As part of the penalty for their extensive international signing violations under former general manager John Coppolella, the Braves forfeited their 2018 third-round pick. Despite that significant handicap, they still managed to amass the best haul of talent on the second day of the Draft.
:: 2018 Draft coverage ::
Even without what would have been the eighth overall choice on Tuesday, Atlanta still managed to land MLB Pipeline's highest-ranked prospect taken in rounds three through 10. The Braves grabbed Stanford right-hander Tristan Beck, No. 35 on our Top 200 Draft Prospects list, in the fourth round after he figured to go closer to the first round. Returning from a stress fracture in his back that sidelined him for all of 2017, he wasn't as sharp as he was as a freshman but still showed a plus changeup, the potential for at least a solid fastball and curveball and advanced feel for pitching.
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Atlanta also nabbed our top-rated junior college arm in the fifth round in John A. Logan (Ill.) CC right-hander Trey Riley (No. 76 on the Top 200), who has a 92-97 mph fastball with cutting action and a mid-80s slider that can be a wipeout pitch. Sixth-round outfielder Andrew Moritz (No. 142) is a pure hitter who won three Southern Conference batting titles in three years while hitting a school-record .406 at UNC Greensboro, and he also has solid speed and a good chance to stay in center field. The son of former big leaguer Tony Graffanino, Washington shortstop A.J. Graffanino is an eighth-round sleeper with plus actions and arm strength.
Behind the Braves, here's how we rank the best second-day Draft efforts. Considering that only two top-10-rounders didn't turn pro in 2016 and just three failed to come to terms last year, all of these players likely will be signable.
• Braves Draft Tracker
2. Blue Jays
Texas high school right-hander Adam Kloffenstein (third round, No. 43) has an athletic 6-foot-5 frame and a wide variety of promising pitches: a heavy low-90s two-seam fastball, a four-seamer that reaches 96 mph, a sharp slider that he can turn into a bigger-breaking curveball or a harder cutter, and a tumbling changeup. Righty Sean Wymer (fourth round, No. 85) also has a deep repertoire and succeeded in multiple roles at Texas Christian. Florida prep shortstop Addison Barger (sixth round, No. 143) may wind up at second base, but he has a strong arm and the potential for at least average tools across the board.
• Blue Jays Draft Tracker
Arizona loaded up on college right-handers with Kansas' Jackson Goddard (third round, No. 108), Wright State's Ryan Weiss (fourth round, No. 159) and Oregon's Matt Mercer (fifth round, No. 105). Goddard can flash three plus pitches but battled inconsistency and an oblique strain this spring, Weiss has a solid fastball/changeup combination and tops out at 96 mph, and Mercer can crank his heater up to 98 mph. Florida high school righty Levi Kelly (eighth round, No. 182) generates mid-90s heat, albeit with a high-effort delivery. Florida State's Tyler Holton (ninth round) is a crafty left-hander with a plus changeup who would have gone higher if he weren't coming back from Tommy John surgery.
• D-backs Draft Tracker
New York took three college right-handers who could become bullpen weapons. Adam Hill (fourth round, No. 139) started at South Carolina but may be better suited for relief, where his 91-95 mph fastball and hard slider should pick up velocity. Clemson's Ryley Gilliam (fifth round, No. 127) should be one of the first 2018 Draftees to reach the big leagues thanks to his 91-96 mph heater and hammer curve. Though Missouri's Bryce Montes de Oca (ninth round, No. 138) has a history of elbow surgeries and wildness, he has a fastball that can reach 100 mph with bowling-ball sink and flashes a wipeout slider. As for position players, South Carolina's Carlos Cortes (third round) has hitting ability but needs a defensive home, while Cal Poly's Nick Meyer (sixth round, No. 167) was the best all-around defensive catcher in this Draft.
• Mets Draft Tracker
Minnesota's Terrin Vavra (third round, No. 129) is an advanced left-handed hitter with deceptive power and tremendous instincts that help his average arm and speed play up on the bases and at shortstop. One of college baseball's hardest-throwing starters, Ohio State right-hander Ryan Feltner (fourth round, No. 156) can maintain 93-95 mph velocity deep into games and tops out at 98 -- while also throwing hitters off with a fading changeup. Loyola Marymount's Niko Decolati (sixth round, No. 173) comes with plus raw power and speed, not to mention solid defensive tools at third base. Cal State Fullerton righty Andrew Quezada (seventh round, No. 176) attacks hitters and fills the strike zone with three pitches, the best of which is a 90-96 mph fastball.
• Rockies Draft Tracker