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2020 MLB Draft: Talking Chop’s Weekly College Draft Prospect Tracker Returns

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This year kicks off with live scouting from the Georgia vs Georgia Tech game.

Divisional Series - St Louis Cardinals v Atlanta Braves - Game One
Truist Park
Photo by Kevin C. Cox/Getty Images

Welcome back to all your Atlanta Braves draft coverage needs. While I say “all”, mainly it means D1 and JUCO players. Now that 3 weeks have wrapped up for college baseball, it’s time to dive back in looking at which players are increasing their stock and which are dropping.

Talking Chop’s prospect team is pretty loaded (humble brag). I learn a ton from these guys. This is only my 3rd year really diving into prospects and the draft, so still pretty much a noob. Make sure you are following us on Twitter.

Eric Cole - @leprekhan

Matt Powers - @MattPowers31

Gaurav Vedak - @gvedak

Garrett Spain - @BravesMILB

Wayne Cavadi - @UofDWayne (Please @ him for anything DII related, even if it’s just score updates. He loves those)

Doc Herbert - @BravesHerbert

My prospect spreadsheet is about 80% complete. I don’t want to include a link until I feel confident with it. It’ll look similar to last year containing stats, notes on hitters as well as pitcher velos and pitch types.

College player stock trending up

Cole Wilcox, RHP, Georgia - Wilcox was my very early pick for the Braves. He’s just a big dude on the mound standing 6’5 and around 240 lbs. He looks a lot like Patrick Weigel. His fastball command was his biggest limitation from keeping him from moving up draft boards. It’s bittersweet from a Braves perspective to note that he’s looked much improved in this area. Through three games, he has a total of three walks vs 37 strikeouts. Wilcox was outstanding on Saturday going seven innings giving up three hits, zero walks and striking out 11. His slider and change are thrown about the same speed, but both were very effective (at least above average for both). His fastball sat 93-96 pretty much the entire game. One of the things that stuck out is that hitters were sitting fastball early, and credit to Shane Marshall for calling a great game. Wilcox didn’t seem concerned in the slightest and at times went heavy on his secondaries around the 3rd and 4th inning. This actually allowed him to play his fastball up again in the later innings. Whereas he was getting a lot of swing and miss off those secondaries early, he would get more swing and miss on the fastball in the later innings. It was a really strong performance. I’m giving up hope now that he’ll be there when the Braves pick.

Tucker Bradley, OF, Georgia - Bradley played just a total of three games in 2019. The year before, he had a decent enough sophomore year, but didn’t show any power. After watching Bradley play, I came away very impressed. His lone hit was a home run on Saturday, but he was making loud contact every time he connected. Bradley still reached base three times and scored all three times (even stealing a base). While not particularly fast, he is a very good baserunner who already has seven steals on the season. His arm is likely plus and should be good enough for a corner spot. On the season he’s posting a 1.443 OPS with 6 home runs. Another positive is he only has three strikeouts on the season. He’s got some swagger too - see below.

Max Meyer, RHP, Minnesota - This is going to be another interesting case for the draft. We’ve seen some undersized flamethrowers fall. Most recently, Drey Jameson and Seth Johnson went in the 1st comp round. In 2018, Shane McClanahan went at the top of the 2nd round. Max Meyer might be different and get himself picked as high as the mid teens. He has two very effective pitches in his fastball and slider. Both could be double plus. The fastball sits 94-96 and he’s hit 100 mph in a game. Meyer’s slider could be the best in the country. He still needs more pitches if he wants to stay a starter and he’s listed at 6’0, so teams are most likely going to be wary. I’m definitely getting on the Max Meyer bandwagon. One thing that can help him is pitching deep into game. Speaking of which, he’s coming off pitching a complete game where he was still hitting 96 mph in the 9th inning.

Reid Detmers, LHP, Louisville - His fastball is around 88-92 and his curve has good shape to it, flashing plus at times. He’s still more of a control artist and gets some deception from his delivery. I have doubts that carries over to the MLB level, however he’s put up some impressive numbers since stepping on the mound for Louisville. The Braves did draft him out of HS, but that was a different regime.

Luke Waddell, SS, Georgia Tech - Held his own against Cole Wilcox and Emerson Hancock going 4-9 including a double with one strikeout. Waddell is a smaller player that relies on his keen eye at the plate. He is a high on base skills player due to his high contact rate and ability to draw walks at an elite level. There’s no power to his game and not much gap power either. His defense wasn’t all that good from what I saw and has been a bit error prone (already four errors on the season). A move to second base is most likely in his future.

Dane Acker, RHP, Oklahoma - I have to give some love to the JUCO transfer (San Jacinto). Acker will sit low 90s and has a five pitch mix. His curve and slider are both average pitches. Despite not overpowering stuff he pitched a complete game no-hitter against LSU on 3/1. Just a remarkable performance.

College player stock trending down

JT Ginn, RHP, Mississippi State - He was shut down early with forearm soreness. We’ll see how long he’ll be out. When he’s pitching he throws 91-95 (max 97); pairs it with a slider and change that both flash above average to plus.

Freddy Zamora, SS, Miami - Zamora was already facing a suspension to start the year. Then he injured his knee and is out for the year. Zamora’s defense is really good, but the bat definitely lagged behind. This was supposed to be a big year for him, so this is a real shame. He had an outside shot of getting into the 1st round, but that’s out of the question now. I’m a fan of Zamora.

Jonathan Hughes, RHP, Georgia Tech - Got beat up by Georgia. Just wasn’t that impressed with his stuff. Has a fastball that sat low 90’s early, but dipped to high 80’s after a few innings.

Other notes

It’s interesting that Georgia and Georgia Tech both have 6’6 RHP freshmen in Jonathan Cannon (max 95) and Zach Maxwell (max 98). Should be fun watching these two grow as pitchers. Georgia Tech also had a couple of sophomore pitchers that I came away impressed with. Luke Barnicki came on in relief and for a guy only throwing around 90 mph he was getting a lot of swing and miss. His delivery gives him a lot of deception making it difficult for batters to see the ball coming out of his hand. His delivery actually reminded me of Eijun Sawamura from the anime Ace of Diamonds (please don’t let me be the only one who watches anime). Cort Roedig was the starter on Saturday. His stat line wasn’t the greatest, but I thought he pitched way better than that. His fastball was 90-94 and thought he threw some really good curveballs and change-ups. I really dig his unique delivery too.