Atlanta Braves 2014 Draft Picks: Scouting Profiles and Analysis
Welcome to the MLB draft, baseball fans! As the coverage and importance of the annual first-year player draft has evolved over the years, outlets like MLB Network and Bleacher Report have dedicated time to bringing fans knowledge and background on each player selected.
For the Atlanta Braves, consistent success in the NL East is driven by solid drafting and player development. Outside of the rare expensive free-agent signing, like B.J. Upton or Ervin Santana, future Braves success is built in early June.
Due to the signing of Santana to a one-year contract, Atlanta forfeited its own first-round selection, pushing general manager Frank Wren's initial pick to the compensation portion of the first round. At No. 32, the Braves made a selection that was garnered when free-agent catcher Brian McCann left Atlanta for the New York Yankees.
Over the next few days, bookmark this page and follow along as the Braves attempt to add young, high-ceiling players to a franchise nucleus that already includes Freddie Freeman, Andrelton Simmons, Mike Minor, Craig Kimbrel and Julio Teheran.
Round 1, Pick 32: Braxton Davidson, OF/1B, T.C. Roberson HS (NC)
After waiting through the first 31 selections of the night, the Atlanta Braves have added a talented left-handed hitter to a system that has produced homegrown left-handed bats like Freddie Freeman, Jason Heyward and Brian McCann.
In Davidson, Atlanta's system is now home to a 6'3", 215 pound slugger with the ability to morph into a middle of the order bat. Although many fans and analysts will look at Davidson with power projections, the newest member of the Braves system believes his hitting acumen is well-rounded and ready to surprise experts, per Zach Links of MLB Trade Rumors.
"People say I’m a power hitter, but I believe I’m more of a hitter with power than a power hitter that can’t hit. I can spray the ball all over the field," Davidson said. "If I get my pitch, I can turn on it, hit it in the gaps for a home run or a double."
During his final varsity season at T.C. Roberson, Davidson put up eye-opening numbers across 27 games, including a .587 on-base percentage and 35 hits, per Max Preps.
Round 2, Pick 66: Garrett Fulenchek, RHP, Howe HS (Texas)
In the second round, Atlanta chose to add to a longtime organizational strength by selecting starting pitching prospect Garrett Fulenchek out of Howe High School in Texas. With a fastball in the low 90s and a potentially nasty slider, Braves coaches will have a chance to mold Fulencheck into a high-end impact arm.
As Fulenchek enters a professional organization, the young righty owns a polished fastball-slider combination. In order to succeed against minor league and major league hitters, more secondary offerings will be needed. For his part, Fulencheck recognizes the need to harness his change up, per a recent conversation with Grace Raynor of MLB.com.
"My changeup has come a long way already from where it used to be, but I know I can still locate my changeup better," Fulenchek said. "When I miss, I miss bad."
After committing to Dallas Baptist University, Fulencheck will have to decide upon a future career with the Braves or three years before re-entering the draft. With the ability to learn from gifted pitching instructors and young power arms like Julio Teheran and Craig Kimbrel, expect Fulencheck to be signed before the August deadline.
Round 3, Pick 102: Max Povse, RHP, UNC Greensboro
When Atlanta's third round selection commenced, general manager Frank Wren chose to select a 6-foot-8, 220 pound right-handed pitcher with outstanding potential in Max Povse. Of course, when it comes to tall, lanky arms, command, control and the ability to consistently repeat a delivery are always major concerns.
Povse features a fastball that routinely clocks in around 91-93 mph, but can hit 95 on the gun. Thus far, a slider and change up have been cited as his secondary pitches, both of which will have to improve in order to get big league hitters out.
After watching video of Povse, it's clear that his fastball can level out and come in straight at times. In high school and college, a low-90s fastball is good enough to get hitters out, regardless of movement. If Povse is going to become an impact arm in Atlanta, keeping the ball down in the zone and locating the corners will be crucial.
Round 4, Pick 133: Chad Sobotka, RHP, University of South Carolina Upstate
With the 133rd overall selection, Atlanta landed its third high-upside arm of the early portion of the draft by selecting Chad Sobotka out of the University of South Carolina Upstate.
When scouring for Sobotka's 2014 statistics, don't expect to find big numbers or overwhelming totals. In fact, don't expect to find anything at all. The righty missed the entire 2014 collegiate season with a back injury. Despite that, the Braves felt comfortable enough to take him within the first five rounds.
The 2013 All-Atlantic Sun second team member was last seen with the Hyannis Harbor Hawks of the Cape Cod League, making 16 appearances. During those outings, the newest member of the Braves pitched to a 1.95 ERA while striking out 30 batters across 27 innings.
Round 5, Pick 163: Chris Diaz, LHP, Miami (FL)
Over the last four picks, it's become clear that the Atlanta Braves entered the 2014 draft with an eye on adding pitching. University of Miami lefty Chris Diaz is now aboard, making it four straight pitching selections for a franchise known for pitching excellence.
In Diaz, the Braves landed a pitcher with a pedigree of winning. During the 2014 campaign, the Miami Hurricanes star pitched a 9-0 record, earning ACC Co-Pitcher of the Year honors. During Diaz's 14 starts this season, Miami didn't lose a game. The southpaw allowed two-or-less earned runs in 11 of 14 starts for the Hurricanes.
Round 6, Pick 193: Keith Curcio, CF, Florida Southern College
Time will tell if Curcio can hit enough to become an everyday outfielder in the majors, but there's no denying his defensive prowess. The member of the NCAA Division II Gold Glove Team posted a 1.000 fielding percentage in 2014.
Round 7, Pick 223: Luke Dykstra, 2B, Westlake HS (CA)
From 1985-1996, Lenny Dykstra tortured the Atlanta Braves to the tune of an .854 OPS in head-to-head battles. The former New York Mets and Philadelphia Phillies star now has a son capable of righting those wrongs. In the younger Dykstra, Atlanta gets a similar player with speed and an intense on-field demeanor.
Round 8, Pick 253: Bradley Rony, RHP, Southern Mississippi
After rejecting an offer from the Orioles in the 2011 draft, Rony played both corner infield positions for Southern Mississippi during his time on campus, but enters the Braves organization as an unpolished reliever with fastball that can get hitters out. When Rony focuses solely on pitching, this pick could turn out to be a steal.
Round 9, Pick 283: Jordan Edgerton, 3B, UNC Pembroke
During Edgerton's final season at UNC Pembroke, the third baseman blistered opposing pitchers to the tune of a .369/.429/.608 slash line, with 11 HR and 13 stolen bases. Ironically, Pembroke's mascot also happens to be the Braves.
Round 10, Pick 313: Matt Tellor, 1B, Southeast Missouri St University
In Tellor, Atlanta landed the 2014 Ohio Valley Conference Player of the Year. With a 30/26 walk-to-strikeout ratio, a disciplined hitter will enter the Braves organization.
Round 11, Pick 343: Luis Gamez, RHP, Cienega HS (AZ)
Round 12, Pick 373: Patrick Dorrian, 2B, Kingston HS (NY)
Round 13, Pick 403: Caleb Beech, RHP, Shelton State CC (AL)
Round 14, Pick 433: Joseph Daris, CF, Azusa Pacific University (CA)
Round 15, Pick 463: Caleb Dirks, RHP, California Baptist University
Round 16, Pick 493: Brandon Barker, RHP, Mercer
Round 17, Pick 523: Ashton Perritt, RHP, Liberty University
Round 18, Pick 553: Jacob Webb, RHP, Tabor College
Round 19, Pick 583: Codey McElroy, SS, Cameron University (OK)
Round 20, Pick 613: Wigberto Nevarez, C, Lubbock Christian University
Round 21, Pick 643: Jake Godfrey, RHP, Providence Catholic HS (IL)
Round 22, Pick 673: Sean Godfrey, CF, Ball State
Round 23, Pick 703: Tanner Krietemeier, 1B, Oklahoma St University
Round 24, Pick 733: Kevin Reiher, C, Prairie St Colllege
Round 25, Pick 763: Kyle Kinman, LHP, Bellevue University
Round 26, Pick 793: Trevor Sprowl, 2B, Auburn University at Montgomery
Round 27, Pick 823: Carl Stajduhar, 1B, Rocky Mountain HS (CO)
Round 28, Pick 853: Matt Sims, RHP, University of Texas-San Antonio
Round 29, Pick 883: Dazon Cole, RHP, West Bloomfield HS (MI)
Round 30, Pick 913: Jered James, OF, Sacramento CC (CA)
Round 31, Pick 943: Salvatore Giardina, C, Lynn U (FL)
Round 32, Pick 973: Tucker Baca, LHP, North Gwinnett HS (GA)
Round 33, Pick 1003: Doug Still, LHP, Sikeston HS (MO)
Round 34, Pick 1033: Nick Leonard, RHP, Mountain Vista HS (CO)
Round 35, Pick 1063: Ryan Kokora, RHP, Fairview HS (CO)
Round 36, Pick 1093: Larry Crisler, CF, Bishop Noll Institute School (IN)
Round 37, Pick 1123: Gavin Sheets, 1B, Gilman School (MD)
Round 38, Pick 1153: J.J. Franco, 2B, Brown
Round 39, Pick 1183: Grayson Byrd, SS, King's Ridge Christian School (GA)
Round 40, Pick 1213: Randy Santiesteban, 2B, Peru St Col (NE)
Comment, follow me on Twitter or "like" my Facebook page to talk about all things baseball.