft-and-follow player. If I don't end up signing with them, I'll go to UO and be very happy with that."
So far in seven games Sabol is 9-for-24 with a slash line of .375/.444/.667. Their season runs through early August, so there's plenty of time for him to get into more games and for the Braves to get a good look at him before the signing deadline on August 16th.
Sabol fell to the 17th-round of the draft because of concerns that his defense is not good enough for him to remain behind the plate in the pros. The Braves took him as a catcher, so they may be willing to give him a chance there, at least until his bat proves to be enough for a corner outfield spot.
The potential with Sabol is very high, and the Braves would be making a wise choice if they were to dig into their coffers and give him a six-figure bonus. There is certainly a lot to be excited about with this young kid. I, for one, am hoping that the two sides can get a deal done. In the mean time I'll be bookmarking this page and checking it often.