Braves amateur draft notes

Here are some notes and even a few predictions about Thursday's amateur draft.

* Here are the Braves' picks in the first few rounds of the draft:

1S - 40 - For losing Ron Mahay
2 - 64
2 - 70 - For not signing Josh Fields
3 - 96
4 - 130
5 - 160

* Josh Fields is going to go in the middle of the first round. He gambled that he could go back to UGA and improve his draft stock. I hope he enjoys pitching in the Brewers' organization.

* Last year was so much fun when the Braves had the fourteenth pick. Of course, if you pick that high that means you didn't have a very good season the year before. But it was fun to have a high pick for a change, and obviously Jason Heyward - well, heck, was it worth not making the playoffs in 2006 to be able to get that kid? Heyward is a very special player.

* Much debate will go on about not having this year's first round pick, the 18th overall, that now belongs to the Mets. The Braves had to give that up for signing Tom Glavine. And look, the Mets would have offered arbitration, so the discussion about the Braves' failure to wait so that they might have kept this 18th pick is a waste of breath. Why would the Mets have not offered arbitration? They were going to do it all along, knowing he was going back to the Braves.

* Last year the Braves signed 23 players, with 14 being position players. The Braves took position players with seven of their first ten picks. The Braves signed only one of those first three pichers they selected, fourth rounder Cory Gearrin. The second pitcher signed wasn't drafted until the ninth round. Then they took pitchers with seven of the next ten selections, but signed only for of those pitchers. So it was a draft that leaned toward position players. The Braves didn't sign a high school pitcher until inking 14th rounder Caleb Brewer.

* In 2006, it was the other way around as the Braves signed 26 players and 19 were pitchers. So with what the Braves did last year, focusing more on position players, what does that mean for this week's draft?

* Don't be surprised if the Braves grab two high school starters and one college starter in their first five picks (through four rounds). A catcher and shortstop could also be the top targets in the first four rounds.

* As usual, the Braves will probably look to the Peach State. Since Roy Clark took over as Scouting Director before the 2000 draft, he has signed a total of 32 players from Georgia high schools, junior colleges, and colleges. Of course, many, many more were drafted out of Georgia but not signed, not to mention the kids with Georgia ties who were at other colleges around the southeast (i.e. Chuck James at Chattahoochee Valley Community College in Alabama).

* Clark has looked more specifically at UGA and Georgia Tech in the last few years. He's drafted seven Bulldogs or Yellow Jackets in the last two drafts. With both schools doing well this season, don't be surprised if he plucks a few more this season.

* Here are some predictions, and they mean nothing, but what the heck.

40 - Brett DeVall - LHP - HS in Florida
64 - Zeke Spruill - RHP - HS in Georgia
70 - Cody Satterwhite - RHP - Ole Miss
96 - Brandon Miller - C - HS in Georgia
130 - Michael Palazzone - RHP - HS in Georgia

We will be in The Braves Show chatroom all afternoon, awaiting the Braves' first pick. We'll also be on the radio at www.1055thefan.com between 4-6 pm ET.



Bill Shanks is the author of Scout's Honor: The Bravest Way To Build A Winning Team, a look inside the Braves‘ traditional scouting and player development philosophies. He can be heard on 680 the Fan in Atlanta and 105.5 the Fan in Macon. Email Bill at thebravesshow@email.com.



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