For the first time in awhile, it looks as if the Braves drafted some bona fide big league talent.
For a kid who’s pitched just six professional innings, top pick Kolby Allard has raised a lot of hopes, striking out 12, walking none and allowing one hit. It’s the smallest of sample sizes but it’s clear this Allard is no Sean Gilmartin and Jason Hursh.
The Braves’ third pick overall has been even more impressive, filling a gargantuan hole in the Braves system. Austin Riley has done nothing but dominate, first w/ the GCL Braves, now in Danville. He’s hitting.308 through 58 games, with 12 HR, 14 doubles and 23 walks. That’s a .941 OPS. The right-handed hitter is batting .317 against lefties, .308 vs. righties. He hits in the daylight (.288) and night (.337). And he keeps getting better, hitting .474 over his last 10 games.
Rio Ruiz, acquired in the Evan Gattis deal, had been a major disappointment through the season’s first four months, but hit .311-.363-.495 in August. He just turned 21 in May, so his early struggles shouldn’t be too alarming. I still think the Braves will come out on top in that trade.
Lucas Sims has also staged a dramatic turnaround. In his last five starts, covering 29 IP, the 2012 1st round pick has allowed just 5 runs and 14 hits while striking out 34 (and walking 14). Command remains the biggest obstacle for Sims, who’s walked 53 in 85-2/3 IP.
Teammate John Gant has been terrific since coming over from the Mets in the KJ/Uribe trade, winning four of six Mississippi Brave starts with a 1.54 ERA, 0.97 WHIP and 39 K’s in 35 IP.
See, losing ain’t all bad. Based on their first draft, I feel pretty good about Hart and Co. holding the number one overall pick.
Ya gotta believe!