Braves > Recapping the Braves 2015 Draft

| June 13, 2015

Braves Baseball

Kyle Taylor, Valdosta Today Sports

In the 2014-2015 offseason, the Atlanta Braves organization decided that it was time to go in a new direction with the team. President John Scheurholz began these changes by bringing in new GM, John Hart, to replace Frank Wren.

With a new GM and a new ballpark to be ready in 2017, the Braves are now focusing on what kind of players they want to draft to build for the future of the organization.

There were also changes to the scouting department this offseason. Brian Bridges took over as the scouting director, while the team also brought back Roy Clark, who served as the Braves scouting director from 2000-2009, as a special assistant to the general manager. Clark was responsible for drafting players like Brian McCann, Kris Medlen, Jason Heyward, Freddie Freeman, Craig Kimbrel, and Mike Minor.

Bridges told Mark Bowman before the draft, “We will be targeting high school athletes who did more than just tour the showcase circuit.”

Last season the Braves lost a draft pick after signing Ervin Santana to a one year deal. This season, the Braves gained a pick after Santana left for Minnesota, plus a pick in the Kimbrel trade. This was the most first day draft picks the Braves owned since 2006.

The Braves selected a 6’2, 175 pound left-handed pitcher from San Clemente High School in California, Kolby Allard. According to the perfectgame.org, “Absolutely dominant at PG AA game. Easy mid 90’s fastball, Commands all his pitches. Good breaking ball and change up.”

Many thought Allard could have been a top five overall draft pick if it were not for a back injury that Allard claims he is ready to put behind him. ESPN’s Keith Law had Allard ranked the sixth overall prospect despite the injury. The Braves made the selection with the 14th overall pick.

There was talk before the draft that the Braves were getting back to the “Braves way”. That may not mean much for those fans that followed the team in the 70’s and 80’s, but for fans of the 90’s and early 2000’s that could only mean Atlanta was getting back to focusing on solid pitching.

With their second selection in the first round at pick number 28, the Braves selected a 17-year-old, right-handed pitcher out of Canada named Mike Soroka. The young pitcher is 6’5, 210 pounds with a low 90’s fastball with movement. Soroka was not projected to be a first rounder by Keith Law, or Baseball America, but it is likely that the Braves will be able to sign him for less money.

The Braves went on to select 24 more pitchers in this year’s draft, including ten consecutive from the 5th to the 14th rounds. Atlanta grabbed a third baseman out of Mississippi in the third round named Austin Riley and a catcher in the fourth named Lucas Herbert, who was Allard’s catcher in high school.

None of the Braves first rounders in the last five years are currently on the MLB team. However, last year’s first pick, outfielder Braxton Davidson, is developing well at Class-A Rome.

With the 2015 draft completed and all the offseason acquisitions, the Braves find themselves inching closer to having one of the deepest minor league systems in all of MLB. The true elite prospect is not there, but one would be hard pressed to find another team that has the amount of young arms that should be ready between 2016-2019.

Oh, and the Braves are right on the heals of the Mets and Nationals for the NL East, with a division battle against the Mets this weekend at Citi Field.

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