Top Pick: Matt Lipka – SS – McKinney HS, TX. 1s – 35 Overall. H.S. teammate in both football and baseball to LA Dodger 1st round draft pick (28th overall) Zach Lee, Lipka will focus on baseball as a professional. Having lost their 1st round pick (#20 overall), as a result of signing Billy Wagner, the Braves quickly signed Lipka to an $800,000.00 bonus.
Closest to Majors: Todd Cunningham – 3B – Jacksonville State. 2nd – 53 Overall. Cunningham performed well with wood bats in the Cape last summer, and he’s a switch hitter. While I think he’s more of an outfielder than a 3B, his bat will cause him to move quickly.
Long Shot to Sign: Stefan Sabol – C – Aliso Niguel HS, (CA) (17th Round) and Zach Alvord – 2B – South Forsyth HS (GA) (18th Round). Sabol has 1st round talent, and while he may not have the arm to remain at catcher, he’ll likely get the chance to prove me wrong at Oregon next season. Alvord is committed to Auburn and he’s unlikely to sign. One of the more advanced prep bats in the draft, Alvord should become an immediate offensive producer in the SEC next spring. While both are long shots to sign, I applaud the Braves for taking a shot at premium talent this late in the draft.
Overall: The Braves played it pretty conservative early in the draft and they’re already seeing the benefits of their draft strategy, with each of their first 10 selections already signed (and 32 of 50 thus far). Major College veterans Phil Gosselin – 2B – UVA (5th Round) and Joey Terdoslavich – 3B – Long Beach State (6th Round), will add depth to a system that has graduated premiere prospects Tommy Hanson and Jason Heyward in recent years. Grade: B