Happy Draft day to you all! Short of opening day this is the most exciting time of the season for the minor league crew as we’ll finally have some new names to talk about in the system. As with every year, many people try to predict who those faces will be with mock drafts. Here is a rundown of the most recent mock drafts from our five main sources, Baseball America, MLB Pipeline, ESPN, the Athletic, and Fangraphs and who they expect the Atlanta Braves to pick with the 24th overall selection.
Were likely to see multiple draft day mocks, and as they come out today we’ll drop them right here and go over them a bit
The first mock is from MLB Pipeline, and they decided to drop that at like 2:30 AM just a couple of hours after I finished writing this just as I expected they would do. Anyways, both Jim Callis and Jonathan Mayo gave us separate picks and both are interesting for their own reasons. Callis has the Braves taking hometown two way star Bubba Chandler, a pick that has been projected multiple times to this point and would be quite a steal if he actually slid this far. He states otherwise he expects a college pitcher, going on to mention names we’ve already heard in Ky Bush, Michael McGreevy, Spencer Schwellenbach, and Gavin Williams. He also mentioned a new name, and that is Matt Mikulski. Mayo, with Gavin Williams and TC favorite Trey Sweeney on the board, went with Mikulski as his pick. Mikulski has been a riser all season with a fastball that has gotten up to 98mph, but there is significant reliever risk with the lack of command and inconsistent changeup. Between him and Bush, This writer personally prefers Bush, but either should allow the Braves to save some money and pick up talent sliding in the second round.
Matt Mikulski was the second Division I pitcher to reach 100 strikeouts this year, trailing only Jack Leiter.— Baseball America (@BaseballAmerica) May 4, 2021
The @FordhamBaseball ace moved up 85 more spots in our draft rankings.
Here’s why: https://t.co/azGLUpweJf
Our second draft day mock comes to us from Fangraphs and they went with Spencer Schwellenbach, who has been heavily connected to the Braves over the past couple of months. It’s interesting that they say they don’t know what position the Braves will take him at, as there were mostly reports the Braves saw him as a pitcher but some conflicting reports have come in that they are looking at him at shortstop. It seems the Braves are heavily interested in taking Schwellenbach, but may not necessarily have him as their first pick and should a mid first type talent drop to them at 24 they will be looking to pick up that player there.
Our day of the draft projection from Baseball America has the Braves taking East Carolina standout starter Gavin Williams. Williams is the favorite for the Talking Chop crew, which you can read more about in our roundtable, and fits the Braves demographic along with providing exceptional value and upside. A bigger fear for Williams is a team betting on him earlier in the draft, but if he is available at 24 the Braves would likely consider him heavily regardless of the talent available. They also mentioned Ky Bush and Spencer Schwellenbach as being connected to the Braves, though it is worth mentioning there is a slight chance one of the two could be available in the second round.
Baseball America has added an update to their list. They are hearing that Ky Bush as a potential underslot deal is gaining more traction. Also mentioned a new name in Thousand Oaks HS (CA) shortstop Max Muncy. Muncy is a well rounded athlete and player and gets high grades for his work ethic and other intangibles. The Braves have always been big on players who they consider high character players and Muncy fits the mold as well as being an up the middle athlete that can hit. Muncy is committed to Arkansas, with the biggest questions being how much power he grows into long term and whether he eventually is moved off of shortstop. His speed is more average so if he bulks up it’s possible he moves off, but he has the work ethic and defensive acumen to stick at shortstop without elite mobility.
Here is a list of our older mocks that we have written up on Talking Chop as well as links to out articles.
For those that don’t know, Baseball America is the premier source of information on amateur baseball, and they’ve released multiple versions of their mock draft this season. Here is our write up of the latest one. Baseball America echoed what has been a very popular pick of late in East Carolina’s ace starter Gavin Williams. Williams is a high class arm talent with buzz to go even higher in this draft than 24, so him being picked by the Braves would be an easy choice were he to slide.
Going over to MLB Pipeline’s mock draft, which we wrote up here, we have another college starter in Michael McGreevy out of UC Santa Barbara. This is another player who could go higher than this in the draft, with premium command a solid four pitch mix that gives him a very high floor. Pipeline has had the Braves in on McGreevy for a while, mocking him to the Braves in every mock in which he fell to 24.
ESPN’s Kiley McDaniel went in the same direction, projecting McGreevy to the Braves in his latest mock draft. McDaniel also projected into the second round and had the Braves taking another college pitcher in Ky Bush from Saint Mary’s College. Bush has had some buzz as a guy who could slip into the first round if a team wanted to be creative, and there have been rumors of a connection between him and the Braves for some months now. Bush has a commanding presence on the mound, and while the velocity isn’t elite it’s certainly above average with him sitting around 94 with that heavy downhill plane.
If you’re sick of hearing about college pitchers I have the mock draft you’ll like, as Fangraphs projects Eastern Illinois star Trey Sweeney to the Atlanta Braves. This is a bit of a departure from most, but makes sense as Sweeney fits the profile of hitters the Braves have taken in recent seasons. While the ultimate defensive home is in question for Sweeney and he is very unlikely to stay at shortstop, he can absolutely rake and has huge power projection in his 6’4, 200-pound frame. His batted ball metrics are among the best among all draft eligible college players. This, combined with an advanced approach and above average bat to ball skills make him a tantalizing pick up regardless of his position.
Trey Sweeney’s numbers this year— Baseball America (@BaseballAmerica) April 28, 2021
He’s hitting .415/.539/.756 with 11 homers.
He has 33 walks compared to 20 K’s.
The @EIU_Baseball star is one of our draft risers this week. Here he is vs. Jordan Wicks.https://t.co/cP6RXwELw3
Our final mock draft we’re going to look at is from Keith Law at ESPN, and he projects Nebraska two way star Spencer Schwellenbach to the Braves. This is interesting as scouts are still split on which side of the ball he should stick with at the professional level, though it seems the Braves prefer him on the mound because of the metrics on his pitches. There have been some conflicting reports on how they view him, however. He’s gotten up to 99mph in relief, but has limited time on the mound at Nebraska to judge him. He could be a tantalizing option at shortstop if the Braves feel he can stick there.
The theme with all of these mock drafts is obvious and that is college arms. Some others that have been connected to the Braves are Mississippi State’s Will Bednar who they would almost certainly take on the very unlikely event he drops and Wake Forest’s Ryan Cusick. Also projected to the Braves is local two-way prep player Bubba Chandler who will very likely be gone by pick 24.