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Early-round arms kind to Braves in recent Drafts

May 27, 2018

BOSTON -- The 2018 Draft will take place today through Wednesday, beginning with the Draft preview show on MLB Network and at 6 p.m. ET. MLB Network will broadcast the first 43 picks (Round 1 and Competitive Balance Round A), while will stream all 78 picks on Day

BOSTON -- The 2018 Draft will take place today through Wednesday, beginning with the Draft preview show on MLB Network and at 6 p.m. ET. MLB Network will broadcast the first 43 picks (Round 1 and Competitive Balance Round A), while will stream all 78 picks on Day 1. will also provide live pick-by-pick coverage of Rounds 3-10 on Day 2, with a preview show beginning at 12:30 p.m. ET. Then, Rounds 11-40 can be heard live on on Day 3, beginning at noon ET.
Go to to see the Top 200 Prospects list, projected top picks from MLB Pipeline analysts Jim Callis and Jonathan Mayo, the complete order of selection and more. And follow @MLBDraft on Twitter to see what Draft hopefuls, clubs and experts are saying.
Here's how the Draft is shaping up for the Braves, whose first selection is the eighth overall pick.
:: 2018 Draft coverage ::
In about 50 words
Though the Braves might not be as fortunate as they were last year when Kyle Wright fell to them with the fifth overall pick, this Draft seems to set up to the team's tendencies, as it is rich with high school pitching talent. The organization is loaded in the pitching department, but when selecting this early it's always about taking the best available talent.
First-round buzz's Jim Callis recently projected the Braves will take Nolan Gorman, a high school third baseman from Phoenix, with their first selection. Gorman checks two boxes on the wish list, as he could fill the desire to enhance the organization 's depth at the hot corner and in the power-hitting department. Atlanta has also shown interest in left-hander Ryan Weathers, a high school pitcher from Tennessee. Weathers is the son of former Major Leaguer David Weathers.
Money matters
Under the Collective Bargaining Agreement, each team has an allotted bonus pool equal to the sum of the values of that club's selections in the first 10 rounds of the Draft. The more picks a team has and the earlier it picks, the larger the pool. The signing bonuses for a team's selections in the first 10 rounds, plus any bonus greater than $125,000 for a player taken after the 10th round, will apply toward the bonus-pool total.
Any team going up to five percent over its allotted pool will be taxed at a 75-percent rate on the overage. A team that overspends by 5-10 percent gets a 75-percent tax, plus the loss of a first-round pick. A team that goes 10-15 percent over its pool amount will be hit with a 100-percent penalty on the overage and the loss of a first- and second-round pick. Any overage of 15 percent or more gets a 100-percent tax plus the loss of first-round picks in the next two Drafts.
This year, the Braves have a pool of $8,267,300 to spend in the first 10 rounds, including 4,980,700 to spend on their first selection.
Shopping list
While the Braves will most likely add to their pitching crop within the first few rounds, there is a desire to fortify a catching crop that has slightly improved over the past few years. Look for the team to also attempt to add power potential with any position player that is targeted.
Trend watch
The Braves have taken a pitcher with their first selection each of the past three years and five of the past six. They have shown a preference toward high school arms. But there are a few collegiate arms available that could pique their interest, much like Wright did last year.
Rising fast
When the Braves took Kolby Allard and Mike Soroka with their first two picks of the 2015 Draft, they knew that both of these 17-year-old hurlers had a chance to be something special. Soroka made his Major League debut earlier this month and should come off the disabled list to rejoin Atlanta's rotation within the next couple weeks. Allard has impressed with Triple-A Gwinnett and could soon become the second 20-year-old hurler within the big league rotation.
The third selection in that year's Draft, Austin Riley could also become Atlanta's third baseman at some point this season.
Cinderella story
There is rightfully a lot of buzz regarding what the Braves did when they had five of the first 75 selections of the 2015 Draft -- Allard (14th overall), Soroka (28th overall), Riley (41st), Lucas Herbert (54th) and A.J. Minter (75th). But that class might provide more value in the form of right-handed reliever Evan Phillips, who was taken out of UNC-Wilmington in the 17th round. Phillips has posted a 1.42 ERA through his first 16 relief appearances for Gwinnett this year.
In the show
Freddie Freeman (2007, second round), Minter ('15, second round), Lucas Sims ('12, first round) and Soroka ('15, first round) are the former Braves' Draft choices who have remained with the organization throughout their respective careers and made appearances for Atlanta this year. Tyler Flowers was taken by the Braves in the 33rd round of the 2005 Draft, but spent time with the White Sox before returning to Atlanta's organization in '16.
The Braves' recent top picks
2017: Kyle Wright, RHP (Double-A Mississippi)
2016: Ian Anderson, RHP (Class A Advanced Florida)
2015: Kolby Allard, LHP (Triple-A Gwinnett)
2014: Braxton Davidson, OF (Class A Advanced Florida)
2013: Jason Hursh, RHP (Triple-A Gwinnett)

Mark Bowman is a reporter for