Braves stock speed in Draft's Day 2
Organization quick to uncover running game in later rounds
ATLANTA -- Entering Wednesday's game against the Pirates, the Braves were tied with the Padres for last in the National League with nine stolen bases. On the big league club and throughout the Minors, players with raw speed are hard to find in the Braves' organization.
After Day 2 of the First-Year Player Draft, it's obvious the organization is looking to change that dynamic as soon as possible.
The Braves' haul now includes some of the more prolific speedsters in the Draft, including Mycal Jones, their fourth-round pick.
Jones, of Miami-Dade Community College in Ft. Lauderdale, Fla., ran a 6.4 60-yard dash, but has more of a power swing than most speed-based players.
There has been some debate as to whether or not his throwing arm is good enough to play shortstop on an everyday basis, as many scouts see him more as a utility infielder along the lines of the Angels' Chone Figgins. However, Braves director of scouting Roy Clark disagrees.
"We got some guys that can really run," said Clark. "Jones can really run, and he's a true shortstop. He had a great year down there."
In addition to Jones, the Braves also drafted outfielder Kyle Rose in the eighth round out of Northwest Shoals Community College in Alabama. Rose ran a 6.4 second 60-yard dash, making him among the faster players in the draft.
"Based on where we were on the board today, speed was one of the things that kind of stood out," said Braves general manager Frank Wren. "Along with getting some speed guys early, Roy was able to get three or four more arms."
In addition to speed, the Braves wound up with plenty of shortstops and third basemen on Day 2. Part of the reasoning could be to provide options to replace Chipper Jones a few years down the road.
"I've read all the same things everyone else has," Clark said. "I think we have some guys in place and we got some guys [Wednesday] who could be in that position, but it wasn't really a focus."
Matthew Weaver and Christopher Lovett were two more shortstops plucked from the college ranks, and the Braves also drafted third basemen Jordan Kreke and Jakob Dalfonso.
Over time, Weaver and Lovett could be considered at third base as well, giving the organization plenty of options to choose from at the hot corner.
No Braves' Draft would be complete without a focus on pitching. This year, the Braves honed in on power arms. They got plenty of those, including right-handers David Berryhill and Ryan Woolley.
Round 4, Mycal Jones, SS, Miami-Dade Community College: Seen by many scouts as a utility infielder in the mold of Chone Figgins, but has the tools to be an everyday shortstop. In 2009, he was named to the FCCAA 1st Team All Southern Conference team after hitting .447 with 14 home runs and 50 RBIs.
Round 5, David Berryhill, RHP, Newberry (SC) College: Led Newberry with a 2.20 ERA in, striking out 42 batters in 41 innings. Berryhill was a reliever in college and was named to the all-South Atlantic Conference second team. He is a true power arm, with a fastball that touches 98 mph.
Round 6, Ryan Woolley, RHP, University of Alabama-Birmingham: Woolley began his collegiate career at the University of Georgia before transferring to UAB. In high school, he was named the seventh-best prospect at the Clark Griffith Summer League. The Braves believe he has the ability to start at the Major League level.
Round 7, Robby Hefflinger, OF, Georgia Perimeter College: Hefflinger hit .324 with 11 home runs and 43 RBIs. He is drafted is a right-handed power bat.
Round 8, Kyle Rose, OF, Northwest Shoals (Ala.) Community College: Rose has premium speed, as he ran a 6.3 60 at a workout for the Florida Marlins.
Round 9, Matthew Weaver, SS, Burlington Community College: Hit .452 with 13 home runs and 28 stolen bases in 2009. He struck out just 14 times in 186 at-bats. The Braves rate him very strong defensively.
Round 10, Aaron Northcraft, RHP, Mater Dei (Calif.) High School: Has a four-seam fastball in the 87-90 mph range, and a lively sinker. His curveball has plenty of movement, but he doesn't control it well at this point.
Braves -- Top five selections
|7||LHP||Michael Minor||Vanderbilt U|
|87||RHP||David Hale||Princeton U|
|118||SS||Mycal Jones||Miami Dade CC South|
|148||RHP||David Berryhill||Newberry Col|
|178||RHP||Ryan Woolley||U Alabama Birmingham|
|Complete Braves Draft results >|
Round 11, Christopher Masters, LHP, Western Carolina University: Masters was a prep standout at Kennesaw Mountain High School in Kennesaw, Ga. He features a low-90s fastball and a unique palmball that has been described as "unhittable."
Round 12, Christopher Lovett, SS, Columbia State Community College: Recently seen by the Braves at a tournament in Marietta, Ga. Described as an outstanding shortstop with a successful junior college career.
Round 13, Jordan Kreke, 3B, Eastern Illinois University: Kreke was a Louisville Slugger Third Team All-American in 2009 and a Brooks Wallace Award semifinalist. Led Ohio Valley Conference with .507 batting average.
Round 14, Cory Harrilchak, CF, Elon University: A Louisville Slugger preseason first-team All-American. He drove in 61 runs and hit 16 home runs in 2009. His tools were compared to those of Jordan Schafer's.
Round 15, Bennett Pickar, C, Eaton High School: Very impressive at a workout at Turner Field this year. A big, strong catcher with a powerful arm and a good work ethic.
Round 16, Riaan Spanjer-Furstenburg, 1B, Nova Southeastern University: A native of South Africa, this is another right-handed power bat. Area scouts liked his swing.
Round 17, Jace Whitmer, C, Kennesaw State University: The Kennesaw, Ga., native was one of several Owls selected in this year's Draft. A big catcher with a good bat and a strong throwing arm. Whitmer was compared to former Braves and current White Sox prospect Tyler Flowers.
Round 18, Jakob Dalfonso, 3B, Middle Georgia College: Could play shortstop or third base. Described as one of the most impressive hitters at the Junior College World Series.
Round 19, Ty'Relle Harris, RHP, University of Tennessee: Harris struck out 58 batters in 55 1/3 innings pitched for the Volunteers. Most of his work was out of the bullpen. Features a mid-90s fastball.
Round 20, Jeffrey Lorick, LHP, University of Virginia: Lorick was a prep standout at Chattahoochee High School in Fulton County. Features a low-90s fastball and pitches aggressively. Currently playing in the College World Series.
Round 21, Matt Crim, LHP, The Citadel: Crim finished 2009 with back-to-back complete games. He was a four-year weekend starter for The Citadel. Features a 93 mph fastball.
Round 22, James Weber, RHP, St. Petersburg Junior College: Weber was drafted by the Phillies in the 12th round in 2008.
Round 23, Lucas La Point, RHP, William J. Knight High School (Calif.): The big right-hander has good movement on his two-seam fastball.
Round 24, Casey Upperman, RHP, Notre Dame High School (Az.): Throws a curveball with 11/5 break and a low-90s fastball. His fastball has life and he is a smart player.
Round 25, Ethan Icard, RHP, Wilkes (N.C.) Community College: Icard was 9-3 with a 3.40 ERA this season. He struck out 68 batters in 79 1/3 innings pitched.
Round 26, William Scott, RHP, Walters State (Tenn.) Community College: Scott was drafted by the Rockies in the 32nd round in 2008. He recorded 30 strikeouts in 24 1/3 innings pitched.
Round 27, Joseph Leftridge, OF, Howard College: A two-sport start at Duncanville High School in Texas, Leftridge was also a high-profile recruit in football.
Round 28, Eric Swegman, RHP, Young Harris College: Swegeman went 7-2 with a 4.59 ERA for Young Harris in 2009. He recorded 78 strikeouts in 68 2/3 innings pitched.
Round 29, Bobby Rauh, OF, Daytona Beach Community College: Rauh began his college career at Florida State and received Division 1 offers as a wide receiver.
Round 30, Vince Howard, OF, Sikeston High School (Mo.): An outfielder with very good speed, Howard was the top-ranked uncommitted player in the 2009 class by Perfect Game.
Adam Rosenberg is an associate reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.