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2019 Atlanta Braves Re-Draft

We enter the final year of the series where the Braves had an extremely strong draft in our eyes, especially so in the later rounds.

Photo Credit: Garrett Spain

The 2019 draft provided a litany of emotions for the Braves minor league crew from anger to absolute joy as the Braves made some interesting picks in the first couple of rounds, at least to us, but then really dominated the rest of the draft by drafting a lot of high ceiling talent. There are a lot of boom or bust type players in this draft class which likely lead the Braves to use the first three picks on more high floor players, but should the back half of the draft lead up to their tools well then you are looking at a lot of first or second round talent scattered throughout the draft.

In case you missed the other parts of the series the rules are quite simple - this is how Aaron and myself would have drafted had the Atlanta Braves finally return our text messages. The main rule is to not exceed draft caps and to stay within budget so without further ado here are our picks!

2019 Atlanta Braves Re-Draft

Round Actual Pick Slot Value Signed For Gaurav's Picks Signed For Aaron's Picks Signed For
Round Actual Pick Slot Value Signed For Gaurav's Picks Signed For Aaron's Picks Signed For
First Round Shea Langeliers $4,949,100 $3,745,500 Corbin Carroll $4,100,000 Jackson Rutledge $4,000,000
First Round Braden Shewmake $3,132,300 $3,129,800 Daniel Espino $2,500,000 Daniel Espino $2,500,000
Second Round Beau Philip $1,157,400 $697,500 Matthew Lugo $1,100,000 Matthew Lugo $1,100,000
Third Round Michael Harris $593,100 $547,500 Michael Harris $547,500 Noah Song $100,000
Fourth Round Kasey Kalich $333,300 $347,500 John Rave $297,500 Andrew Schultz $225,000
$10,165,200 $8,467,800 $8,545,000 $7,925,000

Gaurav:

Outside of Michael Harris I missed on every other pick within the first five selection though I believe with good reason. My first pick of the draft would have been Corbin Carroll a prep outfielder out of Washington. To say Corbin is an athlete would be a massive understatement as he was 81% in fastball speed, the 99% in 60 time, 97% in exit velocity, 94% in max barrel speed, and 93% in impact momentum. His fantastic speed leads him to be a potential stud of a defensive center fielder while having a bat and approach that could have him hit near the top of the lineup for years. Carroll then debuted in rookie ball where in 31 games he hit .288/.409/.450, walked 24 times while striking out 29 times, and stole 16 bases while being thrown out just once. He then was promoted to A- ball where he hit .326/.408/.581 in 11 games.

From there the Braves use their second first round pick on Matt Powers favorite Daniel Espino. The main knock that I could find on Espino leading up to the draft was his reliever risk but that...is extremely common. Espino has a rather impressive arsenal of pitches which is headlined by his huge fastball that can hit 99 with ease. He then complements that real well with a plus slider, a plus curveball, and average changeup. All combined you have a rather high ceiling 18 year old that ended up signing for $2.5M.

The Braves then use their second round pick on Matthew Lugo. Much like Carroll, Lugo is an athlete with comparable metrics to Carroll. He is raw but absolutely toolsy with the ability to be above average in everything including on defense at shortstop. Lugo played in 39 games in rookie ball where he hit .257/.342/.331.

My next difference is then in the fourth round when the Braves draft Kasey Kalich out of Stanford. I honestly had no issue with this pick because Kalich is a nice arm and should be in a major league bullpen sooner than later. Instead though, I had the Braves selecting John Rave an outfielder out of Illinois State. Rave possesses good speed and flashes good potential with the bat and game power. Rave hit .234/.326/.320 in 61 games in 2019.

Aaron:

I feel especially proud of this draft; one where I feel I made up for not signing Carter Stewart. With that very pick I was between two players: Jackson Rutlegdge and Corbin Carroll. But how can you pass on a 6’8” beast of a man throwing 94-98 with ease to go along with a plus slider and an above average curve. The change is certainly lacking along with the control, but he was just 20 years old at the time of the draft and already came so far in just two years of JUCO. He’s an incredibly hard worker.

Like Gaurav mentioned, the next pick is credited to Matt Powers. After he talked about him and we got to see the player, I think most everyone at Talking Chop wanted Daniel Espino. To see him at 21 was a bit surreal. He trained here in Georgia at the Georgia Premier Academy, so he’s certainly local in that sense. Not only would he have been a worthy pick, but he ended up siging for $600K less than Braden Shewmake. Along with the reliever risk, his velo was a bit all over the place and cause him to fall a bit. But he’s still a guy that throws anywhere from 92-99 mph (mostly 94-97) with good life on the pitch. Espino’s secondaries are so good with his plus slider and curve. He already has an average change, and with his pitchability and incredible work ethic he could improve that in time. Just like Rutledge, the kid wants to be the best. Most people can say that, but do they have the work ethic to back it up? These two do, which is why I really love these guys.

I still laugh at the Beau Philip pick. It’s hard to believe the Braves signed someone that vanilla for $700K, when they really wanted to go underslot. If that’s the case, they why not sign someone even cheaper? Jake Mangum went in the 4th round to the Mets for $20K and is a better player than Philip. This pick was such a head scratcher. With the money I saved from Rutledge and Espino, I don’t have to sacrifice here. I pick up an athletic shortstop in Matthew Lugo at just about slot ($1.10M) just like Gaurav. He was one of the youngest players in the draft too.

In the 3rd round I go big on savings. I did a big write-up on Noah Song in 2018, so read it here. I’m a big fan, so why wouldn’t I draft him? He does have to serve for 2 years since they changed the rules again, but it’s not much of a gamble with his arm talent and only costing me $100K.

After that, I get a big time reliever/closer in Andrew Shultz. He’ll sit mid to high 90’s, but he’s cracked 100 mph in game. His slider is a quality pitch, but his control piss poor. I can get Shultz well below slot, so I like the talent for the cost.

I did go 10 rounds here. I picked up Ethan Hearn in the 5th round. He’s a high school catcher, but has a plus arm and great pop times. There’s no rushing this kid though. I was a big fan of Cambell’s OF Mathew Barefoot. He has plus speed and arm to go long with an average bat. Kyle Brnovich was someone I talked a lot about too and he had one of the best curveballs in the class, a true double plus pitch (it’s a knuckle curve and I love that pitch). At the very least he can be a high quality reliever. With the next two picks, I leave alone cause I really like Ricky DeVito and Cody Milligan. DeVito has a solid three pitch mix, but gets out of sync with his mechanics. Cody Milligan is a JUCO guy with some talent.

At this point, I have over $2M in savings (Which is CBA/Top of the 2nd round money). While I don’t think that convinces Hunter Barco to sign, I do think I could have convinced Brennan Milone for $2M as a local Georgia kid or even Cade Doughty (all 3 went undrafted). Milone, 3B, has an above average hit tool and pretty much average tool across the board except speed. Meanwhile, Doughty also has an above average hit tool, but does offer plus speed and arm at the shortstop position. It’s possible I could have floated someone, but decided that would be too difficult to predict so only focused on undrafted prep players.

With this, I think I absolutely crush the draft. I will say that the Braves did a great job too outside the Philip pick.