Atlanta Braves sign three undrafted players on Day 1

The post-draft free-for-all is underway and the Atlanta Braves are involved.

Sunday morning marked the first day that teams were allowed to prowl about and see if draft-eligible-yet-undrafted amateur free agents would like to turn pro.  In these first few hours, the Atlanta Braves have already inked three such players.

The names are not going to be familiar to most (and indeed, none of these were ranked in Baseball America’s Top 500 draft prospects list).  Still – they are all part of the Braves Country family now, so let’s meet each one of them:

 

CARTER LINTON

  • RHP, Tusculum University (Greeneville, TN; Division II)
  • 6’/195 Senior
  • Fastball sits in the low 90’s; Changeup 10mph less; Curve 75-82.
  • Signing confirmed via twitter

A reliever for the Pioneers, Linton made 11 appearances this season in their 25 games and pitched 13.1 innings in the process.

He had a 1-1 record with 1 save.  The more key stats were these:  20 strikeouts and 7 walks.  Hitters did get to him a bit:  .273 BAA with one homer allowed, but overall was charged with a 1.35 ERA (2 earned runs of 5 total scoring against him).

All of that works out to a 1.65 WHIP – not the best, of course, but he’s got enough for the Braves to take a look at.

Linton did a bit of marketing for himself (as a recent college grad, this is often a good idea!) by posting a video of himself throwing with Rapsodo stats shown.

He’s definitely got the ‘spin efficiency’ metric down along with a bit of funkiness in his delivery that appears to hide the ball reasonably well.  He’ll have a chance to see what he can do with it at the pro level.

 

LANDON STEPHENS

Landon hit .310 in 2019 with 9 homers, 21 doubles, and 35 walks (led team in each category) and 46 RBI while playing both second and third base.

Started out similarly in 2020 also: 3 homers, .311, 5 doubles, and 18 RBI while hitting third for the Redhawks.  That .311 mark was the lowest he’d been at during the season to that point (hurt by taking an 0-for-7 collar against Wright State).

Had just 13K in his 61 AB during 2020 – and 8 walks while slugging in the neighborhood of .574 and OPS’ing close to .970.  In his last game before the shutdown, he took a Penn State hurler deep for a 3-run jack — the key blow in a 5-1 Miami victory.

 

BRYSON HORNE

Bryson Horne carries a big bat… and has also been hitting for average for the Division II Chargers.

As a freshman, he hit .446.  As a sophomore, he hit .376.  When his 21 played games were completed in early March, he was hitting .425 as a junior.

This came with 6 homers, 6 doubles, and 16 singles in 80 AB.  He also drove in 28 runs and was walked 13 times.  That’ll play.

Oh, you wanna know about the strikeouts?  Just 8 of them.

In the field, he was charged with just one error this year.

Horne – batting cleanup – got things started this year with a bang:  a 4-for-5 day against St. Leo in a 10-7 victory.  His average never dipped below .356 on the (short) season.

 

Atlanta Braves Strategy?

The Braves are going after college kids.  That much was never in doubt.  What they also appear to be doing, though, is targeting players on DII and mid-major schools… those who might be among the better players on teams that don’t get a lot of notice.

Don’t expect these to be the only recruits added… in a normal year, 40 are drafted and roughly 20-25 will sign.  Getting another handful (anywhere from 6-15 of them) would be helpful to fill out minor league rosters for next year after the recent releases… while anticipating the reduction of one team in the farm sequence.

Next: Hot and Cold Drafts

But this is the first wave – and it could be a nice indication of how the Atlanta Braves are attempting to add some talented wild cards.