Braves thrilled to get lefty Minter at No. 75
Texas A&M hurler underwent Tommy John surgery in March
ATLANTA -- The Braves viewed A.J. Minter as a potential first-round selection until he had Tommy John surgery in March. Thus, they felt fortunate when they were able to take the Texas A&M left-hander with the last of the five selections (the 75th overall pick) they made on Monday night, the opening day of the 2015 Draft.
"Going into the season, I would have taken him [with the 28th overall selection], but we didn't have to do that," Braves scouting director Brian Bridges said. "He throws 94-97 mph and has great makeup."
Bridges was thrilled to end the hectic first day with the selection of Minter. They opened the Draft by taking a pair of 17-year-old pitchers -- Kolby Allard and Mike Soroka -- in the first round. They grabbed third baseman Austin Riley with the 41st overall selection (acquired from the Padres in the Craig Kimbrel trade) and took Allard's high school teammate -- catcher Lucas Herbert -- with the 54th selection.
The Draft continues on Tuesday with Rounds 3-10. The MLB.com preview show begins at 12:30 p.m. ET, with exclusive coverage of Rounds 3-10 beginning at 1 p.m. ET.
"We're trying to get back to being what the Braves used to be," Bridges said. "We want to build from the ground up, and we're off to a good start."
While the Braves of yesteryear often preferred high school arms, they also did not shy away from power collegiate arms like Minter, who shot up Draft boards after he pitched well as a reliever for the United States College national team last summer. The 21-year-old southpaw surrendered just one run in the four starts he made this year before undergoing Tommy John surgery.
The Braves believe Minter will be ready to pitch during Spring Training next year.
Whether Minter eventually develops into a starter or reliever could be influenced on his ability to improve his changeup.
"He's a strike thrower," Bridges said. "One of our scouts saw him at 94-96-mph for six innings before he got hurt this year. That's what you want to see."