Braves draft Univ. of Georgia’s Wood in second round – updated

The Braves used their first two picks in the draft to claim power pitchers, both with Georgia ties.

After taking Brookwood right-hander Lucas Sims in the first round Monday night, the Braves came back Tuesday and took Alex Wood, a hard-throwing left-hander from the University of Georgia, with their 85th pick in the second round.

Wood has a 94-96 mph fastball but an unorthodox delivery, which might be why he didn’t go in the first round. But that made him available for the Braves, who have no plans to change his delivery.

“Quite honestly we were a little surprised he was still there and very happy to be able to get him as well,” Braves director of scouting Tony DeMacio said.

When asked about Wood’s mechanics, DeMacio said: “Doesn’t affect us one bit. That’s what he does well. He throws strikes, so leave him alone.”

The 6-foot-4, 220-pounder from Charlotte, NC struck out 100 batters in 102 1/3 innings this season for Georgia, with only 21 walks. Wood was second-team All-SEC after going 7-3 with a 2.73 ERA in 15 starts this season as a redshirt sophomore.

His 2.73 ERA was the best by a Georgia starter since 1989, when David Fleming had a 2.08 ERA.

Wood went 13-10 with a 3.57 ERA, with 180 strikeouts and 47 walks in 204 1/3 innings during his college career. He redshirted in 2010 after undergoing elbow reconstruction surgery after his senior season in high school. That might be another reason first round teams took a pass.

“Obviously there was a little disappointment on Monday night,” Wood said. “It’s something you’ve dreamed about every day and I felt like I had put myself in position to where I had a good shot to go on Monday. But crazy things happen with the draft, and things happen for a reason. I’m definitely feeling blessed and excited about the opportunity at hand…I don’t think I could be with a better organization.”

Emphasis on high school

After taking only three high school players in the first 30 rounds last year, the Braves nabbed three high school players in their first four picks this time.

After Sims, they drafted hard-throwing catcher Bryan De La Rosa from Olympic Heights in Boca Raton, Fla., and speedy center fielder Justin Black from Billings West High in Billings, MT.

“How about that?” said DeMacio, who has gone college-heavy in his first two years as scouting director. “Everybody thinks I don’t like high school players. I started here in 1983. We always took high school guys. It’s just the way the draft worked out the last couple of years. We might take even more, hopefully.”

The draft finishes Wednesday with Rounds 16-40, beginning at noon.

Drafting high school players was a long-standing Braves tradition throughout the tenure of legendary former scouting director Paul Snyder, who is retired but still finds his way to the Braves draft room where he was again Tuesday.

“Mr. Snyder used to always say, ‘Take the high school guys,’” DeMacio said. “’We’ll grow our own.’”

Long way from Montana

Black, the fourth rounder from Billings, didn’t even have a high school baseball team in Montana. He got his experience playing American Legion and with travel teams out of Vancouver, British Columbia.

Black played in tournaments in Florida and Arizona, where he was clocked at 6.34 seconds in the 60-yard dash, according to Baseball America.

“We had two of our guys drive 13 hours to see him,” DeMacio said. “(And) we brought him all the way in from Montana (for a workout) so we could see him. Everybody liked what they saw.”

DeMacio said Black has “80” speed, the highest rating a scout can give, and plenty of power potential.

“He’s more of a projection,” DeMacio said. “But we like the ability to run, and he has the size and strength that goes along with that, which is hard to find.”

So they weren’t deterred by his relative lack of playing experience.

“He just doesn’t have the opportunity because of the weather,” DeMacio said. “They don’t play much, but you can’t hold that against a kid.”

Big on catching, Borders

The Braves drafted two catchers with their top six picks, De La Rosa and TCU catcher Josh Elander. De La Rosa, a native of Puerto Rico, is a more defensive-minded player with a strong throwing arm while Elander is more offense-oriented.

Elander hit .316 with 10 home runs and 42 RBIs in 60 games this season to help TCU reach the NCAA Super Regional for the third time in four years.

The Braves also drafted Levi Borders from Winter Haven, Fla. in the 11th round. He is the son of Pat Borders, the former World Series MVP catcher for the Toronto Blue Jays who defeated the Braves in the 1992 World Series.

Staff writer Chip Towers contributed information to this report.

Pick Round Name Position School Ht. Wt.

21 1st Lucas Sims RHP Brookwood HS 6-2, 195

85 2nd Alex Wood LHP Univ. of Georgia 6-4, 220

116 3rd Bryan De La Rosa C Olympic Heights (Fla.) HS 5-8, 193

149 4th Justin Black CF Billings West (Mont.) 6-0, 190

179 5th Blake Brown RF Univ. of Missouri 6-0, 185

209 6th Josh Elander C TCU 6-0, 205

239 7th David Starn LHP Kent State 6-0, 190

269 8th David Peterson RHP College of Charleston 6-4, 215

299 9th Steven Schils RHP Florida Tech 6-2, 219

329 10th Mike Dodig 3B Columbia Green (NY) CC 6-4, 210

359 11th Levi Borders C Winter Haven (Fla.) HS 6-3, 180

389 12th Connor Lien RF Olympia (Fla.) HS 6-3, 205

419 13th Nathan Hyatt RHP Appalachian State 5-10, 195

449 14th Tyler Tewell C Appalachian State 5-11, 185

479 15th Alexander Wilson RHP Wofford 6-5, 220

62 comments Add your comment

Ball's-N-All

June 5th, 2012
1:30 pm

seems like we do need some pitching because ours arent doing so great…

Georgia Sports Reports

June 5th, 2012
1:32 pm

GT Alum

June 5th, 2012
1:36 pm

So much for the theory that the Braves were going to go for position players because their pitching depth is stronger than their positional depth in the minors.

Tip-your-hat

June 5th, 2012
1:52 pm

urban redneck

June 5th, 2012
2:35 pm

i don’t like the fact that they chose a pitcher first………..but you can always trade pitching for hitting. always.

go bravos!!

MiaBchBravesFan

June 5th, 2012
2:51 pm

IDIOTS!!! A FREAKIN’ 5′8″ CATCHER??? THREE PITCHERS & A MIDGET CATCHER WITH THEIR FIRST FOUR PICKS??? WHEN THIS ORGANIZATION CAN’T HIT THEIR WAY OUT OF A SOPPING WET PAPER BAG IF YOU GAVE ‘EM A BAZOOKA AND A SHOTGUN???

FRANK WREN SUCKS!!! HE IS A BLITHERING IDIOT!!!

Shane Sikes

June 5th, 2012
3:06 pm

And life goes on!

war daddy lightfoot

June 5th, 2012
3:10 pm

Frank Wren is a gawdamn genius…..NOT

Kash

June 5th, 2012
3:22 pm

This tells me our farm system is not deep in pitching.

1991 braves

June 5th, 2012
3:30 pm

Wren isn’t making these picks, his Daddy John Sherlock is. Sherlock would never allow the idiot Wren to make a decision on anything in the braves organization without his approval. The sad thing is Sherlock still thinks he can win with pitching alone like he did for 10 years with 3 hall of fame pitchers. Too bad John, the braves, nor any other club will ever have that luxury again.

Darryl Blackberry

June 5th, 2012
3:46 pm

Two catchers drafted as well. Interesting.

Even more interesting is the glut of pitching that the Braves have (their current ERA notwithstanding). There’s probably-definitely a trade or two in the works. I mean, something’s gotta clear these young arms out of our farm system, right?

PMC

June 5th, 2012
3:47 pm

Well I mean a 220lb Lefty Power Pitcher sounds good on paper anyway.

Bob Didier

June 5th, 2012
4:09 pm

Might want to look up the details on De La Rosa before making disparaging comments. Looks like he has a strong arm and is quick to 2nd. Also, runs well for a catcher and has good bat speed per scouts. He has played in several big time events and done well. From PR and attended the Bucky Dent baseball school.

Bob Didier

June 5th, 2012
4:30 pm

Braves draft Kent State lefty David Starn in the 7th round. 10-3 for a 44-17 team which beat KY and got to the super regionals this weekend. Starn will start the first game for Kent State. Strikes out over one an inning.

Braves appear to be restocking a poor Rome team with collegians. Look for Starn, Blake Brown, Josh Elander, and Alex Wood to all start at Rome. Rome needs help.

man and dog

June 5th, 2012
4:51 pm

I would like to think the Braves are planning on re-signing Bourn, which is why they didn’t draft more outfielders.

Powder Blue

June 5th, 2012
5:05 pm

Hopefully this will finally seal Wren’s fate. And no way the Braves will spend the money on Bourn. Too cheap.

braveslover

June 5th, 2012
5:32 pm

We have a top rated catcher in waiting (as well as McCann now) we have a slew of pitchers at all levels that management loves, but we have no infield or outfield players that sparkle at any level. I guess fans better hope that Freeman, Simmons, Uggla, and Prado last are healthy and productive for at least five years. Grow up in a hurry boys…you’re the present and future of the Braves.

Bob Didier

June 5th, 2012
5:52 pm

Braveslover: We have Cunningham OF hitting over .300 at MS; we have SS at AAA in Pastornicky and a good prospect at Lynchburg; we have CF at Lynchburg and Salcedo 3B at Lynchburg; We have Gattis C-OF at MS; we have 2 2B prospects at MS and Lynchburg. No, the cupboard is not bare.

bvillebaron

June 5th, 2012
6:12 pm

MiaBchBravesFan:

A couple of things for you to consider:

(1) The Braves are currently 3rd in the NL in runs scored which IMHO opinion is the most important offensive category;

(2) All of the pre-draft reports were that this was not a particularly good or deep draft and that position players was the weakest part of the pool; and

(3) Did it ever occur to you that the Braves are doing exactly what their scouting director said before the draft–prefer to take a position player, but will take the best player available (Sims was taken @ 21 and Wood @ 85 and they were ranked 23 and 42 respectively by Baseball America); and

(4) The old adage is correct; you can never have enough pitching.

lifelong braves fan

June 5th, 2012
6:23 pm

And #4 for MiaBchBravesFan… When you post in all caps, you come off as the idiot.

Go Jackets

June 5th, 2012
6:44 pm

homegrown talent in buck Farmer out there and we didnt get him………shame.

JNick

June 5th, 2012
7:21 pm

Anyone complaining about a 5′8 catcher must have never heard of some dude named Ivan Rodriguez…

MiaBchBravesFan

June 5th, 2012
7:26 pm

lifelong braves fan

June 5th, 2012
6:23 pm
And #4 for MiaBchBravesFan… When you post in all caps, you come off as the idiot.

Nice to hide behind a monitor and post like a tough guy, sissy-boy. Who’s the idiot now? I had no quarrel with you, just the org. If you don’t like my post, you fairy, mind your business, or come find me, so you can regret that for the rest of your sissified, miserable life, you twerp. You wanna disagree, do it like bvillebaron; other than that…

Stay out of my way, punk.

JNick

June 5th, 2012
7:34 pm

lol…who’s hiding behind a monitor now? Irony, much? :)

JNick

June 5th, 2012
7:36 pm

Reminds me of that “So much cooler, online…” song by Brad Paisley…lol

A-Ville Ranger

June 5th, 2012
7:48 pm

One thing to consider, the team as it stands can’t be retained long. Most of our top guys are being paid near the lower end of the scale. Some will have to be moved down the road. Perhaps the idea is to move some of our developed pitching for already developed position players in a few years and keep stocking the system with pitching to replenish.

MikeY

June 5th, 2012
8:17 pm

Now have taken 4 catchers thru 15 rounds. Looks like 2013 will be the last year of Brain McCann (if the Braves take the 2013 option).

Mako

June 5th, 2012
8:27 pm

Looks as if the Braves only have 3 scouts now…..yikes

MikeY

June 5th, 2012
8:37 pm

This lists Justin Black as a RHP but all the other info I see shows him as a CF…I know, in high school, he may have done both. Did the Braves pick him as a CF or a RHP? Is it possible thatthe listing as a RHP is a typo?

BrandonLee49

June 5th, 2012
8:39 pm

This is a year where the Draft was unusually High in Pitchers, even if many were only HS experienced, in today’s advanced Minor Leagues Drafting 18 yrs old is no longer a risk, it’s a Given… Like somebody said, Braves are Rich in Minors Pitching, somebody’s gotta Go, either Up or Out, making room for more Position player movement as well. Hopefully Bourn will eventually hit his peak or close, he’s a ways away Still. How long do we Wait on potential with a 30yr old?

JNick

June 5th, 2012
8:54 pm

MikeY, hard to say – Andrelton Simmons was drafted as a pitcher (he can throw 98) but convinced the Braves to let him stay at short. As you said, many HS guys (as well as college) play multiple positions. I think Hudson was a .390 hitter in college, and Medlen played SS (and closed).

MikeY

June 5th, 2012
9:16 pm

JNick, I cannot find any stats that show his as a pitcher. Every other site I see shows him as a CF or an OF.

From Mark Bowman’s Blog: Round 4, CF Justin Black, Billings High School, Mont.

After picking three players from the Southeast at the start of the Draft, the Braves went way out West to Montana to pick center fielder Justin Black in the fourth round.

Black attends Billings High School, which does not have a high school baseball team. To make up for that, he has played with the Langley Blaze, a club team in British Columbia, this spring. He also played American Legion ball last summer and was selected to their team for last year’s Tournament of Stars, an elite event for high school juniors held at the USA Baseball Complex in Cary, N.C., in June.

Black is known for his speed, but remains very raw at the plate and in the field. Already 19, he is a bit older than most high school seniors. Black is committed to Nebraska.
http://markbowman.mlblogs.com/

MikeY

June 5th, 2012
9:34 pm

AJC.com just updated the blog to say he is a CF.

Heck, i don’t care if he is a waterboy as long as the Braves WIN!

Ken in Alpharetta

June 5th, 2012
10:07 pm

The negative posts about this draft simply shows how it is not understood by all. MLB drafts are not at all similar to the NFL or NBA drafts. Those are for the immediate future, MLB draft is for 3-5 years in the future. Most of these drafted players will never be heard from beyond this week or make it above A ball. Anyone that thinks the Braves should have picked a 3Bman to replace Chipper is just not into how pro ball works. Not flaming anyone, but c’mon people, know what you are dealing with before you post.

Armond Hill

June 6th, 2012
3:38 am

Hey MiaBch, uh, just how tall is Pudge? Yogi? Like short running backs (Emmit, Barry), short catchers tend to have quicker feet out of the crouch.

MikeY

June 6th, 2012
5:53 am

Ken, it is the 3B to replace Prado that I am looking for…Prado will likely be our 3B in 2013, but he is a free agent in 2014. I hope the Braves can re-sign him to a long term contract, but with Liberty at the helm, who knows?

Paddy

June 6th, 2012
6:38 am

MiaBchBravesFan…….You may want to take the CAPS lock off. The avg height of the players in the Hall of Fame is 5′8″ You may want to follow baseball a little more. What a Maroon!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

least of the east

June 6th, 2012
6:46 am

takes 4-5 yrs to judge
too early to tell
no picks from Calif in top15 ? strange
hope they sign these guys. some seem doubtful-esp CC and HS guys 10, 11, 12

Paddy

June 6th, 2012
7:38 am

least of the east……..Why would you choose picks 10,11 & 12 as doubtful? Did you see them play? And if yo did, would you even know what your are looking at? A professional scouting staff saw them and liked them enough to include them in this years draft. But you, in your great wisdom, say they are doubtfu! Amazing!!!!!!!!!!!

Nattering Nabob

June 6th, 2012
7:53 am

Frank Wren needs to hire the “AJC Blog Consulting Team” before he makes any player decisions.

Paddy

June 6th, 2012
8:20 am

doubters of the wisdom of the draft folks………..many scouts make a career saying no to players. You can have a long career saying no since only about 10% of any draft class makes the Big Leagues. In the business world being right 90% of the time would make you a hero. It takes courage to pull the trigger on a HS kid and back it up with your job future.

yogi

June 6th, 2012
8:36 am

Come on guys.. let keep it civil.
No need to get your patties in a wad about 5 ft 8 ” catchers..These are only opinions anyway..

bulldog steve

June 6th, 2012
9:02 am

Wood had a tremendous year at UGA and if not for a light hitting team or weather, he would have won 10-12 games. I wish him well, he is a class act and will be missed at UGA. The writing is on the wall that the braves will not be able to keep McCann, that is painfully obvious.

Supes

June 6th, 2012
9:30 am

Drafting 2 catchers within the first six picks, we have a very good blue chipper in Bethancourt in the wait, and Gattis (OF-C)…I’d say the writing is on the wall for Brian McCann. Hopefully Wren has the balls to TRADE Mac when there is still value and not in a situation where his value has diminished (Jair anyone???)

Paddy

June 6th, 2012
9:47 am

Supes…….if you have 2 rookie league teams you need 2 catchers, right. Having talented players that touch the ball every time your team is in the field is a solid way to draft. Catchers are always a premium position. Winning in the minor leagues is almost as important as development. You must have that fire to win at every level.. We don’t want to be like the Cubs who place no emphasis on winning in the minor leagues. You can’t develop players consistantly without a winning tradition, they go hand in hand. Even if you do get to the Big Leagues in the Cubs system, you still have no idea how to WIN!

Paddy

June 6th, 2012
9:56 am

Supes…….one last point. There are a couple ML teams that have been successful for decades that have a great plan on the draft and their full roster of players ( Major League & National Assn. players). If your strength is pitching, draft more pitchers etc. It is an old military axiom, you build on your strengths. It takes guts to draft this way but it has proven to work with the top tier teams for many years.

Hiway61

June 6th, 2012
10:17 am

The Great Hall of Fame catcher Yogi Berra was 5′7″ 175 lbs. Had like 378 homers and later a great manager.
Bryan De La Rosa will be just great…probably make the Majors quicker than any on list. Go Braves!

kreedham

June 6th, 2012
10:40 am

For what it’s worth the kid is just finishing high school and could grow another inch or two!

ed

June 6th, 2012
11:34 am

who do the braves feel they stole in this years draft from all there picks

ed

June 6th, 2012
11:34 am

who do the braves feel they stole in this years draft from all there picks

PCOLA Braves Fan

June 6th, 2012
11:48 am

I guess I’m a minority here, I like the draft picks. I’m very optimistic about Black. We already have someone in the orginazation that wasn’t playing high school or college..His name is Beachy and how has he turned out. I’m also seeing the writing on the wall with McCann. I love him as a Brave, but it’s just good business sense for him to go to an AL team when his contract is up. I hope he stays a Brave, but I’m not sure he will for his own sake. Having multiple catchers to compete for his job is just a plus. Will one of the ones here be the one, who knows, but there are some great possibilities. GO BRAVES!!

TOMY FOURNIER

June 6th, 2012
12:09 pm

`YOU ARE AN “MORON IDIOT”…MIABCHBRSHFAN…YES YOU ARE AND AN IGNORANT. fOR NOW ,THE BEST CACHERS IN BIG LEAGUE, ARE LATIN…RUIZ(PHILLYS) MOLINA(S.LUIS)AND ECT. THE MOLINAS BROTHERS(3) ARE BETTERS THAN ANY OTHERS AND WHY YOU FORGET THE ONE OF THE BEST FROM ATLANTA TEAM ABOUT 5 OR 7 YERAS AGO(I DO NOT REMEMBER HIS LAS NAME)FROM PONCE,PUERTO RICO…HEY..THEY ARE THE BEST…AND RODRIGUEZ…WHAT???…HELLO!!!!

BravesRealFan

June 6th, 2012
12:13 pm

how many of these draft picks were African American or minorities?

PCOLA Braves Fan

June 6th, 2012
12:28 pm

why are we even having this discussion? What does it matter what nationality someone is? Performance is the issue.

Paddy

June 6th, 2012
12:54 pm

BravesRealFan……..by minorities, do you mean Latin Americans? MLB will come out with that stat at some point. As for African American, I don’t need MLB to tell me this trend. Since the last 70’s early 80’s black players have stayed away from baseball in ever decreasing numbers. Henry Aaron has spoken about this subject on numerous occasions. Hs observations are extremly accurate in my view. To name just a couple of reasons; lack of playing facilities and the lure and glamor of basketball and fooball to young black kids. Not many will say it but baseball to some is just not cool any longer. To put in your time in the minor leagues (4 to 5 years) and not see the golden ring is not worth the effort. Even making it to the higher levels of pro ball, earningl 5,000 to 10,000 per mon is not worth it. I don’t see the trend changing in either direction anytime soon!

BravesRealFan

June 6th, 2012
1:20 pm

because like dust, the black baseball player is slowly fading away. In the minors however, there’s a WHOLE lot MORE minority players. something to ponder here.

That discussion is needed because when the braves won the World Series, there were 4 black players in the field. 1st base, right field, center-field, 2nd base

DefBrave

June 6th, 2012
2:48 pm

BravesRealFan – 1st base: McGriff, RF: Justice, CF: Grissom. Who was the black 2nd baseman? This eludes me at the moment….

MikeY

June 6th, 2012
3:33 pm

Frank Wren’s son Kyle Wren just drafted by the Reds, round 30.

BravesFan79

June 6th, 2012
3:36 pm

Some kind of real braves fan you are, somehow you remember a black 2nd basemen.. LOL

MikeY

June 6th, 2012
3:44 pm

And the Braves just took Craig Kimbrell’s brother Matt in the 31st. Took him last year, too;

http://blogs.ajc.com/atlanta-braves-blog/2011/06/08/braves-draft-kimbrels-younger-brother/

Hiway61

June 6th, 2012
4:54 pm

jo killa

June 6th, 2012
5:38 pm

excited about alex wood hes got stud written all over him i saw him at uga hes a beast

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