They were selected with the third overall pick in the amateur draft. The Braves have picked third three times since moving to Atlanta, with mixed results.
No complaints about Avery, though Robin Ventura, Tino Martinez and Brian Jordan — drafted later in the first round in 1988 — had longer, more productive careers.
Ken Dayley, drafted third in 1980, had a decent stint as a reliever. That happened in St. Louis, where he was dealt in exchange for Ken Oberkfell, which tells you all you need to know. In the Braves’ defense, it was a weak draft.
The 1976 draft was anything but. The Braves could’ve drafted Rickey Henderson, Jack Morris, Wade Boggs, Ozzie Smith, Alan Trammell, Willie McGee, Mike Scott, Leon Durham, Bruce Hurst or Mike Scioscia. Instead they squandered the third overall pick on Ken Smith, who hit .268 in 56 ABs as a utility player for Atlanta.
No telling who the Braves will draft with the third pick this year. It could be a hard-throwing high school pitcher: right-hander Riley Pint or southpaw Jason Groome. Baseball America’s Jim Callis thinks they’ll go with a college bat, namely Mercer OF Kyle Lewis. High school pitchers scare me, so I’d opt for Lewis, if he’s still available.
Let’s just hope he’s not the next Ken Smith.