The Atlanta Braves went where no one expected for their pick at #21, selecting Texas A&M shortstop Braden Shewmake.
He’s reed-thin at 6’-4 and 190-pounds but has the bat speed to turn on balls, and with added weight can conditioning could become a 15 homer infielder.
Undrafted out of high school, Shewmake stuck with his plan to attend Texas A&M, where he won Southeastern Conference Freshman of the Year as A&M made their way to the College World Series two years ago,
At the plate
Shewmake started his college career with a bang, posting a .328/.374/.529/.903 slash line with 11 homers, 18 doubles, and seven triples. He also swiped 11 bags.
During his sophomore year, Shewmake moved to shortstop permanently, and while he still made contact and got on base consistently, his power numbers dropped off a bit to a .325/.395/.450/.845 line with five homers, seven doubles, and four triples.
He upped his stolen base total to 12 in 2018 and increased his walks while cutting strikeouts. This year looks much like last with few stolen bases and more walks.
Watching his video, I knew immediately recognized a comp all the way around, see if you agree. Shewmake is taller, but at the plate, the swing is the same.
That’s a wrap
At first glance, Shewmake looks like an odd choice - possibly a below-slot signing- there were other shortstops with flashier tools who dropped into the comp A round.
Obviously, the Braves liked him, though:
He appears to be a toolsy player with a high upside; a Craig Counsell type super-utility player. Depending who you read, he either has average speed (Pipeline) or plus speed (Baseball America). Whichever is right he has the instincts of a player raised by a baseball coach.
He plays all infield positions well, though his arm isn't as strong as most like at short, Scouts seemed to think he could play center field too. On the MLB Network broadcast, Ben Zobrist's name was being thrown around as the possibility of a super-utility guy was raised.
If the deal ends up below slot, look for an over-slot pitcher signing or two in rounds three through ten on Tuesday.