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2020 MLB Draft Preview: Scenarios for a Braves draft

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Taking a look at some names for each of the Braves picks before the 2020 MLB Draft gets underway.

MLB Opening Day Postponed Due To Coronavirus Photo by Kevin C. Cox/Getty Images

In a normal year I’d be putting out a mock draft today. However this year is far from normal and it just isn’t going to be possible to put out a mock draft in a draft that will be as unpredictable as any we have ever seen.

Between the shortened format, the shortened or in some cases lost altogether season, and different bonus structure that unsurprisingly favors teams, this draft is going to have a lot of questions all around. Then when you add in the depth of the class, particularly with such a large number of first and second round caliber arms, things get even more unpredictable as there isn’t a ton separating so many arms overall outside of team preferences.

Anyway the Braves will have four picks, and instead of a true mock draft I will come up with a wishlist for each pick. This list will have the player I want the most at each pick, an underslot candidate, an overslot candidate, a player I really hope to see fall into the Braves lap, and two more names I would like to see the Braves get. That’s going to be 6 players for each pick.

Since I already wrote up each of these 24 players in the 2020 Atlanta Braves Draft Preview, I won’t do that again as much as I’ll give a brief description of why I want each of those players.

Pick 25

Player I want most - Nick Bitsko, RHP, Pennsylvania HS

Bitsko is a special arm and would have been much higher if scouts got a chance to see him this spring after reclassifying into this class. It is still entirely possible he is long gone, and there is a chance he takes an overslot deal to get done. However when you have a talent like this available, you take him.

Overslot candidate - N/A. There isn’t a true overslot candidate in the first round as much as taking the best player and him costing overslot, since there are no savings to be passed around yet. An additional player will be listed in the Two more category in place here.

Underslot candidate - Bryce Jarvis, RHP, Duke

I like Bryce Jarvis and what he has become, but I was hoping for someone with a little more upside with the 25th pick. However if Jarvis comes at a bit of a discount so the Braves can add some upside guys later, I wouldn’t be mad at all.

Player I hope falls - Garrett Crochet, LHP, Tennessee

Garrett Crochet would be in the mix with the guys for the top pick if he was able to prove himself over the course of a full season as a starter. His stuff is just that good, and he is arguably the highest upside pitcher in the draft because of it. But he doesn’t have that track record, so he is a bit of a wildcard with where he ends up going because the upside is hard to ignore.

Two* more players I like - Cole Wilcox, RHP, Georgia, Jared Kelley, RHP, Texas HS, and Jordan Walker, 3B, Georgia HS

Both Wilcox and Kelley are candidates to go higher, but each has a legitimate enough chance at being there for the Braves. Wilcox stuff isn’t that far behind teammate Emerson Hancock, just that he needs to improve his command and the Braves would be an ideal organization to do that. Kelley isn’t far behind Mick Abel and Bitsko for the top prep arm in this draft, and if he drops to 25 it would be hard to ignore him being there. Walker is the only bat I list here. That isn’t because I don’t want a bat, but rather because the strength of the draft pool is projected to be pitcher with this pick. Walker has plenty of upside as a power bat for the organization that could use a few more of them at the lower levels.

What I don’t want - Safety. I really don’t want to see the Braves play things safe here and outside of Jarvis would be disappointed if they took an underslot guy here. Jarvis is the lone exception because his talent doesn’t have him as that big of a reach at 25, which is why I would be fine taking him underslot. When the guys I mentioned above, and other interesting players like a Clayton Beeter, Slade Cecconi, Chris McMahon, and Daniel Cabrera are going to all likely be available taking a safer player would be tough to swallow here.

Pick 97

Player I want most - Markevian Hence, RHP, Arkansas HS

You could also put Hence on the overslot list or on the player I hope falls list, but he is an arm that I would love to have in the organization. Hence has great stuff and checks every box you want from a young pitcher. As good as he is as a player, he’s got high marks across the board off the field as well for character, work ethic, and willingness to make changes. If Hence went to Arkansas he would be a very strong candidate for a Top 10 pick in a few years, I believe in him that much.

Overslot candidate - Cade Horton, RHP/SS, Oklahoma HS

Cade Horton is an interesting two sport, two way star, but to me his future comes on the mound. He won’t be cheap to buy away from Oklahoma football but he has major upside in him. You’d need to at the very least be drafting Jarvis underslot in the first to have this be any sort of a reality money wise.

Underslot candidate - Landon Knack, RHP, East Tennessee State

Knack is the rare fifth year senior who on talent alone belongs in this draft. Factor in the fact that you get a draftable player at a senior sign discount, and Knack could be very appealing early to the Braves without the benefit of the pool from the second round pick that went when they signed Marcell Ozuna.

Player I hope falls - Harold Coll, SS, Georgia HS

Harold Coll is getting plenty of buzz in rounds 3-4, and he would be the type of player the Braves need in the system- a true shortstop prospect with promise in the bat. He’s made significant progress with his game since he moved down from Massachusetts last fall, and the ability to get a strong defender with a potential quality bat isn’t easy to pass up.

Two more players I like - Kevin Abel, RHP, Oregon State, and Owen Caissie, OF, Canada HS

Abel was a lock of a first rounder a year ago for this draft before needing Tommy John surgery, and getting that type of pitcher in late round three is always a hard thing to pass up. Caissie is a high upside outfielder with some Jason Heyward-like qualities and really had some impressive moments with the Canadian Junior National Team this spring against MLB teams.

Pick 126

Player I want most - Parker Chavers, OF, Coastal Carolina

A player who has fallen a bit because he missed the season with an injury, Parker Chavers is an intriguing bat to add to the outfield in the organization. While the Braves don’t need an outfielder, they need bats and he could be the best available here.

Overslot candidate - Hunter Barnhart, RHP, California HS

A breakout spring has Hunter Barnhart in the mix in the middle rounds of the draft, and the Braves would do well to grab a projectable and still somewhat raw young arm like Barnhart’s.

Underslot candidate - Michael Kirian, LHP, Louisville

When you’re looking for an underslot guy, the reliever is a fairly safe pick to be willing to take under since they have a little less leverage overall. Kirian is a promising reliever, so he presents some underslot potential and some actual value.

Player I hope falls - Coby Mayo, 3B, Florida HS

Coby Mayo is a power bat for an organization in need of a few more, so having him fall into the Braves lap would be an ideal scenario.

Two more players I like - Alerick Soularie, OF, Tennessee, and Jamal O’Guinn, 3B, USC

Like Chavers, Soularie has dropped this spring. Soularie wasn’t hurt, but he never really got going. Still he has hit everywhere he’s been so far and the bat is good value this late. O’Guinn is another promising bat, and while he has his question marks the power and on base potential of his bat would be a big addition to the farm.

Pick 156

Player I want most - Alex Toral, 1B, Miami

Alex Toral has major hit tool questions, but he has some of the best raw power in the draft and has hit bombs in the ACC. Taking a chance on a guy with his power with one of the final picks of the draft is a worthwhile gamble for a team needing more power bats.

Overslot candidate - AJ Vukovich, 1B, Wisconsin HS

You’ll notice a theme, as Vukovich is another power bat. He’s a good fit for the organization as he is more of a slow develop guy they can take their time with.

Underslot candidate - Braden Olthoff, RHP, Tulane

I tried to stick with guys who aren’t true senior signs that sign for almost nothing and take guys who would sign for underslot with a chance to contribute. Olthoff could choose to strike while his stock is at an all time high following a great short sample size season for the Green Wave. He could potentially move up by returning to school, but he would also be taking a bit of a risk in doing so.

Player I hope falls - Nick Frasso, RHP, Loyola Marymount

Nick Frasso is a guy that if he had a full spring to show himself likely wouldn’t have been listed this far down. Add in an injury to even further put some questions to his longterm viability as a starter and he fits more of a mid to late round pick in this draft. Frasso has some untapped potential and even if he can’t start would have some value out of the pen.

Two more players I like - Marquis Grissom Jr, RHP, Georgia HS, Werner Blakely, SS, Michigan HS

I love bloodlines players and Marquis Grissom Jr. isn’t just a good bloodline, but the Georgia Tech commit is a promising young arm. He’s going to need a few years and has some reliever risk, but grabbing a local kid with upside and a bloodline connection to the 90s Braves is hard to pass up. Werner Blakely is one of the single most underrated prospects in this entire draft. A cold weather state prospect, Blakely is a bit raw overall still. However he has above average athleticism and real potential with the bat as the bat speed can’t be ignored.