Prep Baseball Report

Draft Forecast: Atlanta Braves

Nathan Rode
National Supervisor

Atlanta BravesTEAM: Atlanta Braves
PICK: 8 (Slot: $4,980,700)
POOL: $8,267,300

2017: Kyle Wright, RHP, Vanderbilt (5th overall)
2016: Ian Anderson, RHP, Shenendehowa HS, NY (3rd overall)
2015: Kolby Allard, LHP, San Clemente HS, CA (14th overall)
2014: Braxton Davidson, OF, Roberson HS, NC (32nd overall)
2013: Jason Hursh, RHP, Oklahoma State (31st overall)

HISTORY: The Braves have had eight first-round picks since 2013, using five on high school arms and two on high school bats. Before jumping on RHP Kyle Wright (Vanderbilt), who fell to them at No. 5 last year, OF Jason Hursh (Oklahoma State) in 2013 was their last college first-round pick.

FORECAST: It’s easy to tie the Braves to local high school talent, but the top Georgia preps aren’t likely in play here. RHP Kumar Rocker (North Oconee HS, GA) looked like an easy top-10 pick early in the season, but a hamstring injury slowed him the second half of the spring. Getting LHP Matthew Liberatore (Mountain Ridge HS, AZ) would be a coup. OF Jarred Kelenic (Waukesha West HS, WI) represents the best high school bat available and RHP Carter Stewart (Eau Gallie HS, FL) is a strong possibility. While they are contending in the National League East, the Braves are young team with a deep farm system so there isn’t a need to go for a prospect that has a quick path to the big leagues. If they go the college route, it’ll be because someone fell, a la Wright in 2017.

Matthew Liberatore, LHP, Mountain Ridge HS, AZ
PBR Draft Board: 3
FB: 50/60            CB: 60/70            CH: 50/60
While this wasn't his best outing, Liberatore's body of work and projection makes him a sure fire first rounder and candidate to go first overall. He pitches with an average fastball that tends to sit around 90 after the first inning, but has touched some big numbers early in outings. I am comfortable projecting a plus fastball and wouldn't be shocked if he makes a big jump to a 70 fastball due to the combination of projection in his body and athletic delivery. The curveball is his best pitch at present, often showing plus with tight rotation and late downward break. (Jordon Banfield)

Find Liberatore's full report in the Draft HQ.

Jarred Kelenic, OF, Waukesha West HS, WI
HIT: 50/60            POWER: 40/50            SPEED: 70/70            DEFENSE: 50/60            ARM: 60/70
At 6-foot-1, 190 pounds, Kelenic has advanced strength and rock-solid muscle throughout his frame. He’s an overall explosive, polished and quick-twitch athlete, a true five-tool prospect. He has a polished offensive approach, as he is extremely balanced, quiet, consistent and explosive at the plate. He consistently makes hard contact, driving the ball to all fields and is strong through contact, generating advanced bat speed. (Sean Duncan)

Find Kelenic's full report in the Draft HQ.

Carter Stewart, RHP, Eau Gallie HS, FL
PBR Draft Board: 11

FB: 55/60            CB: 60/70
Stewart has the best true curveball in the draft class. There is a lot to like in the stuff, but his demeanor may be equally impressive. He shows very little emotion and seems to always be under control. The curveball has been plus, but the rise and consistency of better velocity on the fastball is what has him climbing boards. He has a proportional, extra-large frame with long arms and legs. (Doug Freeman)

Find Stewart's full report in the Draft HQ.

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