The Braves wrapped up the draft Wednesday, knowing they’ll have their top six players on the field soon. Scouting director Tony DeMacio revealed that the Braves they have reached agreement with each of their top six picks, and among those, fourth-rounder Justin Black has already officially signed.
That top group includes right-hander Lucas Sims, the first-rounder from Brookwood, left-hander Alex Wood, the second-rounder from Georgia, catcher Bryan De La Rosa, the third-rounder from Olympic Heights (Fla.) High, Black, the center fielder from Billings, MT, right fielder Blake Brown, the fifth-rounder from the University of Missouri, and catcher Josh Elander, the sixth-rounder from TCU.
Sims plans to report to the Braves Gulf Coast League team in Orlando on Tuesday.
The signing deadline was moved up a month to July 13 this year, but the Braves don’t sound like they’re going to need it.
“We’re trying to do the same thing we’ve done the last couple years,” DeMacio said. “We were trying to find players that can play the game and players that want to play.”
Terms of the agreements were not revealed but the Braves typically remain close to slot, and those first five picks are slotted at around $3.3 million, with a suggested bonus of $1.825 million for the first pick and $583,000 for the second. The Braves can spend up to $4.03 million for their top 10 picks without penalty.
They can spend less and use what remains to sign high school players in lower rounds, above the $100,000 ceiling for players drafted in the 11th round or lower.
DeMacio said given the new rules, teams have drafted more senior college players in the early rounds so they have money left over for higher leverage high school players. That’s why more high school players were both available and signable for the Braves.
After drafting only nine high school players in 50 rounds last year, the Braves drafted 15 in only 40 rounds this year.
“It’s not that we didn’t want to take high school kids before because we did take some,” he said. “But it was just a lot of the better ones were already gone before the time we picked.”
DeMacio doesn’t expect signability to be much of an issue past the early round picks either, saying the Braves have reached agreement with “most everybody that we want to sign.”
“We have not been held up by anybody yet,” he said.
Wren drafted by Reds
Kyle Wren, son of Braves general manager Frank Wren, was drafted in the 30th round Wednesday by the Cincinnati Reds. And while he wasn’t taken by the hometown team, his father was tickled for the center fielder from Georgia Tech.
“I am happy and proud of Kyle that he was drafted today by Cincinnati,” Frank Wren said.
Wren said he recused himself from conversations with the Braves scouting staff about his son leading up to the draft.
“I made it clear it would be their decision and was not in the room when he was discussed prior to the draft,” Wren said. “I’m just happy for him with as hard as he has worked to get to this point.”
By virtue of turning 21 years old on April 23, within 45 days of the draft, Kyle Wren was eligible to be drafted as a sophomore. With two years of eligibility left, he could return to Georgia Tech and be re-drafted.
Wren hit .256 with 10 doubles, six triples, two home runs and 22 RBIs in 62 games this season for the Yellow Jackets, who lost in the NCAA regionals last weekend in Gainesville, Fla. Wren had hit .340 in 63 games as a freshman.
Braves re-draft Kimbrel
The Braves drafted right-hander Matt Kimbrel, older brother of closer Craig Kimbrel, for the second year in the hopes and plan to follow him for the next month to see how he’s progressed another year removed from elbow reconstruction surgery and determine whether to sign him.
“At least he’s going to have a chance,” Craig said. “And I hope he can run with it and do good…He feels a lot better, and he’s developed. He’s starting to understand the game a little better, instead of just slinging it up there. That comes with getting older and being around the game more. And now he’s not having to worry about the health of his arm.”…
The Braves scouting and front office staff gathered around Paul Snyder at the end of the draft Tuesday for an on-the-field photo at Turner Field. They wanted to commemorate a draft that the Braves Hall of Famer said will be his last as a major contributor. Snyder, 77, has been trying to back away for years.
“He keeps trying,” DeMacio said. “But he said he’s afraid if he gets in a car and goes and sees a couple games, it’ll be like an alcoholic. He’ll want to continue to do it again.”
It was a bittersweet moment for the man who has been with the Braves for almost 60 years and helped build the foundation for their 14-year run of division titles.
“He touched everybody – scouts, coaches, the players loved him, parents,” DeMacio said. “There will never be another Paul Snyder. He’s not replaceable.”
The Braves were happy to draft Dominican-born center fielder Fernelys Sanchez in the 16th round out of George Washington High in New York, the same high school Manny Ramirez attended, after other teams shied away because he missed most of his senior year with a broken leg.
They’ll send him to Orlando to be evaluated but hope to get him into some Gulf Coast League games. “We were real happy to get him at 16,” said DeMacio, who said Sanchez is a switch-hitter with 80 speed….
The Braves had gone four years since drafting a player from the University of Georgia, since taking reliever Josh Fields in the second round in 2007, but this year they took two in Wood and second baseman Levi Hyams in the 19th round.
The Braves re-drafted Kevin McKague, a 6-5 first baseman from West Point, knowing this time around he can play the summer without missing time for military commitments. Beyond that, they’re not sure, but DeMacio said: “The 23rd round we’re going to take a gamble on a kid like this.”
Staff writer David O’Brien contributed information to this report.
Pick Round Name Position School Ht. Wt.
509 16th Fernelys Sanchez OF G. Washington (NY) HS 6-3, 198
539 17th Chase Anselment LF Univ. of Washington 6-1, 215
569 18th Ross Heffley 2B Western Carolina 5-7, 185
599 19th Levi Hyams 2B Univ. of Georgia 6-2, 205
629 20th Eric Garcia SS Univ. of Missouri 6-0, 188
659 21st Jeremy Fitzgerald RHP Tennessee Wesleyan 6-0, 195
689 22nd Shae Simmons RHP SE Missouri St. 5-9, 180
719 23rd Kevin McKague 1B U.S. Military Academy 6-5, 240
749 24th Michael Flores RHP Grossmont College 6-9, 235
779 25th Brandon Rohde LHP Central Washington Univ 6-3, 215
809 26th Trenton Moses 3B SE Missouri St. 6-3, 230
839 27th Chris Barczycowski RHP Niagara County CC 6-8, 250
869 28th Kraig Clabough SS Florida Tech 5-11, 180
899 29th Jaden Dillon RHP Texas A & M 5-11, 180
929 30th Casey Kalenkosky 1B Texas State 6-0, 210
959 31st Matt Kimbrel RHP Southern Polytech 6-0, 185
989 32nd Adam Grantham RHP Kennett (MO) HS 6-1, 180
1019 33rd Sam Gillikin CF Hoover (Ala.) HS 6-3, 190
1049 34th Ben Johnson CF Westwood (TX) HS 6-0, 185
1079 35th Matt Creech SS Colquitt County HS 5-11, 165
1109 36th Braden Bishop CF St. Francis (Calif.) HS 6-1, 180
1139 37th Gio Brusa LF St. Marys (Calif.) HS 6-3, 195
1169 38th Sean McLaughlin RHP Northview HS 5-11, 175
1199 39th Cullen O’Dwyer LF Eldorado (NM) HS 6-2, 185
1229 40th Jimmy Herget RHP Jefferson (Fla.) HS 6-3, 155