With only 160 draftees, the Atlanta Braves could have solid leftovers available.
In an otherwise normal draft, the Atlanta Braves would be mulling over forty different names as part of a 1200+ class of players taken overall.
My friend Fred has already pointed out the history of Braves draftees coming after Round 5.. and it isn’t pretty.
But what if you could change the equation? What if you didn’t have to wait on 29 other teams to make selections? What if you got some players who could choose a team as much as the team choosing the player?
That’s the situation that will unfold starting on Sunday morning when the draft is over and something I’ll call the “amateur free agency” period begins.
Starting then, all draft-eligible players not getting a call in these 5 rounds will be free to either stay in school or to sign a $20,000 contract with a team interested in them.
The money isn’t particularly great (that $20K is the maximum allowed), but for players in certain situations, it still might work for them — especially if they come into pro ball with the attitude they there’s something they want to prove about themselves.
In fact, nearly all players beyond Round 5 have some sort of “flaw” (for lack of a better word) in their game that made teams pass on them. It will be up to the savvy clubs to discern flaw from (latent) feature as they project some of these kids going forward.
The better ones: yes, they may very well return to school in the hopes of getting drafted next year. Many of the high school kids will take this route.
Some of the players already in college may not be able to return to their schools for some reason or another. Their scholarships might be given away, their age might be a factor, or — in the case of Furman University — their entire baseball program might be taken away.
With all that said, here’s five names — among those 1200-plus — that the Atlanta Braves might want to give a phone call to this weekend if they remain undrafted.