As day one of the 2017 MLB draft has concluded, the Braves have added two more high ceiling prospects to their deep farm system.
1st Round: Pick #5
The Braves stayed true to their theme of building around pitching in the first round and selected Vanderbilt right-handed pitcher Kyle Wright. Wright sits 91-94 with a high of 97. During his career at Vanderbilt he averaged 10.2 K/9, 3.0 BB/9, 7.1 H/9. He is by far one of the most high ceiling pitching prospects in this draft class. Leading up to the draft, some scouts and analysts had going going number 1 overall before falling to the Braves at 5. With a smooth and easy delivery, he projects to be a frontline starter with a consistent feel for the strike zone. Braves and MLB Hall of Famer John Smoltz had this to say about Wright: “I don’t see a lot of flaws in his mechanics. It looks clean, it looks athletic.It doesn’t look like he’s using a lot of energy to throw a baseball. These are the attributes of an athlete that has a high ceiling.”. With Wright being a developed college arm, expect the Braves to push Wright aggressively through the system like they have with 2015 draft picks Kolby Allard and Mike Soroka. High-A ball seems likely for Wright this season with the possibility of seeing him in Mississippi next season.
2nd Round: Pick #41
With the 41st pick, the Braves selected Georgia native and UGA signee Drew Waters. A switch hitting OF, Waters projects to be an athletic body capable of hitting for power from both sides of the plate. Scouting director Brian Bridges said after the selection: “We really like his switch-hit, power-speed combo.”. According to Grant McAuley of 92.9 The Game, seldom do the Braves take High School prep bats early in the draft. These are the highest prep hitters taken over the last decade: 2006 Cody Johnson(24), 2007 Jason Heyward(14), 2007 Jon Gilmore(33), 2010 Matt Lipka(35), 2014 Braxton Davidson(32). Clearly, only one of those draft choices worked out. However, Waters has all the tools to be successful once he fully develops. The task for now is to sign Waters. He has the choice to sign 41st overall or continue on and play his scholarship offer at UGA.
There’s a lot to be excited about with the Braves first two draft choices. They have continued to stock their farm with high profile talent and will look to build upon that in the remaining rounds.