Atlanta Braves net high school catcher Antonio Barranca

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A 1940's vintage catcher's mitt. The Atlanta Braves signed a young catcher today. (Photo by John Kanuit Photography/Sports Studio Photos/Getty Images)

In a surprise, the Atlanta Braves ink undrafted high schooler Barranca.

By now, we should be familiar with this new and unfamiliar process:  with just five rounds in this year's MLB draft, the Atlanta Braves are their29 rivals are now allowed to scour the country for eligible players who were not drafted.

Teams can offer these players a maximum of $20,000 in bonus monies to exploi... er, acquire their talents as a new member of a professional organization.

In other words, even scholarship opportunities are being limited as some teams apparently saw a loophole in the rules.  Shame on MLB - that has traditionally been a nice perk for high school draftees in the past:  the chance for a delayed education if the baseball track didn't work out.

The signing period opened up on Sunday morning, and the Atlanta Braves immediately inked three college players.  But today... a surprise:  a high school kid.

 

ANTONIO BARRANCA

  • Hometown:  York, PA
  • School:  Calvert Hall College HS (Towson, MD)
  • 6'2"/215 (in 2018), close to 19 years old.
  • Position:  primarily catcher, possibly 3B
  • Confirmed by tweet from his High School

Like many Northern schools, Barranca's team never got started in 2020.  In 2019, he was a junior as Calvert Hall went 24-6 and won their state championship.  Stats aren't available from the school, so we have to look around the edges a bit.

Here is a 2-year-old Perfect Game video showing Barranca... when he already looked older than he must have been at the time (16).  Here's a link to some additional videos.

Max Preps has incomplete data from 2019 that are of the "small sample size" variety, but nonetheless interesting:  a slash line of .571/.667/.904/1.572 over 30 plate appearances (12 hits, 2 homers, 2K, 3BB).

Here's a nice note on him from a 2018 game:

Barranca looks like he's got raw power aplenty with a line-drive swing.  His videos suggest that some refinement in fielding and at the plate would be helpful, but given what he's already done, this looks to be a nice "project" pickup -- especially if he ends up sticking behind the plate.

He's got flaws (of course - otherwise, he'd have been drafted), but it appears that he definitely wants to pursue professional baseball.

Next: 'When and Where?' or 'Never and Nowhere!'

Given that he had his choice of teams, it's great to see him choose the Atlanta Braves.  Welcome to Braves Country, Antonio!