I suspect the Braves are going to draft a high school pitcher with their first pick in the upcoming draft. Maybe it’ll be the right decision but high school pitchers are always a huge risk.
Of course they could use a bat, but the Braves have a history of whiffing on offense of late. In fact, they’ve struggled to develop position players of note since the glory days (Chipper, Javy, Klesko, Dye, et al). And that, combined with Liberty’s financial constraints, is why you have Adonis Garcia (2 doubles, 1 HR this year) batting clean-up.
A look back at Frank Wren’s drafts, from 2008 through 2014, tells the story. The best bat drafted during that period was Brandon Drury, selected in the 13th round in 2010, the same year they drafted Andrelton. A year later, they drafted Nick Ahmed in the second round and Tommy LaStella in the 8th.
And that’s it (save for scrubs like Kyle Kubitza and Joey Terdoslavich). When Wren went for offense with the first pick he struck out. Big time. Matt Lipka, drafted in 2011, has a .635 OPS in seven years in the organization. The 24-year-old outfielder is batting .233 at Mississippi.
Braxton Davidson, drafted first three years later, was supposed to supply a powerful left-handed bat. He’s hit 12 HR in 219 games and is in the midst of his worst season yet with Carolina, batting .217 with 2 homers.
The new administration targeted pitching almost exclusively in 2015. Third baseman Austin Riley, taken 41st overall, had a promising debut but has struggled mightily at Rome, striking out 66 times in 47 games with only 3 HR and a .663 OPS. Catcher Lucas Herbert, taken 13 picks later, has a .528 OPS for Rome.
If that’s not depressing enough, here’s tonight’s line-up:
Inciarte, Beckham 6, Freeman, Garcia, Markakis, Johnson 4, Pierzynski, Perez, Smith