Braves have right-handed idea on Day 2
ATLANTA -- As the Braves progressed through the early portion of Day 2 of the 2015 MLB Draft, they stuck to their commitment to stockpile high-upside pitchers.
The Braves selected pitchers with each of their first three selections on Tuesday. With these additions, Atlanta has used six of its first eight picks on pitchers.
The Draft concludes Wednesday, with exclusive coverage of Rounds 11-40 on MLB.com beginning at noon ET.
Round 3 (89th overall): RHP Anthony Guardado, Nogales High School (La Puente, Calif.)
Guardado, 17, was a late bloomer who did not start drawing attention from scouts until he was cleared to return from a shoulder injury in late April.
A high school quarterback, Guardado appears to be the hard-nosed, athletic type that Braves scouting director Brian Bridges said he would target in the Draft. When the right-hander made his pitching debut for Nogales this year, he was fortunate to be matched up against Peter Lambert, who was selected in the second round by the Rockies.
The scouts who came to watch Lambert that day saw Guardado flash an impressive fastball that touched 94 mph. Guardado finished with a 1.05 ERA, notching 55 strikeouts while issuing 11 walks in the 33 1/3 innings in his senior season at Nogales.
Round 4 (120th overall): RHP Josh Graham, Oregon
Atlanta opted to take a chance on Graham, who served as Oregon's catcher the past two seasons, then began in the Ducks' bullpen this year. After transitioning to a starting role midway through the season, he began drawing attention from scouts, who saw the 6-foot, 220-pound right-hander touch 96 mph with his fastball and display a plus changeup.
Graham made just six starts for Oregon this year. In the 65 innings he compiled over 19 appearances, he posted a 2.63 ERA, notched 64 strikeouts, issued 26 walks and limited opponents to a .212 batting average. He recorded 11 strikeouts in nine innings against UCLA last month.
Round 5 (150th overall): RHP Ryan Clark, UNC-Greensboro
After impressing during his freshman and sophomore seasons, Clark struggled at the start of this past season. But the 6-foot-5, 220-pound right-hander made some adjustments, and he began wowing scouts again in March.
Clark impressed the Braves with his makeup and his ability to command four pitches, a trait that could help him continue to serve as a starting pitcher throughout his Minor League career. He posted a 4.07 ERA and recorded 94 strikeouts, while issuing 39 walks in the 95 innings he completed this past season.