June 08, 2011

2011 Braves Draft Recap – Part 1

This year’s draft was the fourth for Frank Wren as GM so lets take a quick look at the top picks from the three previous drafts for the Braves.

2008- 9 of the first 11 picks in the Frank Wren era were pitchers.  The only player to make it to Atlanta so far from this draft has been Craig Kimbrel.  Kimbrel alone makes this draft passable but with prospects Paul Clemens, Brett Oberholzer, and J.J. Hoover all under the age of 23 and pitching well in Double-A, (Hoover has been promoted to Gwinnett but has struggled in limited work) the 2008 class has a chance to be an above average draft.

2009- Wren’s second draft was a little more balanced as far as the ratio of pitchers to position players.  This was not a great draft for the Braves.  Mike Minor, 1st pick / 7th overall, was highly criticized at the time but now appears to be the only Major Leaguer in the entire class.  There was hope Mycal Jones, 4th Round / 118 overall, could develop into the next shortstop for the Braves but he has already been moved to centerfield and has struggled in his age 24 season.  The only player that can save this draft from being a total disaster might be 11th round pick, Chris Masters who at age 23 has pitched his way into being a fringe prospect.

2010-  The goal for the 2010 draft class was to replenish the system with position players as 8 of the first 10 players drafted were fielders.  It’s still way too early to put a grade on this class but the farm system is now stocked full with depth at SS.  1st round pick Matt Lipka and 2nd round pick Andrelton Simmons have put up numbers that should allow them to move up and join Tyler Pastornicky as the biggest threats to Diory Hernandez’ existence with the Braves.

Now here’s a list of the Braves 2011 top 10 selections with their college stats from this year and some of my initial reactions.

1. LHP  Sean Gilmartin Florida State

12-1  16 GS  113.1 IP  86 H  5 HR  20 BB  122 SO  1.83 ERA

2. SS Nick Ahmed Connecticut

183 AB  51 R  61 H  11 2B  2 3B  2 HR  35 RBI  26 BB  18 SO  23 SB  6 CS  .333/.432/.448

3. 3B  Kyle Kubitza Texas State

226 AB   59 R   70 H   12 2B  7 3B  10 HR  66 RBI  54 BB  48 SO  16 SB  3 CS  .310/ .446/.558

4. RHP J.R. Graham Santa Clara University

3-5   5 GS  23 App   62.0 IP  53 H  1 HR  9 BB  45 SO   3.34  ERA

5. C Nick Desantiago Blinn College

115 AB  31 R  36 H  4 2B  19 RBI  .313 AVG

6. RHP Mark Lamm Vanderbilt

5-0   1 SV   25 APP   26.2 IP   26 H  2 HR  3 BB  20 SO    2.03  ERA

7. RHP  Cody Martin Gonzaga

2-1  12 SV  25 APP   52.1  IP  30 H  1 HR   19 BB  63  SO   0.86  ERA

8. 2B Thomas La Stella Costal Carolina

231  AB  59 R  92 H   15 2B  4 3B   14 HR  70 RBI   32 BB  18 SO   7 SB  4 CS    .398/.476/.680

9. LF Chase Larson Cameron University

190 AB  74 R   82 H  13 2B  4 3B  29 HR  84 RBI  35  BB  28 SO  3 SB 0 CS   .432/.530/1.000

10. SS Logan Robbins Western Kentucky

199 AB  34 R  57 H  12 2B  2 3B   4 HR   33 RBI  21 BB  46  SO  20 SB  4 CS   .286/.371/.427

On paper this draft resembles the 2009 class with an established left handed pitcher from the college ranks and then a nice balance of pitchers and fielders.

With the Braves second pick being a shortstop I have to think Frank Wren is determined to eventually replace Alex Gonzalez with home grown talent.

All of the top 10 picks were all college players.  Hopefully they don’t have Scott Boras as an agent and can be easily signed.

Gilmartin,  Ahmed, and Lamm’s teams  have all made it to Super Regionals.  Saturday (6/11) at 4:30 ESPNU and ESPN3 will have FSU’s first game of the Super Regional, Gilmartin is the probable starter.  UCONN plays their first game on ESPN 2 Saturday at 6:00 and Vanderbilt plays their first Super Regional game Friday night at 8 ET on ESPNU.

I really wanted us to add a big bat with this draft and after reviewing the college stats I’m looking forward to following Chase Larson’s career.  Cameron University isn’t exactly a baseball factory but 29 HR in 190 AB is impressive.

Doesn’t Robbins sound like a great name for a shortstop?  He is buried in the depth chart at SS but maybe his 20 stolen bases in 24 chances will help pave his road to the big leagues.

Check back with Atlanta Baseball Talk later in the week for my ultimate speculations on what this year’s draft may indicate going forward with trades and potential 40 man roster changes.




5 Responses to “2011 Braves Draft Recap – Part 1”

  1. 1
    BRAVEinNY (Matt) Says:

    Paul, nice piece.

    I like the picks of Kyle Kubitza and J.R. Graham.

    Kubitza can really hit! If he can work on his defense, he may be the guy in this draft.

    Graham is already throwing in the upper 90’s and can control it…He could be pitching out of the BRaves bullpen sooner, rather than later.


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    Nate Says:

    Thanks for the update, Paul.

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