Grading Atlanta Braves’ 2019 MLB draft: Picks 10-1

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Representatives from all 30 Major League Baseball teams fill Studio 42 during the MLB First-Year Player Draft. (Photo by Rich Schultz/Getty Images)

Braves’ 2019 draft: picks 11-1

PLAYERLAST LVLGRADE
2B, Cody MilliganDanvilleB
RHP, Ricky DeVitoRomeA
RHP, Darius VinesDanvilleB
RHP, Tanner GordonDanvilleA
OF, Stephen PaoliniGCLB
RHP, Kasey KalichRomeA
OF, Michael HarrisRomeA
SS, Beau PhilipDanvilleB
SS, Braden ShewmakeMississippiA
C, Shea LangeliersRomeB

 

(all ages listed are for 2020 season)

No. 10, Cody Milligan, 2B

21-years-old — 5’10”, 185 lbs.

Grade: B

2019 stats: 59 games, .252 AVG, 1 home run, 7 doubles, 12 RBI, 12 stolen bases

Listed as a utility player on some sites, Milligan hit .453 and was 30-for-30 in steals at Cowley County Community College in 2019 (he transferred from OK State), before being taken in the 9th round by the Braves. His performance in Danville wasn’t earth-shattering, but he held his own at the plate and showed off his speed by successfully converting 12 of his 18 stolen base attempts. Milligan is projected as a second baseman, but has experience in the outfield and even behind the plate at catcher.

 

No. 9, Ricky DeVito, RHP

21-years-old — 6’3″, 195 lbs.

Grade: A

2019 stats: 8 starts, 4 app., 36.2 innings, 3.44 ERA, 8.6 K/9, 3.9 BB/9

The 2018 Big East Pitcher of the Year has already made it on a Braves’ prospect ranking lists, with his sinking 94-mph fastball and plus-secondary pitches. DeVito had a strong showing in his first taste of pro ball, starting in the GCL and ending the 2019 season in Single-A Rome. He certainly had a tougher time at the latter level (his K rate fell from 10.9 to 5.9 batters nine), but he maintained his ability to prevent runs, sporting a 3.78 ERA in 16.2 innings at the full-season level (on par with his overall mark for the year). 2020 will be DeVito’s age-21 season (turns 22 in August).

 

No. 8, Darius Vines, RHP

22-years-old — 6’1″, 190 lbs.

Grade: B

2019 stats: 11 starts, 1 app., 32.1 innings, 6.68 ERA, 9.7 K/9, 2.8 BB/9

Vines was finally drafted high enough to actually sign in 2019, as the Braves took the 6-foot-1 righty in the 7th round. He made one appearance in the GCL (1 IP/ 1 ER) before being moved up to Danville, where he finished out the year and ran into some rough luck. Vines’ 6.00+ ERA looks bad, but the 21-year-old pitched to a much more respectable 4.38 FIP in 31.1 innings at the Rookie-Advanced level.

 

No. 7, Tanner Gordon, RHP

22-years-old — 6’5″, 215 lbs.

Grade: A

2019 stats: 13 app., 24.1 innings, 2.22 ERA, 13.3 K/9, 4.4 BB/9, 2 HR

Fresh off an 87.1-inning year as a starter at Indiana University, Gordon mowed through the Appy League as one of Danville’s best pitchers in 2019. Gordon, a 6-foot-5, 215-pound righty, features a mid-90s fastball and was actually projected as more of a pitch-to-contact type, but ended up striking out 36 batters in just 24.1 innings. His extraordinary K rate should return closer to his level in college (9.3 K/9) as he faces stiffer competition in the minors.

 

No. 6, Stephen Paolini, OF

19-years-old — 6’2″, 195 lbs.

Grade: B

2019 stats: 35 games, .192 AVG, 6 doubles, 8 RBI, 2 stolen bases

Paolini just turned 19 in November and looks to be an athletic and toolsy outfielder. Playing against guys a year in a half older than him in the GCL, Paolini struck out around 30% of the time and hit under .200, but he played all over the outfield (including CF) and has the potential to be a solid player as he matures. A full season in 2020 will tell us more.

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