Reporting Grant McAuley
The 2013 MLB First-Year Player Draft is just days away, and teams are busy narrowing down candidates and finalizing draft boards. There is a certain amount of strategy and luck that goes with the draft, especially for a team like the Atlanta Braves.
Predicting who will be available by the time the 31st overall pick comes around is an inexact science to say the least, but therein lies the fun when it comes to mock drafts and projections.
Dozens of draft experts and self-proclaimed “prospect junkies” have been in their element over the past few weeks to navigate the ever-changing landscape of draft hopefuls as they attempt to sculpt a list of possibilities that caters to positional value, individual talents, projectability and team needs.
The first round can be tricky, especially in the early picks. Does a team simply draft the best player available or do they select the most talented player they believe they can sign?
Given a later selection, Braves general manager Frank Wren and company do not have to deal with that exact set of variables or that kind of pressure. However, they will have to study the player pool for a quality young talent to bolster what has traditionally been one of the best farm systems in all of baseball.
The MLB draft is unlike its professional counterparts. Players selected in baseball are almost certainly destined for some amount of seasoning in the minor leagues, with very rare exceptions.
That means that gauging the results of the draft will take months and even years in some cases. How well will a given front office do? The answer will only come in time.
Below is a list of expert picks gathered from various sites over the past few weeks. While the MLB draft is impossible to predict, consider this a collection of highly educated guesses when it comes forecasting Atlanta’s top target.
|Mike Rosenbaum||Bleacher Report||Marco Gonzales, LHP, Gonzaga|
|Adam Wells||Bleacher Report||Marco Gonzales, LHP, Gonzaga|
|Jim Callis||Baseball America||Hunter Green, LHP, Warren East HS (KY)|
|Jonathan Mayo||MLB.com||Travis Demeritte, 3B, Winder Barrow HS (GA)|
|Dave Perkin||SI.com||JP Crawford, SS, Lakewood HS (CA)|
|Matt Garrioch||Minor League Ball||Hunter Green, LHP, Warren East HS (KY)|
|John Sickels||Minor League Ball||Bobby Wahl, RHP, University of Mississippi|
|Chris Crawford||MLB Draft Insider||Aaron Blair, RHP, Marshall|
|Jim Vassallo||Rule 4 Draft||Eric Jagielo, 3B/OF, Notre Dame|
Pitching is always a focus for each team on draft day and beyond. Atlanta has been an organization built on pitching for the better part of two decades, so it is no surprise to see a higher percentage of the various experts leaning that way in 2013.
While this panel is mixed on high school or college as well as pitcher or position player, the Braves will be looking to execute a plan that nets the most valuable pieces at the right times in order to continue stocking an already impressive player development system.