Selecting a high school pitcher with a top 10 pick generally doesn’t work out, but when it does, look out. Since 2006, 13 high school pitchers were taken among the first 10 picks, including Braves farmhand Max Fried, taken four years ago and still pitching in Single-A ball. Brady Aiken, drafted in 2014, hasn’t even pitched an inning of professional ball. Jameson Taillon, taken second overall, makes his MLB debut tomorrow.
You’d have to go back to 2007 to find a high school pitcher, Madison Bumgarner, taken that high who’s found sustained success in the majors. A year before, the Dodgers drafted Clayton Kershaw 7th overall. But for every Kershaw and Bumgarner, there’s five Tyler Koleks, Matt Hobgoods or Jacob Turners.
Despite that risk, and despite the organization’s lack of offense, I suspect the Braves will follow tradition and draft another high school pitcher, probably Jason Groome. Time will tell if that’s the right call, and we’re probably talking four or five years. Assuming he succeeds. Not worth the risk, if you ask me.
Speaking of young pitching, Aaron Blair badly needs a good outing. Numbers don’t lie, and Blair’s are bad all around: 7.55 ERA, 1.806 WHIP, 5.2 BB/9 IP, 4.6 K/9, 38 H in 31 IP.
Inciarte 8, d’Arnaud 5, Freeman 3, Markakis 9, Johnson 4, Pierzynski 2, Castro 6, Blair 1, Smith 7