Analyzing the Draft by division: NL East
Breaking down the classes of the Braves, Marlins, Mets, Phillies and Nationals
MLBPipeline.com's experts will break down how each team fared in the recently concluded Draft, though we'll have to wait until the July 17 signing deadline to know exactly who will and won't turn pro. Here's our look at the National League East:
It was the first Draft in Atlanta for both president of baseball operations John Hart and brand new scouting director Brian Bridges, though former scouting director Roy Clark was brought back into the fold to try and help advise the group. Offseason moves resulted in extra picks, with the Braves selecting five times on the first night of the Draft.
While they didn't frequently draft from their own backyard as they typically did when Clark was at the helm -- Ryan Lawlor from University of Georgia in the eighth round was the first -- they did aggressively go after high school talent early. It started with injured lefty Kolby Allard, thought to be the top prep arm in the class before he suffered a stress reaction in his back, and continued with three more high schoolers after that. Tip of the cap goes to the Braves for selecting Allard's high school batterymate, Lucas Herbert, in the second round.
There was buzz as the Draft approached that the Marlins might be directed to take a college pitcher with their first pick, rather than select an upside high school bat as many thought they would earlier in the spring. It sounds like the scouting staff won the day, however, taking Canadian slugger Josh Naylor in the first round. Say what you want about the pick -- while Naylor had hit his way into first-round consideration, MLB.com had ranked him No. 59 on the Draft Top 200 -- credit has to be given to the scouts for holding their ground.
Miami did get some college pitching after that, getting Top 200 arms like Brett Lilek (2nd round) and Justin Jacome (5th round), along with Cody Poteet (4th round), Reilly Hovis (9th) and Kelvin Rivas (10th) in the top 10 rounds.
New York Mets
For the first time since 2009, the Mets didn't have a selection in the top 13 picks. Like in 2009, they didn't pick until the second round. One thing didn't change, however: the Mets went after a high school bat with their first selection, taking toolsy Florida prep outfielder Desmond Lindsay No. 53 overall. Three of the organization's top five picks were high schoolers, with Thomas Szapucki ranked No. 97 on the Top 200 going in the fifth round.
Nabbing David Thompson's power bat in the fourth -- he was ranked No. 127 -- could provide some good value. They took some well-thought of high schoolers late like Nic Enright (19th round) and Jake Higginbotham (27th round), both of whom were in the Top 200, but both are likely to end up at Virginia Tech and Clemson, respectively.
The Phillies clearly had offense on their mind during the early stages of the Draft. Starting with Cornelius Randolph at No. 10 overall, Philadelphia selected four straight bats to kick things off, mixing it up with two college hitters and two prep ones. Toolsy shortstop Lucas Williams certainly fits the profile of the high upside athlete the Phillies have taken in the past, even with new scouting director Johnny Almaraz at the helm.
After three straight pitchers, they took a flier on Greg Pickett's raw power from the Colorado high school ranks in the eighth round. The offensive-minded approach continued as the Phillies took hitters with seven of their 10 picks in the top 10 rounds and 13 out of their first 20 selections.
The Nationals didn't have a first round pick, but they did pick twice in the second round. They went speed in the outfield with Andrew Stevenson and Blake Perkins right out of the gate, sticking to the outfield in the third round with Rhett Wiseman. From there, the Nats went on a pitching run, taking five straight college arms, highlighted by Mariano Rivera Jr.
Washington continued to hit college campuses hard as the Draft wore on, finding value in picks like Max Schrock (ranked No. 157 on the Top 200) in the 13th round and Maryland closer Kevin Mooney in the 15th round. In total, 31 of the club's 40 picks came from the university or junior college ranks.