Here is a look at the Braves’ top 7 picks in this year’s first-year player draft. They drafted a power-hitting outfielder/firstbaseman who can also hit for average with their first-round pick, followed by three giant right-handed pitchers.
Rd 1, 32nd: Braxton Davidson, OF, T.C. Roberson HS (NC), 6’2″, 210 lbs.
Roberson is a big, left handed hitter with possibly the best in-game power in this year’s draft, thanks to plus hit potential. The Braves will certainly put him in a corner-outfield spot, though he may end up at first base. But his offensive potential is so high and his athleticism good enough that they might be willing to deal with some defensive deficiencies, if he reaches that offensive potential, a la Ryan Klesko.
Rd 2, 66th: Garrett Fulenchek, RHP, Howe HS (TX), 6’4″, 205 lbs.
He is a big, projectable arm. It’s always good when you can draft one of the best draft prospects from the state of Texas. He has a hard sinker he can throw in the low-to-mid 90’s. He has the potential to be a front-of-the-rotation starter but you could also see a development path in which he becomes a dominant reliever.
Rd 3, 102nd: Max Povse, RHP, UNC – Greensboro (NC), 6’7″, 210 lbs.
Provse was drafted on size and velocity. His fastball is straight and is secondary stuff is lacking. We’ll see what happens once he’s in a pro system and can concentrate solely on pitching a baseball full-time.
Rd 4, 133rd: Chad Sobotka, RHP, University of South Carolina – Upstate, 6’7″, 200 lbs.
Another very tall right-hander, Sobotka has the repertoire to make it as a starter, though he pitched in a relief role in college. He’ll need to iron out his delivery and improve his command to do so. He also missed the season with a stress fracture in his back, which might have allowed him to slip some in the draft.
Rd 5, 163rd: Chris Diaz, LHP, University of Miami, 6’0″, 190 lbs.
Finally, the Braves take a relatively small pitcher in this year’s draft in the 5th round. Diaz became Miami’s ace last season. He’s a sinkerballer with a good slider and changeup as secondary offerings, and he pounds the strikezone. As a college lefty with good control and plenty of polish, could be the first player in this year’s draft for the Braves to reach the big leagues, especially if the Braves decide he’s a reliever.
Rd 6, 193rd: Keith Curcio, CF, Florida Southern College, 5’11”, 180 lbs.
Curcio is a left-handed hitter and right-handed thrower. He moved from thirdbase to centerfield this season, because of his speed and athleticism. Though he lacks power, he puts the bat to ball, has a good approach and can run. His upside is probably limited by his lack of power but he could become a solid backup outfielder.
Rd 7, 223rd: Luke Dykstra, 2B, Westlake HS (CA), 6’1″, 195 lbs.
Dykstra, unsurprisingly, is commonly described as a “gamer” type, like his father Lenny. The Braves probably just hope that his baseball instincts and the fact that he’s been around the game combined with his decent baseball skills and athleticism will allow him to reach the majors. At best he’s probably an extra player. He might bounce from Triple-A to the majors.