Sunday, June 5, 2016

Worst 5 Braves Drafts Since 2000 - #3

Continuing with my alternating Best/Worst Drafts since 2000 series. This year's draft probably should be one of the worst drafts since 2000 for any other organization. It ranks just third for the Braves.

Best/Worst Drafts since 2000
Worst: #5, 2009 | #4, 2004 | #3, 2013 | #2, 2011 | #1, 2001
Best: #5, 2010 | #4, 2015 | #3, 2007 | #2, 2002 | #1, 2000

By Tate Nations (Own work) [CC BY-SA 4.0],
via Wikimedia Commons
3rd Worst Draft Since 2000...The 2013 Draft 

Easily the most frustrating thing about the Atlanta Braves under Frank Wren and Tony DeMacio was the draft. Tabbed as Wren's choice to head up scouting at the end of 2009 and a long-time scout who scouted, among others, Tom Glavine and Chipper Jones, DeMacio either had his hands tied by financial limitations or was given an edict to bring in college-age talent with a chance to climb quickly to the bigs. Whatever the case, 2013 continued a string of mostly bad drafts under their leadership until both were relieved of their duties after the disappointing 2014 season.

The Braves gave up their first round pick to sign Melvin Upton, but would receive a compensation pick after the Indians signed Michael Bourn. Atlanta would select 31st, 65th, 102nd, and after the third round, their pick was frozen as the 27th of each round.

When their first pick came around, players like Aaron Judge (30th), Ian Clarkin (18th), Sean Manaea (10th), and Aaron Blair (41st) were still on the board. Those numbers I included reflect their ranking in Baseball America's Pre-Draft Top 250. Instead of taking any of those players, Atlanta settled on righty Jason Hursh out of Oklahoma State and ranked 50th by BA. Two of the four not taken have already made it to the majors with a third likely to get a callup sometime this season. Hursh...not so likely.

Thirty-four picks later, Atlanta went with Miami-Dade Junior College C/3B Victor Caratini, ranked 123rd, with the 65th overall pick. Unlike some other Wren/DeMacio drafts, the Braves did sprinkle in some high school selections like third rounder Carlos Salazar and fourth round selection Tanner Murphy. The former was a good value pick at 102nd overall while Murphy was considered a reach. Mikey Reynolds and Steve Janas, along with Ian Stiffler, were decent show-me players, but hardly big time value selections. In fact, possibly their biggest value pick after Salazar was 8th rounder Kyle Wren. While the Braves had done this before with Jon Schuerholz, it's worth mentioning that Frank's son was ranked as high as 210th by BA before the draft and was selected with the 253rd overall selection.

After Wren, Atlanta took a trio of high schoolers in Dylan Manwaring, Ian Hagenmiller, and Alec Grosser, before again focusing on college kids like Joseph Odom and Matt Marksberry. The latter would become the first and, so far, only major leaguer out of the 2013 draft. Other notable names from the draft include Tyler Brosius (21st round), Andrew Waszak (22nd round), Reed Harper (25th round), Dakota Dill (26th round), and Jake Schrader (27th round). Players drafted, but who did not sign, include Stephen Wrenn and Jacob Heyward, Jason Heyward's baby brother. Both would head to big-time college programs.

The key to the 2013 draft was supposed to be the hard-throwing California, Salazar. However, now in his fourth year, he was moved to the bullpen after starting failed and his control has not been aided. He has the strange distinction this year of walking one per inning, yet his ERA is under 1.00 (21 BB in 21 ING). He's also struck out 26 and only allowed five hits.

Also moved to the bullpen was Hursh, who was pushed to the pen last summer. Not exactly what the Braves were hoping for when they drafted him. Murphy's bat has been non-existent over the last nearly 130 games, but at least he's still in the organization. Reynolds was cut a month into his first full season of professional ball. Three other Top 10 picks have been cut by the organization in Stiffler, Manwaring, and Hagenmiller. Janas is still around and probably the most likely player to play for the Braves who was drafted in 2013 aside from Marksberry, though Janas is a long way away from being a shoe-in. Two others are more likely to get to the majors before  Janas, but are no longer with the Braves. Caratini was traded to the Cubs for James Russell. Wren was sent packing to cut ties with his family.

The 2013 draft was an utter failure from the first pick until the last, though I suppose there remains some hope the Braves will salvage a decent player out of this draft. Salazar could, theoretically, harness his electric stuff and a player like Grosser, has shown both promise and crushing failure. On the plus side, Atlanta has added to their 2013 draft with the additions of Blair (#36th), Andrew Thurman (#40th), Dustin Peterson (#50th), and - briefly - Jordan Paroubeck, who was selected #69th overall. I guess the 2013 draft could be beneficial for the Braves after all.

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