Will the Atlanta Braves go after Georgia HS talent at No. 35 pick in Monday’s MLB Draft? (UPDATED)

This year’s crop of Georgia high school baseball prospects for the major-league draft is considered one of the best — and deepest — in years.

Which Georgia HS baseball prospect do you think BOTH will likely be available and heavily considered at No. 35?

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Depending on negotiations over the final hours, as many as five high schoolers from the Peach State could be selected in the top 50 of Monday’s opening day of the draft: Cook High pitcher/infielder Kaleb Cowart, Woodward Academy outfielder Delino DeShields, South Forsyth middle infielder Zach Alvord, Blessed Trinity outfielder Jake Skole and Marietta outfielder Chevez Clarke.

What about the Atlanta Braves? Will they dip into Georgia’s deep talent pool with the No. 35 overall pick? Maybe or maybe not, depending on rumors. Marietta’s Clark was rumored to briefly consider giving the Braves a “hometown discount” while South Forsyth’s Alvord turned heads with his power hitting at a Braves workout session last week. Alvord was the only HS prospect to hit at least one home run out of Turner Field in each round of batting practice. He had 39 career home runs in Georgia’s largest classification for baseball (AAAAA).

The baseball draft is all about “signability” — how much money a high school baseball player wants as a signing bonus in exchange for bypassing a college baseball scholarship.

In the final days (and hours) leading up to the draft, there are conversations between MLB teams and prospects about boney money. Sometimes, the best players drop in the draft because they want a higher bonus than a few teams are willing to offer. On the flip side, some players rise on the draft because they are asking for a lower bonus to sign.

Here are quick hits on the Fab Five:

  • Cowart: He is the best Georgia has to offer, simply because he projects as a top-tier prospect at both pitcher and a corner infielder. Cowart can throw 97 mph,  but prefers to be a position player because he said he likes to play every day. You have to like that, someone who wants to be in the middle of the action at all times. However, the debate over drafting Cowart as a pitcher or a third baseman has stirred debates in front offices across the majors. Cowart has stopped short of making any position demands, saying he hopes to be a position player and would be willing to pitch if it didn’t work out.
  • DeShields: He has the baseball pedigree, with his father by the same name (but different middle names) playing 13 years in the majors. DeShields was talented enough to attract football offers from Georgia Tech and Stanford, among others, before settling on a baseball future. He has signed a baseball scholarship with LSU. He is being mentioned as “lock” first rounder by some draft analysts, but projected to go later by others.
  • Alvord: He has the rare combination of being a middle infielder with above-average defensive skills and power. Alvord could rise or fall on Monday, depending on if teams are willing to meet his asking price for skipping Auburn.
  • Skole: Perhaps no Georgia player has seen his stock rise faster than Skole, who has made it clear to MLB teams that he is willing to give up his Georgia Tech football scholarship with a fair offer. Perhaps more importantly, Skole has also reportedly put out the word that he will be reasonable with his asking price. That, along with his explosive performance in the state playoffs, has cause Skole to fly up the charts. There were rumors on Sunday night that he might sneak into the end of the first round. It may or may not happen, but not many people would’ve given that scenario even a chance 10 days ago.

    Chevez

    Will a Chevy fall to Braves at No. 35? (AJC)

  • Clarke: Before the start of high school season, Clarke was the consensus No. 1 player out of Georgia after Hall of Fame performances in the fall showcases. A few scouts are unsure about his long-term potential for power hitting. Regardless, he still has plenty of other elite tools, most notably speed.

What about others? Keep an eye on East Coweta P Cam Bedrosian (son of Steve), Brooks County P Aaron Shipman, Tattnall Square P DeAndre Smelter, Northside-Columbus OF Kevin Jordan, Heritage catcher Tyler Austin, M.L. King OF Trey Griffin, and North Gwinnett SS Chris Hawkins, among others.

BACK TO THE BRAVES!!!! There is also speculation that the team will consider Mill Creek pitcher Matthew Grimes with their second pick at No. 53 overall. The 6-foot-6 righty throws 94 mph and has signed with Georgia Tech.

Baseball insiders are challenged with figuring out the Braves this year because they are under new leadership. Tony DeMacio succeeded Roy Clark as the Braves scouting director last October, and leads the organization into Monday’s 7 p.m. draft. It will be the first round of 32, then 18 compensation picks. The second round starts at noon on Tuesday.

Click below for features on some of Georgia’s top baseball prospects:

Cook RHP Kaleb Cowart: Georgia’s No. 1 HS pitcher throws 97 mph, but has heart set on 3B

Woodward CF Delino DeShields (The first Georgia HS player to be drafted???)

Blessed Trinity OF Jake Skole (Georgia Tech football OR MLB?)

Marietta CF Chevez Clarke (The five-tool player? Enough power?)

North Gwinnett 3B Chris Hawkins (Mr. Clutch with 32-game hitting streak to end year)

Home-schooled pitcher Connor Mason of Suwanee intrigues (Played with projected No. 1 Bryce Harper on Team USA)

Wheeler OF Dale Carey (Another first-rounder from Cobb school?)

Collins Hill LHP James Buckelew (The next American Idol? Just gets people out)

YOUR TURN: Who would you like to see the Braves draft at No. 35? Which Georgia HS players do you think are RISING? Which ones are FALLING? And why?

24 comments Add your comment

SHANE

June 6th, 2010
11:38 pm

First is me, not any of these jokers.

Justin

June 6th, 2010
11:55 pm

Hey watch out for me i may be drafted between the 30-50 th round

Chamwa

June 7th, 2010
5:49 am

Cam Bedrosian….East Coweta High School…not East Paulding

82Dawg

June 7th, 2010
8:30 am

Michael,….ever thought about going outside of Metro Atlanta and look at some the high school talent and writing an article? You know there is good players other than in the Metro.

Big B

June 7th, 2010
8:53 am

What about Ralston Cash of Lakeview Adacemy.

Big B

June 7th, 2010
8:54 am

tr

June 7th, 2010
9:31 am

Reggie Golden, OF, Wetumpka HS, Wetumpka, Alabama will be the Braves 1st pick, if he’s still on the board by 35.

Jackets!

June 7th, 2010
10:31 am

4 of these guys have signed with Tech. I hope we dont lose all four but it doesn’t look good.

Blackberry Cobbler

June 7th, 2010
12:36 pm

Just curious– During yesterdays Braves-Dodgers game, the announcers (Joe and Chip, I think) mentioned several times about how well the Dodgers have done with their recent first round draft picks– several of them already in the bigs and playings in yesterdays game. I’m wondering the status of the Braves first rounders. Seems like they haven’t panned out as well. The Braves seem to add talent by getting other team retreads. Where’s all the young talent drafted recently?

NEW CARS

June 7th, 2010
1:26 pm

Deandre Smelter of Tattnall Square…Was projected in the upper part of the first round last fall…Outstanding size and athletic ability…Would like to see the Braves load up on position players

My Patooti

June 7th, 2010
1:28 pm

Heyward is good, but still not convinced he will pan out like a lot of people think, for the long run. His hitting is down again lately, and he made a terrible throw in LA the other night. I still cannot figure out why they gave up on Jeff Francoeur so quick, him being a GA boy. He is tearing up the ball lately for the Mets and is still a good defensive outfielder. Even after JHey came along, Jeff would have made a good LF.

Roll Braves Roll

June 7th, 2010
4:16 pm

Wow. So, Heyward’s not going to cut it “long term” because “his hiting’s been down again lately”, even though Heyward is a frigging rookie, who’s putting up stats comparable to the better veterans in the game, but you’re not willing to give up on Jeff, who’s coming up on 2.5 years of pure awfulness & can’t hit his way out of the 8 spot in one of the least talented lineups in baseball. Nice analysis there, sparky.

kenbud

June 7th, 2010
4:18 pm

Like the Braves need anymore pitching …. seriously they are stacked upon STACKED …. Carvell …. Is there any MLB team out there that can compare to what the Braves have in their farm system for pitching?

Will

June 7th, 2010
4:37 pm

IF the Braves want another Chipper Jones(in his prime), you better draft the switch hitting 3rd baseman Cowart. He is a Chipper clone who will be in the bigs in less than 3 years.

HMMM

June 7th, 2010
4:41 pm

Is the 1st round pick really worth any high school player?

jarvis

June 7th, 2010
4:50 pm

Hmmm….HMMMMM?
It’s a weak year for college talent. Don’t know where that came from.

Quint in Atlanta

June 7th, 2010
5:22 pm

HMMM

Well, Strasburg and Heyward were chosen in the first round. Heyward has been very productive as a rookie and Strasburg is about to make his debut. There are a lot of college players drafted before Heyward who are still playing in the minors. So, for the right player, yes, it is worth a first round pick.

Tee

June 7th, 2010
5:38 pm

Why are the Braves drafting so low? Where’s their regular pick and why was it forfeited?

Don!

June 7th, 2010
6:19 pm

@Tee — our first round pick went to the Red Sox for signing Billy Wagner in the off season.

And our minor league pitching is considered pretty well stocked. Craig Kimbrel will be our closer sooner than expected if Wagner really does leave after this season. Plus, we got Arodys Vizcaino in the trade from the Yankees for Vasquez.

In the field, we also have Jordan Schafer and Freddy Freeman as players who might be here sooner than later, although the return of circa 2004 Troy Glaus might keep Freddy on the farm as much as the disappearance of circa 2007 Nate McLouth might get Jordan here faster.

But, all-in-all, I think the Brave’s farm system is in really good shape.

Later,

Don!

[...] For background on Clarke and other Georgia HS players, click here. [...]

Dan

June 7th, 2010
9:35 pm

Chris Hawkins!!!! my boy

scottbravesfan

June 8th, 2010
12:11 am

My Pooti,

You are stupid. Heyward is putting up historic numbers for a 20 year old in the same league as Ted Williams and Mel Ott. Both are hall of famers. Heyward is also playing through a sore hand right now. But please enlighten us with more of your baseball knowledge. I like how you are down on Heyward yet you like Francouer? Francouer is awful. He has no approach at the plate and is in his 5th year in the majors. He will never be nothing more than a below average major leaguer.

scottbravesfan

June 8th, 2010
12:14 am

Don!

The Braves farm system is actually pretty low on position player prospects. It’s Freeman and Schafer and that’s it for the most part. Now pitching is a different story. The Braves have 4 legit stud starting prospects including Julian Teheran. Add in Arodys Vizciano, Mike Minor, and Randell Delgado and they are stacked. I wouldn’t be surprised if the Braves traded one of them to try and get a stud position player prospect.

Call IT

June 8th, 2010
5:38 pm

Alvord for sure!

Enough Said!