The first day of the 2014 Major League Baseball amateur player draft is in the books. While the very top went according to plan, the intrigue and excitement of the MLB draft is unlike the other major, American professional sports. Most of these top talents, even the ones taken at the very beginning of the first round, won't see game action at the highest level for another couple of years or more.
That is just the nature of the beast, especially when drafting high school players.
For the Atlanta Braves, who didn't own a first-round pick after losing it by signing Ervin Santana prior to the season, this may still be the case even through Round 1 and into the compensatory selections of Day 1.
With their first selection of the day, the Braves took high school outfielder Braxton Davidson. By all accounts, this was a very nice selection by Atlanta.
Davidson is one of the highest-upside hitters in the draft, a lefty with both power and contact skills. ESPN's Keith Law (subscription required) ranked Davidson as the 16th-best prospect in the entire draft. Grabbing him with the 32nd pick is a huge boon.
Taking a possible mid-order bat was smart for Atlanta as well because its farm system currently lacks pro potential hitters at the top of the organization. Davidson may move right in as one of the best hitting prospects the Braves have.
However, the reason a player with this level of hitting upside dropped is because he has a long way to go to develop and also may lack a position on defense.
Through the minor league levels, he will hopefully be able to further develop his eye at the plate and his power. But more importantly for seeming like an asset to the major league club, Davidson would be able to hone his defensive skills.
Listed as an outfielder, Davidson is more of a first baseman in that he can't play outfield all that well. As a member of the Braves, this would delay his MLB promotion, especially since first base is already occupied in Atlanta for a long time.
Because he is such a young bat and a question mark in the other parts of his game, his estimated MLB arrival date is: 2018.
Atlanta wasn't done on Day 1 after selecting Davidson, though. In the second round, with the 66th pick, the Braves took high school pitcher Garrett Fulenchek.
The 77th overall prospect, according to Law, Fulenchek may have been a slight reach for Atlanta in the second round. However, the righty has two reliable pitches already in his sinking fastball and slider.
He is a big kid with a big arm who needs to develop a third pitch in his arsenal. That often takes time, especially if Atlanta wants to bring him up as a starter and not a bullpen piece. Of course, young arms are often called up early to aid the big league club out of the pen.
Fulenchek may follow that trend, which would push his estimated MLB arrival date up a bit: 2016.