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Braves draft Beck among 4 Day 2 right-handers

MLB.com

The 2018 MLB Draft resumed on Tuesday afternoon with the Atlanta Braves taking four right-handed pitchers to add to their right-handed hurlers haul, where first-round pick Carter Stewart already sits.

Draft Tracker: Follow every Braves Draft pick

The 2018 MLB Draft resumed on Tuesday afternoon with the Atlanta Braves taking four right-handed pitchers to add to their right-handed hurlers haul, where first-round pick Carter Stewart already sits.

Draft Tracker: Follow every Braves Draft pick

"The funny thing is in this Draft more than any other Drafts, right-handed pitching is way more dominant than left-handed pitching," Braves scouting director Brian Bridges said. "We had targeted a left-handed pitcher along the way and it just didn't happen, you can't force feed picks. ... The ones we took we feel like they are the best available players that were left."

:: 2018 Draft coverage ::

Since the Braves did not have a pick in the third round of the Draft on Tuesday, Atlanta's picks from Rounds 4-10 are broken down below.

The Draft concludes on Wednesday, with exclusive coverage of Rounds 11-40 beginning on MLB.com at noon ET.

Round 4: RHP Tristan Beck, Stanford
The Stanford right-hander is no stranger to adversity, nor to the Braves' radar. Having been drafted out of high school in 2015 in the 34th round by the Milwaukee Brewers, Beck went into the Draft set on following through with his commitment to Stanford.

"We had targeted [Beck] my first year as director with our second pick of the first round, pick 28 [in 2015]," Bridges recalled. "He chose to go to Stanford, which the next player in line was Mike Soroka. So, now looking back, I've got both of them and it just took three years."

In his first year at Stanford, Beck posted a 2.48 ERA through 83 innings with 76 strikeouts. However, a stress fracture to Beck's back last year kept him off the mound for the entirety of the 2017 season. But, according Bridges, Beck was always in the back of his mind.

Despite the injury, Beck was drafted in the 29th round that year by the New York Yankees, but thought there was still much to be done at Stanford.

Beck made a strong comeback throughout the 2018 season, posting an 8-4 record in 15 starts with Stanford. The 6-foot-4, 190-pounder's fastball has recently around 90-93 mph with an 80-82 mph curveball and an effective slider. Bridges said the Braves were lucky to pick Beck up when they did.

"He's smart, he's going to understand a game plan. There's a lot of comfort with him," Bridges said. "Definitely landing that kind of talent in the fourth round, we were lucky to be in that situation whereas somebody else would have taken him, we would have had to push other players up which would have been tough."

Round 5: RHP Trey Riley, John A. Logan College
Baseball America's top pitching prospect out of Illinois has been lights-out for John A. Logan College in 2018. The right-hander is currently ninth in the nation in strikeouts among NJCAA Division I pitchers, with 117 strikeouts through the 2018 season. Riley throws a four-pitch mix, relying mostly on a fastball in the mid-90s and a slider that sits in the upper-80s.

"Trey has an electric arm," Logan head coach Kyle Surprenant said. "A large part of Trey's upside is his athleticism. He has a great feel for his body, which I think will allow him to make adjustments when needed."

Riley's father, P.J., was taken by the Houston Astros in the 15th round of the 1989 Draft.

Riley announced his transfer from John A. Logan College to Missouri State in November.

Round 6: OF Andrew Moritz, UNC Greensboro
The junior center fielder from UNC Greensboro was named the Player of the Year for the Southern Conference after hitting 23 extra-base hits with 61 RBIs and a .428 average. Moritz is all about consistency in the box having led the conference in on-base percentage and triples.

With a $280,400 pick value, Moritz could potentially surpass Jermaine Mitchell, who went to the Athletics in the fifth round of the 2006 Draft, as the highest-drafted position player to come out of UNC Greensboro.

Round 7: RHP Brooks Wilson, Stetson
For a guy who spent very little time as a closer before the start of the 2018 season, Wilson made a name for himself with the Hatters. Wilson became the 25th player in NCAA history to tally 20 saves in a season. Stetson usually found a way to win when Wilson was on the mound, going 29-2 when Wilson made an appearance.

"We wouldn't be where we are without him," Stetson head coach Steve Trimper said. "The Braves are getting the ultimate competitor."

Wilson's 309 career strikeouts ranks him fifth in Stetson history and fifth among all active players in Division I in strikeouts. The starter-turned-closer's success comes from his strikeout pitch; a split-finger fastball that Trimper calls his "wipeout" pitch.

Wilson was also well known at Stetson for his two-way playing ability, used usually as a DH and first baseman throughout 2018. From the left side of the plate, Wilson drove in a team-best 18 runs through 18 conference games with a .307 batting average.

Round 8: SS AJ Graffanino, University of Washington
The son of former Major League infielder Tony Graffanino was the Braves' 232nd overall pick on Tuesday. AJ Graffanino hit .422 with 11 RBIs in his first 13 games back from a hamstring injury that kept him off the field for 32 games with the Huskies this year.

"Bloodlines, left-handed bat, middle infielder, [6-foot-3], has some projection left," Bridges listed. "You really want to go after those guys who have that upside. Plus, he's young for the class."

Video: Draft 2018: Braves draft SS AJ Graffanino No. 232

Like his son, Tony was also drafted by the Braves, having been picked up in the 10th round of the 1990 Draft. After working his way through the Minors, he spent three seasons with the Braves at second base. Tony retired in 2009 after 13 years in the Majors.

AJ Graffanino has made a few starts at second base, like his father before him, after returning from his hamstring injury this season at Washington but has showed interest in remaining at shortstop in the future.

"I talked to him today on the phone and he would like to move back to shortstop," Bridges confirmed. "He made the statement on the phone: 'You won't regret taking me,'"

Round 9: RHP Ryan Shetter, Texas Tech
The fourth, and final, right-handed hurler to be picked by the Braves on Tuesday has greatly improved his ERA over his three seasons at Texas Tech. Shetter ended his stint as a freshman with a 4.02 ERA before dropping it to 3.71 as a sophomore. As a seasoned junior, Shetter's ERA continued to fall to 2.97 by the end of the 2018 season.

In his second year with Texas Tech, Shetter worked mainly as a starter through 15 appearances, but moved to more of a bullpen role in 2018, making only eight starts.

Round 10: 3B Brett Langhorne, Carson Newman
After spending his first two seasons at the University of Tennessee, Langhorne transferred to Carson Newman in 2017, when he tied for the team lead in stolen bases with 17 and put together a .323 average with 35 RBIs.

Langhorne's father, Meade, played professionally in the Kansas City Royals organization. Now, Meade is a hitting instructor for the Richmond Braves National Team.

Tori McElhaney is a reporter for MLB.com based in San Diego.

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