The 40 round draft rolls on and the rounds are moving pretty fast. Here are the picks from rounds. I apologize for the unevenness of the data but some players have more publicly available than others.
In round four the Braves selected Chad Sobotka, a RHP out of the University of South Carolina – Upstate (SC). Sobotka is a 6’7” 200 pound from Sarasota Florida. he missed the last college season with a stress fracture in his back and might have gone in the first two rounds had he been healthy enough to prove his ability. Last summer he worked out of the bullpen for the Cape Cod League Spartans featuring a 92-94 mph fastball that at times touched 96. At 6’7” he’s not quite Randy Johnson tall but it does give his fastball a sharp downward plane from his high 3/4 arm slot. a high three-quarter arm slot. he uses a a low-80s slider with some bite and a deceptive changeup as secondary pitches He’s had trouble repeating his delivery and that causes command issues. He’ll have to overcome them if he wants to be a starter. Otherwise his high 90s heat and that slider could make him a formidable late inning reliever.
In the fifth round the Braves drafted their fourth straight pitcher in Miami Hurricane lefty Chris Diaz. The 21 year old 6’ 190 pound lefty was undrafted out of high school and entered Miami. His freshman year he appeared 32 times out of the pen and made two starts. He had a break out season his sophomore year and became the Ace of the Canes staff. That season he was a semifinalist for inaugural Gregg Olson Award honoring college baseball’s breakout player, earned 2013 All-ABCA Second Team recognition and finished the season second in ERA (1.62) and innings pitched (109 2/3) in ABCA. Fourteen of his sixteen starts were quality starts, including nine straight to end season. Hitters managed just a ,250 average against him as he struck out 78 in his 109 2/3 IP. Between April 5 and May 10 he threw 44 1/3 innings in six starts allowing just 2 runs.; an 0.41 ERA. In tournament play he struck out a career high 10 in the Canes 7-0 win over Oklahoma State at the Louisville Regional.
He throws a heavy sinker at about 90 with a slurve/slider and changeup as his secondary pitches. Diaz is the kind of pitcher managers love, he pounds the zone and attacks hitters with that sinker. He pitched in relief for USA National Collegiate Team and could move quickly up the system if put in that role. He is however a three average or above pitch guy who understands the game and with some adjustments could become a middle of the rotation starter quickly as well.
Watching Diaz I’m reminded me in some ways of Andy Pettite. He has an easy motion – no wasted effort, calm fluid, the ball gets on the hitter quicker than expected making his pitches appear faster than they are. He stays within himself and lands ready top field the ball. His pitches have a nice downward plane and lived on the outside corner at the knees where college pitchers have to go to avoid the aluminum bats that plague their game. Have a look for yourself.
Prospect Digest had this to say about Diaz: “. . .a better than finesse left-hander who will likely develop into a solid backend arm. The problem, of course, is that Diaz hasn’t missed a whole lot of bats at any point in his collegiate career and the control is merely average with flashes of above-average ability.”
Round six saw the Braves move away from pitchers and the BA top 500 when they selected Keith Curcio, a centerfielder out of Florida Southern. Curcio led his team average, slugging percentage and steals earning NWL co-MVP honors. He finished second in the league in batting average while maintaining the third-lowest strikeout rate (7%). Scouts suggest that he will have to constantly convince teams of his hit tool because he’s small 5’10”, 180 and lacks the physique of an impact hitter. He’s a grinder – a dirty uniform guy – with a good idea of the strike zone walking more times (33) than he struck out (24). He’s similar to Tommy La Stella; a line drive line-drive hitter with a gap-to-gap approach and little power. He is an above-average runner, finishing third in his conference in steals (28). While he plays center field he’s not a true burner like Dexter Fowler for example. He makes up for that a bit with good defensive instincts and routes. He has a quick release but a below-average arm that might push him to left field if he has to move off center. If that happens he likely becomes a fourth outfielder because of his lack of power. He has the athleticism to handle second base and has seen some time there in college so a move bac k to the infield is a possibility.
Round seven saw the braves choose second baseman Luke Dykstra out of Westlake HS, California. Yes he is Lenny Dykstra’s son more than that is hard to find. Back in November he attended a California Prep Talent showcase and was mentioned in a BA article.
Luke Dykstra (Thousand Oaks, Calif.) did a little bit of everything, impressing multiple scouts with his intensity while playing all 10 innings. The Fresno State commit and son of ex-big leaguer Lenny Dykstra hit a double Sunday, but he stood out more for the little things he did. “He did everything he could to be noticed—that’s what he does,” an AL cross-checker said. “He steals bases, takes the extra base on a ball in the dirt. He played third, he caught. You can tell he wants it, and he’s going to force the issue. In time, when he’s kind of settled in, he has a chance to be an everyday big leaguer.”
Right handed hitter, gets to front side aggressively and early, big shift, deep hand load, aggressive swing, shows bat speed and power potential, balls jump hard when squared, timing and balance is inconsistent at present. 6.99 runner, polished footwork in the middle infield, quick actions, compact arm stroke and quick release, throws carry well, has the defensive tools to stay in the middle of the field. Showed very good hitting tools at PG National. Bat to keep a close eye on.
Luke Dykstra needs to sign with the first team he fools. My first thought is he’s max-effort in everything he does, but then again, so was his old man. But my real issue is I don’t think he hits
So you pay your money and makes your choice.
In the eighth round the Braves selected the BA’s 205th ranked player Bradley Roney, a RHP out of Southern Mississippi. Roney was drafted at third base by the Orioles in 2011 and played regularly on the infield corners at Southern Mississippi.but he isn’t a great hitter – .226/.334/.335 – and success will come for him on the mound. Roney’s a raw talent with a quick arm with a fastball in the low 90s that occasionally touches 95 and a slider that could be an out pitch although it needs work to make it consistent while his low 80s changeup is seen only occasionally. He’s had some shoulder issues so the mechanics may need to be adjusted. He’s likely going to be a reliever but will have to work on control if he’s to be effective.
In the ninth round the Braves selected third baseman Jordan Edgerton (@jordanedgerton) out of UNC – Pembroke (NC). The 6-foot-1, 190 pound Edgerton tore up Division II baseball in 2013 posting .392/.419/.592/1.1011 line with 9 homers, 11 doubles, and 17 walks in 240AB while striking out just 14 times. He boasts an athletic, well defined body with room to get stronger. Hitting in an admittedly friendly home ballpark his line was .369/.429/.608 and included 31 XBH. He drives balls on the inner half with a pull-oriented stroke and the ball jumps off his bat. Even though he has a big swing and lots of power his bat-to-ball skills are good and he knows the strike zone. He struck just 3.6% of the time and featured a 0.82 K/BB ratio. As a third baseman he has an an average arm and solid hands but some see him moving to a corner outfield spot and others considered him a possible convert to catching. He’s aggressive on the base paths and a smart runner who stole 13 bases despite below-average speed.
Edgerton also took part in the Valley Baseball League last year as a member of the Woodstock River Bandits posting a .266 average in 154 regular season at bats. In the post season
In round 10, the last one I’ll be detailing, the Braves selected Matt Tellor, A 6’5” 210 first baseman out of Southeast Missouri University. Prior to the 2013 draft a scouting report said he had above-average power was short to ball and had a nice swing but expanded the zone too often. He apparently took that to heart because in the 2013 season he led Redhawks in hits (73), RBI (46), home runs (8) and total bases (114) and was second in slugging (.485), runs scored (38), and doubles (15). As you might expect with stats like that, he was on base more than once a game often. He had a nine game hitting streak and a run of 15 consecutive games where he was on base at least once. He had 23 multi-hit games and two of those were multi-homer games. Conference wide he was ninth in homers, RBI and total bases. That performance led to Tellor being named the 2014 Ohio Valley Conference Player of the Year. He was also a First Team All-OVC selection and on May 29th Collegiate Baseball and Baseball News.com named him a Louisville Slugger Second Team All-American
That’s A Wrap
The Braves apparently saw a lot they liked in North Carolina this year. They also seem to be putting together a basketball team at they drafted five players over 6’5”; perhaps they have a challenge match planned with the Nationals. I digress. While the first round is glitz and glamor there are a lot of very good baseball players taken in the later rounds. Some of the men I wrote about today could be in Atlanta soon, one could be there by the end of the year, so don’t get too wrapped up in draft round numbers. There are future All Star players in the late rounds, let’s hope the Braves find some.