Braves sign seven draft picks

The Braves Show's Bill Shanks provides more information on the first seven draft picks signed by the Atlanta Braves.

4- MYCAL JONES – SS – Miami Dade CC – 5'10", 170 – R/R - May 30, 1987
Fourth round pick Mycal Jones played in 50 games this spring for Miami Dade Community College. He hit .447 with 13 home runs, 50 RBI, 21 doubles, three triples, 29 stolen bases, 84 hits in 188 at bats, and a .532 OBP. Jones was a member of the FCCAA 1st Team All-Southern Conference Team and was the Southern Conference Player of the Year. Jones graduated from Wolfson High School in Jacksonville. Jones first attended North Florida in Jacksonville, before transferring to Miami Dade. He's a right-handed hitter, and we'll see if his power carries over with the wooden bat. Defensively, the Braves like him at shortstop, but some have speculated he might also play at second base or in center field. There have been some Chone Figgans comparisons. The Braves love Jones's speed. He turned 22 years old on May 30th.


7 – ROBBY HEFFLINGER – OF – Georgia Perimeter College – 6'5", 225 – R/R
Robby Hefflinger was a star high school player at Gainesville High School in north Georgia. He played third base, as a catcher, and as a pitcher. Hefflinger even played tight end on the football team. The athletic big kid originally signed with UGA, but he instead enrolled at Georgia Perimeter College in Covington, just east of Atlanta. The Braves love his bat, and he was drafted as an outfielder, a position he just learned to play this past year. Hefflinger did well there, with 22 assists and only two errors in the outfield. Hefflinger hit .316 with 48 hits in 152 at bats, 11 home runs, 43 RBI, nine doubles, and a .365 OBP. Hefflinger also played some at first base. But when he wasn't hitting, Hefflinger was pitching – and pitching well. Hefflinger went 6-0 in 47 innings of work, with a 6-0 record, a 2.87 ERA, only 26 hits allowed, 18 walks, and 53 Ks. He also pitched a no-hitter. But the Braves had him in Turner Field for a workout, and he put on a show. The Braves believe Hefflinger can be a right-handed power hitter.


10 – AARON NORTHCRAFT – RHP – Mater Dei HS in Newport Beach, CA – 6'4", 212 – R/R
The first high school player taken by the Braves, Northcraft has been a pitcher and outfielder who has participated in the Perfect Game circuit for the last few seasons. He throws hard, as he tops out at 93 mph. He was a favorite of Braves' scout Tom Battista, who also signed Tommy Hanson, Kris Medlen, and Cole Rohrbough. Northcraft is a sidearmer and has had a high leg kick in the past, so we'll see if the Braves change him up a bit once he gets into the system. Had offers to attend USC, Arizona St., Cal State Fullerton, and California, but had committed to Orange Coast College before signing with the Braves. Northcraft had a 9-2 record and a 1.06 ERA this season as a senior. Coaches loved his competitiveness.


11 – CHRIS MASTERS – LHP – Western Carolina – 6'0", 230 – L/L
Chris Masters reminds the Braves of Adam Butler, a lefty reliever who pitched in Atlanta in 1998. Masters touches 92 mph with his fastball, but he's got a palm ball that is a nasty pitch, along with a good slider. Masters finished his career with 241 strikeouts at WC, sixth all-time in school history. Had been a reliever in his first two seasons, but was converted to a starting pitcher for his junior season. He had a 6-2 record with a 5.59 ERA, 80 hits allowed in 83.2 innings, with 36 walks, and 99 strikeouts, along with a .248 opponents batting average. Masters also had 15 wild pitches. Some think he might have been overused as a starter and belongs back in the bullpen. A graduate of Kennesaw Mountain High School north of Atlanta, Masters had 23 career wins in high school.


12 – CHRIS LOVETT – SS – Columbia State Community College in NJ – 6'0", 180
The Braves had Lovett in for a workout before the draft and really fell in love with his talent. He is a true shortstop, with solid offensive skills. As a freshman in 2008, Lovett hit .405 with 15 home runs, 50 RBI, 14 doubles, 60 hits, and 54 runs scored. Then this season as a sophomore, Lovett hit .392 with 15 home runs, 49 RBI, 17 doubles, and a .469 OBP in his 40 games. Lovett was scheduled to go to Lipscomb before he signed.


18 – JAKOB DALFONSO – 3B – Middle Georgia College – 6'3", 200
Dalfonso was looked at as the best hitter in the junior college World Series. He'll probably play third or first base, after playing short at GMC. Originally from Woodstock, Georgia, he played in the East Cobb program. Dalfonso has also played second base. Dalfonso was only a freshman at GMC. He's a switch-hitter who in 47 games this season had 52 hits in 165 at bats (.315) with five doubles, four home runs, and 29 RBI.


20 – JEFF LORICK – LHP – University of Virginia – 6'1", 190 – December 18, 1987
The Braves started following Lorick back at Chattahoochee High School in Duluth. As a freshman at Virginia he made six starts and had an ERA of 4.13. Then as a sophomore, Lorick had six more starts and struggled with an ERA of 6.27. This season as a junior, Lorick was 2-1 with a 5.61 ERA in eight games (seven starts). He allowed 27 hits in 25.2 innings pitched, with 13 walks, and 15 strikeouts. The Braves like his 92 mph fastball.




Bill Shanks hosts The Bill Shanks Show on WFSM Fox Sports 1670 in Macon, Georgia and The Braves Show Talk Show. Shanks writes a weekly baseball column for The Macon Telegraph and is the author of Scout's Honor: The Bravest Way To Build A Winning Team. You can email Bill at thebravesshow@email.com.



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