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Recapping and grading the Atlanta Braves 2017 MLB Draft

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With the draft now over here is a look at who the Braves took, how good each pick was, and how likely they are to sign.

Before we get into the Braves draft, I wanted to congratulate Braves Hall of Famer Tom Glavine and his wife Chris, as their son Peyton was drafted in the 37th round by the Angels.

The first 10 picks have been covered already, so I’ve linked articles with more information and chosen to keep it short with them other than their grades and signing chances. Rounds 11-40 are new today and haven’t been covered yet, so I will provide as much as I can on those players.

1.Kyle Wright, RHP, Vanderbilt

You can read more on Wright here and here. Wright was the best player in the draft other than Hunter Greene and a slam dunk best available player at fifth overall.

Grade: A+

Will He Sign? Yes. You don't take a guy at five and not sign him.

2.Drew Waters, OF, Georgia HS

You can read more on Waters here. Waters is a five tool guy with a lot of 55/60 grades on his scouting report. He may not have been the highest rated player on my board at the time, but it's hard not to like this pick.

Grade: A

Will He Sign? Yes. There is a reason the Braves went so heavy on senior signs.

3.Freddy Tarnok, RHP, Florida HS

You can read more on Tarnok here. He was a very late riser as a recent convert to pitching but the upside is immense.

Grade: A

Will He Sign? Most likely. It would be a surprise if not.

4.Troy Bacon, RHP, Florida JUCO

You can read more on Bacon here and here. I was under the impression that he was a one pitch reliever, but other reports seem to signal that he's got a better arsenal. He's got huge velocity and at the very least is a potential middle reliever.

Grade: B/B+

Will He Sign? Probably. Guys taken in the Top 10 rounds rarely fail to sign.

5.Bruce Zimmermann, LHP, Mount Olive

You can read more on Zimmermann here and here. This is the first senior sign and he put up big numbers against lesser competition, though he didn't do well to start his career at Towson. He likely projects as a reliever.

Grade: C+

Will He Sign? Yes. You do not draft a senior sign in the Top 10 rounds without a pre-arranged deal.

6.Jordan Rodgers, 3B, Tennessee

You can read more on Rodgers here. Rodgers is versatile defender who plays a strong third base and has some power. Not bad for a senior sign.

Grade: A

Will He Sign? Yes. You do not draft a senior sign in the Top 10 rounds without a pre-arranged deal.

7.Landon Hughes, RHP, Georgia Southern

You can read more on Hughes here. Hughes put up big strikeout numbers as a reliever for GSU, and has the stuff and frame to match those numbers. Another promising senior sign.

Grade: B+

Will He Sign? Yes. You don't draft a senior sign without a deal in place.

8.John Curtis, LHP, Lenoir-Rhyne

You can read more on Curtis here. Curtis has very good stuff but command issues are present. He's a senior sign reliever.

Grade: C

Will He Sign? Senior, first 10 rounds- Of course.

9.Riley Delgado, SS, Middle Tennessee State

You can read more on Delgado here. The slick fielder with some contact ability reminds me of Marcus Mooney a year ago.

Grade: B+

Will He Sign? Yes

10.Jacob Belinda, RHP, Lock Haven

You can read more on Belinda here. This pick was attributed to Gene Kerns, the late scout who worked this area. Belinda is a senior sign reliever from a small school whose stuff will play up as he moves from starting in college to the pen as a pro.

Grade: B

Will He Sign? Yes, he's a senior.

11.Drew Lugbauer, C, Michigan

The Braves top pick on day three is a versatile defender who has seen time at catcher, third, and first. He's got huge, possibly 70 grade power from the left side, but comes with some questions about his hit tool and swing and miss. He's not really an ideal defender at catcher or third, but if he can hit enough the power is real. I like this pick and the reason for the split grade is because if the Braves had more money than I expected I would only grade it a B, but if they were really as tight as believed I would give it the higher B+.

Grade: B/B+

Will He Sign? Yes. He was mostly taken here with a framework of a deal already in place.

12.Hagen Owenby, C, East Tennessee State

Owenby is a very powerful catcher with strong numbers. He was a guy I’ve had on the radar for two years as an under-rated bat at a premium position. The defense is a question mark, but the power is intriguing.

Grade: B+

Will He Sign: Most likely.

13.Connor Simmons, LHP, Georgia Southern

Simmons is a lefty reliever with the stuff to rack up strikeouts, but he also comes with command issues.

Grade: B

Will He Sign? Most likely. The Braves don't let guys in rounds 11-15 go easily.

14.Keith Weisenberg, RHP, Stanford

The Stanford pitcher looks like a pure reliever because despite quality stuff, he's got real command concerns. Weisenberg had some past success as a starter but really struggled in that role in 2016. He saw his command tick up in relief this year though.

Grade: C

Will He Sign? Very likely.

15.Austin Bush, 1B, UC Santa Barbara

Austin Bush is a massive 6’6” 235 pound kid with huge plus power and a ton of swing and miss after 119 strikeouts in the last two years. He's limited to first base and fills the Braves quota of powerful and productive college first basemen for this year(Osuna, Lee last year). There are some red flags, but you can't teach this kind of power.

Grade: B+

Will He Sign? Probably

16.Gary “Garrison” Schwartz, OF, Grand Canyon

Schwartz is a productive college outfielder with good on base skills and plenty of pop in his bat- though that power manifests itself more in the form of doubles than home runs. Schwartz does strike out a little more than you would like, but with his power and on base skills you can live with it. The WAC Player of the Year is a capable runner with a lot of range in right field.

Grade: B

Will He Sign? Good chance he does.

17.Noah “Cutter” Dyals, RHP, North Carolina A&T State

I didn't know Dyals before the draft but he posted some crazy numbers in relief this year. I'm talking 36 IP, 0.50 ERA, 0.78 WHIP, 10.0 K/9, 1.3 BB/9, 8/1 K/BB, 23 H, 2 R. It shouldn't be a surprise that he’s known for his cutter and he's a sidearm pitcher.

Grade: B

Will He Sign? I’d say better than 75% odds that he signs.

18.Zack Soria, C, Florida International

Soria began his career at Louisville before heading to JUCO and then FIU. His numbers aren't particularly impressive, but they are solid and he is known more for his glove and arm as well as being a hard nosed team player. Soria seems more like an org guy or potential backup with a strong glove than a promising prospect.

Grade: C-

Will He Sign? Yes. Not only is he a senior but he turns 24 in October.

19.Tanner Allison, LHP/OF, Western Michigan

Allison had a chance to be drafted as a pitcher heading into the year, but barely pitched this year and instead spent the year as a hitter. He has good contact ability and plays solid corner outfield defense with a good arm, but his approach is geared more to contact than power. He may have more upside on the mound where he has big stuff, but has experienced command issues.

Grade: A

Will He Sign? I say it is about 60/40 that he signs.

20.Justin Smith, OF, Florida JUCO

Smith is an extremely toolsy prospect who has real power potential. Of course he's raw and still trying to put his whole game together- though he has made strides this year. He's also got swing and miss to his not game along with the power. This is one of the higher pure upside bats in the Braves draft class.

Grade: A

Will He Sign? I'd say 60/40 he signs since he is already a third year junior.

21.Jeffrey “Connor” Johnstone, RHP, Wake Forest

Wake Forest’s #2 starter had a breakout senior season thanks to a new cutter that he can get swings and misses with. The numbers went up as his four pitch arsenal had more success than in the past. He’s definitely interesting.

Grade: A

Will He Sign? Yes, he’s a senior.

22.Justin Morhardt, C, Bryan

Morhardt is a senior from small Bryan College. He started off at Liberty University before transferring. He posted big numbers against small competition with a .439/.551/.724 line to go with 20 doubles and 12 homers. Defense is a bit of a question mark and he has struggled against quality competition in past summer leagues. However he's got some real power and that makes him interesting.

Grade: C+

Will He Sign: Yes, he's a senior.

23.Troy Conyers, LHP, San Diego

Conyers is a big senior lefty who I think projects to the bullpen with his big stuff and command issues. However the Braves announced him as a starter. He's a former Tommy John guy and has had some past success as a starter, but greatly struggled in that role in 2016 before spending this year in the bullpen.

Grade: B+

Will He Sign? Yes, he’s a senior.

24.Jackson Lourie, RHP, Rhodes

I hadn't heard of him pre-draft, and it's easy to see why. Small college senior and former two way guy who pitched just 16.2 innings this season in relief and posted a 7.56 ERA against weak competition. It's obvious the Braves saw something with his huge pure stuff, but he seems like a work in progress- luckily the Braves have some great coaches.

Grade: D

Will He Sign? Yes, he’s a senior.

25.Jake Taylor, C, Oklahoma HS

A catcher named Jake Taylor known for his hard nosed style and leadership skills? This isn't the Major League movie and a Tom Berenger character, but a very good bat who made my pre-draft sleeper team. I like the combination of the hit tool, approach, and at least average power potential. It's hard not to like this pick.

Grade: A+

Will He Sign? That's the question. It's less than 50% considering where he was drafted and how little money the Braves likely have left. But I wouldn’t say a signing here would be completely impossible. Out of all of the prep players from here on out, I believe he has the best chance of signing.

26.Charlie Carpenter, C, South Carolina- Upstate

Carpenter is a 6’6” 225 pound athlete. He comes with defensive versatility and was announced as a catcher, but guys with that size don't stick at catcher longterm easily. He's always had some pop, though it's always been more doubles until his over the fence power ticked up this year. He has a strong showing in the New England Collegiate League as well, which adds a little more intrigue to him. His defense is actually better than you'd expect, but it's going to take effort for him to remain there.

Grade: B

Will He Sign: Probably 60/40 that he does sign. He can be similar to Jonathan Morales, smaller school guy who has defensive versatility and some potential with the bat. I think he has more power than Morales but less chance at catching.

27.Randy Bednar, OF, Maryland HS

Bednar is a corner outfielder with very good bat speed and power potential. He’s likely limited to a corner outfield spot defensively and does have some swing and miss. He should have been taken much higher based on his talent.


Will He Sign? I’d put the odds at about 10%.

28.Brett Brocoff, RHP, Nevada HS

Brett Brocoff is a projectable right handed pitcher with a fastball up to 92 and an interesting potentially above average curve. He’s projectable and far from a finished product, but likely needs three years in school to add strength.

Grade: B

Will He Sign? I’d put the odds at less than 5%.

29.Cade Cavalli, RHP, Oklahoma HS

Cavalli hasn't pitched much because of injury but his pure stuff is that of a potential Top 100 pick. He's very promising but could really see his stock go up by going to school and re-entering the draft later.

Grade: A

Will He Sign: About a 1% chance.

30.Hayden Wynja, LHP, Indiana HS

Wynja is a huge 6’8” 190 pound lefty. His stuff currently isn't anything special in the mid to upper 80s, but he's extremely projectable and could be a special arm in three years.

Grade: B

Will He Sign: Probably about 5% odds.

31.Ryan Miller, RHP, Clemson

Ryan Miller was a fairly lightly used reliever for Clemson this year as the former JUCO transfer was still coming back from Tommy John surgery. He didn't get to show much but did show flashes of potential.

Grade: B-

Will He Sign: Probably about 50/50 if not a little less.

32.Reid Detmers, LHP, Illinois HS

Detmers is a prospect with a good feel for pitching and a very strong fastball/curveball mix. He's not too projectable, and and he's going to be more of a pitchability over stuff guy but he's certainly worth a spot much higher based on pure talent.

Grade: A-

Will He Sign? About 1% since he's a Louisville commit.

33.Chris McMahon, RHP, Pennsylvania HS

McMahon is a Top 100 talent as a big, projectable low mileage arm thanks to a basketball background. His fastball up to 95 and feel for his secondaries with his raw background gives him big upside.

Grade: A+

Will He Sign? I’m comfortable saying absolutely not.

34.Ricky Negron, 3B, Tampa

Negron is a little used utility guy and son of a Yankees employee. He didn't play much for Tampa after initially starting his career at Auburn, and the numbers and playing time don't inspire a lot of confidence.

Grade: D

Will He Sign? Yes, he's a senior.

35.Jason Rooks, OF, Georgia HS

Rooks is a pure hitter that would be considered a gamer and a great team guy. His bat is definitely the calling card.

Grade: B

Will He Sign? About a 1% chance as he is committed to Georgia Tech.

36.Chase Blueberg, RHP, California JUCO

Blueberg is the brother of Colby, a Padres minor leaguer. He didn't put up great stats and wasn't really on my radar, but the Braves had to have seen something they liked.

Grade: D

Will He Sign? Not likely.

37.Dean Miller, OF, California JUCO

Miller is another guy not on the radar, but that tends to happen this late. He posted pretty good numbers as a JUCO outfielder but I can't really comment on what he brings to the table.

Grade: C

Will He Sign? Not likely.

38.Adam Groesbeck, OF, Air Force

Groesbeck put up massive numbers at Air Force and was one of the national leaders in batting average for much of the year. He's got some power and speed along with good bat to ball skills, though it needs to be pointed out that his numbers are inflated by playing in Colorado Springs- a place that plays nearly as dramatically as Denver.

Grade: B/B+

Will He Sign? I can't answer this. He's a senior and that normally means he will. However Groesbeck goes to Air Force and with the reserve clause being rescinded to make sure service academy athletes serve two years in the military upon graduation, his future is cloudy and beyond his and the Braves control.

39.Joe Sanchez, LHP, Florida HS

A guy I knew nothing about before the draft from a high school that sounds made up, TERRA Environmental Research Institute. He doesn’t have great pure stuff and he's not too projectable.

Grade: Incomplete

Will He Sign? Very unlikely.

40.Baron Radcliff, OF, Georgia HS

Radcliff made my Sleeper Team and was talked about on Road To Atlanta podcast last week. He’s raw thanks to his football background, but he's very athletic and he's got real power potential. This is a huge talent.

Grade: A+

Will He Sign? I’d give this one maybe a 1% chance as a Georgia Tech commit. If the Braves weren't the hometown team I’d have said there is no shot, but either way it's highly unlikely.

Final Thoughts

I think the Braves sign their first 18 picks easily as well as having a good chance to sign a few more, though the day three prep talent is likely not going to happen. I would predict the Braves sign every one of their first 24 picks along with Charlie Carpenter and Ricky Negron to sign 26 guys in total.

I give the Braves draft a solid A grade. It's not especially deep in the number of high end prospects, but it's got three big time prospects who took up almost all of the money available. Mixing Wright, Waters, and Tarnok with Bacon, Lugbauer, Owenby, Bush, and likely Allison and Smith as well is a strong class to load the system with. The draft would be an A+ if the got Taylor or any other day three prep talent to sign.

The draft is especially deep in both power hitters and relievers, and there are plenty of guys with concerns surrounding swing and miss or their control. The Braves also seemed to value defensive position versatility this year, which makes sense considering the depth of options in the system.

Wright, Waters, and Tarnok are all worthy of making the Top 30 prospects, but that's it right now unless there is a surprise signing. There are some other guys who have potential, but with the system and Top 30 being so talented they will need to go out and prove themselves before getting ranked.