He’s not a pitcher!

Russell County’s Rasmus may be state’s top pick

Rumor is that the Braves are looking hard at drafting Colby Rasmus out of Alabama’s Russell County High School. He’s a centerfielder and has signed with Auburn.

“It’s hard to say just where he will fall in the draft,” said Rasmus’ dad, who was a 10th-round MLB draft pick in 1986. “I just got off the phone with the Braves and they told me they have the 27th pick overall. They said if they didn’t get him then, they don’t think he’ll be around when they get their next pick at 41.”

He also worked out for the Red Sox, Marlins, and Cards. If he gets past the Marlins, the Braves might jump. Draft starting now.

47 thoughts on “He’s not a pitcher!”

  1. ahuh?! A COLLEGE pitcher as the top pick!? Is cnnsi.com having techincal problems?

    Joseph Devine from NC State.

  2. Devine had 12 saves for NCST this season. In 48.2 innings he had 72 strikeouts to 10 walks. He gave up only one homerun in 181 at-bats. Baseball America has him rated as the 3rd closet to the majors from college, and at this point, I hope that is true.

  3. Chad Cordero is a nice story, but seriously this is a terrible pick. If you have a first round pick and all you get is a relief pitcher, it’s a bad pick. The Braves have now made that their best case scenario. I assume this was some sort of cost cutting measure. At least I hope so, otherwise it’s just plain dumb.

  4. College closers are only now being accepted as a good use of a high pick because the old theory of developing closers in the minors. You’ve got to be pretty lights-out though to make that jump. I think this guy’s been good but has he been that good?

  5. It’s just so damn odd. But I don’t think it’s terrible. There is Cordero as the good example of promoting him the same year. But let’s not ignore Huston Street. I can’t see the organization actually considering throwing this kid into the fire this year, but I don’t find it a bad play as a shot at the very near future like Street.

    I just think it’s so damned odd for an organization that sometimes goes out of its way to draft high school pitchers AND thinks that relievers are generally made much later in life.

  6. From Baseball America:

    “Devine has dominated this season and is one of the closest players to the majors in this year’s draft. He has plenty of stuff, starting with a mid-90s fastball that touches 97, and throws it from a funky arm angle–not quite sidearm but lower than three-quarters. His frisbee slider, thrown in the mid-80s, is death to righthanded hitters, whom he dominates. Scouts like Devines competitiveness, makeup and athletic ability, which allows him to repeat his unorthodox delivery. He may need a changeup or split-finger pitch, though, to better attack lefthanded hitters in pro ball.”

  7. Beau Jones’ stats on his high school’s webpage says he had 7 wins, 1.23 ERA, 3.13 hits per 7 innings and 13.4 strikeouts per 7 innings.

  8. No surprise, the Braves took a high school pitcher in the supplemental round: Beau Jones, a lefty from Destrahan, La. The Dodgers took Tennessee’s Luke Hochevar with the pick right before, don’t know if the Braves would have taken him (he’s a Boras client).

  9. A few names from the past, courtesy of Baseball America’s running Draft blog:

    “By taking N.C. State righthanded reliever Joey Devine, the Braves took their first college first-rounder since 1991, when the Braves selected Arizona State outfielder Mike Kelly with the second pick in that year’s draft. He’s the first college pitcher the Braves have taken in the first round since 1987, when they selected Georgia lefthander Derek Lilliquist.
    They took lefty Dan Meyer out of James Madison with the 37th overall pick (supplemental round) in 2002. The Braves’ area scout in North Carolina, Billy Best, is a former Wolfpack assistant coach.”

  10. The Braves took Yunel Escobar, the Cuban defector shortstop, in the second round. Surprising to say the least.

  11. ESPN just said that Chipper could be out for the season and may need surgery.

  12. Seems like a decent pick to me. We all see how important bullpens are now and the Braves had struggled for years there. If this kid is a good as he appears, it would be worthwhile.

  13. Atlanta’s third pick – CF Jordon Schafer, Winterhaven HS in Florida

  14. Still no word on the MRI, as far as I know. Maybe some folks listening to sports radio in Atlanta have more recent info?

  15. From a BA blog yesterday:

    -snip-
    Escobar, meanwhile, has done nothing but improve in clubs’ eyes, and heading into Tuesday’s draft he was likely to be a first-round pick. Clubs have two main concerns with the shortstop, who scouts are saying is shorter than his reported 6-foot-2 listed height. First, they want to verify Escobar’s age; he’s likely 22 or 23. Second, they question just how much power is in his bat, but it appears they won’t be able to ponder him for long, because enough teams are interested that he seems unlikely to last into the second round.

    -snip-

    Interesting that he fell to the Braves. I guess he got hyped up because the Red Sox were looking at him so strongly, but I guess they decided not to use one of their early picks. He’s certainly an interesting choice. I guess there’s really no good way to know what you’ll get out of a guy from Cuba.

  16. Also, of course, in 5 minutes or less of looking around for info I have seen him reported as being 21, 22 AND 23 years old. I guess that makes him realistically something like, what, 27?

  17. Yeah, probably. :) Although with the visa changes, they’ll figure out his real age pretty quick.

  18. OK, so something really and truly has changed in the Braves organization over the last few years. There really can’t be any doubt about it anymore, can there? They still clearly love those high ceiling HS pitchers from the southeast, but neither Devine nor Escobar would’ve gotten a sniff a few years ago. All this after guys like Johnson, McCarthy, Marte, McCann and Salta-whatever looking very different than the position “prospects” from just a few years ago. Am I wrong here? And, the real question, where did this come from? Other than Bobby Cox mentioning that Kelly Johson was good at “getting on base” when he was first called up, there’s been no concrete indications of any change in overriding philosophy at the ML level. Is this some sort of revolution from the bottom? Is it simply a change borne out of financial necessity? Will it trickle up through some weird cohesion/tension to the big league club?

  19. I think the Braves just needed a big arm around the AA/AAA levels in the bullpen. We are going to need guys to fill spots in the pen over the next few years. Devine should be ready to close in the next three years, he just needs to learn a change up or a fork ball.

    I think Bobby and John think they may have a steal at SS. Having a few good middle infielders on the farm has helped us over the last few years.

    It seems like the Braves are taking guys who have a chance to help us sometime over the next three years. We are getting younger quick.

  20. Hypothetical Question – If the Braves signed Joey Devine today. He reports to minor league assignment tomorrow. He works with minor league instruction for one month. He gets a call up to ATL Braves on July 15.

    Is there a rule out there that states that a player cant play in MLB the first year he is drafted?

    I know this is not the most likely or ideal scenario but I wanted to know if it is logistically possible.

  21. There is no such rule. Several players (Bob Horner for one) went straight from college to the majors. As I mentioned, Ryan Wagner played in the majors the same year he was drafted just two years ago.

  22. Seems they also took Will Startup out of Georgia..another close with good stuff. Looks like they are loading up on the one area the minors are weak. I really do think this has a lot to do with Kolb. Maybe not for this year, but I bet next year the two of them could both in the running to make the club.

    Everything I have read, Devine is a hoss. does anyone really thing he is our August closer ?

  23. Startup doesnt have that great of stats, terrible K numbers, seems like a reach to me

  24. Why not, he sounds better than what the Braves have now? Seriously though, I doubt we’ll see him this year unless he destroys the minor league hitters the next few months.

  25. Looks like a tie between Bledsoe and David Remy if Marte starts tonight. Prize is a selection out of my boxes of books nobody will ever read.

  26. This has nothing to do with Atlanta or the draft, but, as I said in my KC rant yesterday, it just burns me up to know that such stupid organizations even exist…

    Tampa Bay just DFA’d Josh Phelps. OK, no big deal really… useful but unspectacular guy surely blocking a prospect. The name of said “prospect”? Reggie Taylor. MLB should take out a restraining order on Chuck LaMar.

  27. This from BP:

    youre looking for a snapshot of the Braves organization, its the Chipper Jones injury. Not that he was carried off, not that hes fought through multiple problems and stubbornly resisted rest, but that hell be replaced by the #1 prospect in the minors, Andy Marte. John Schuerholz often has something like this just waiting for such a moment and when theres not a blue chip, he plays Reanimator and conjures up the last hurrah of Julio Franco or Mike Remlinger.

    I love it! It’s so true. Yes, we’re having problems, but what a team this is! It’s the amazing invasion of the minors, and what the hell…if this is the year the braves don’t win, what a way to go down. If it’s not, the rest of the majors should be scared.

  28. Marte struck out in his first MLB at bat tonight.
    And Erstad has not (yet) been hit in the head with a fastball.

  29. So what do you think the plan is going to be, or what do you think the plan should be at this point? With the division so tight i know JS and BC aren’t going to give up but are they gonna let the kids play it out and wait on the returns of hampton, thomson and chipper? Will JS make a move to bring in an OF? Is Betemit for real? (I love how he have been playing, small sample size but you can’t really ignore the XBHs can you?) And they said furcal was considering quitting switch hitting because of his shoulder. Lots of interesting questions out there to consider. I’m excited/scared all at the same time. What about you guys?

  30. I’m confident that there will be a deal for bullpen help. I guess that the OF thing will depend on who’s available to trade for and who’s available to trade. They certainly should have the chips to deal for a reliever, and I believe there will be some non-closing ones available. I think an OF will be much harder to get. But I do strongly suspect that they’re willing to part with Chuck James, and he’d buy a lot from a club interested in young pitching. I also still think it’s at least mildly possible that LaRoche is available. But that depends on Marte’s performance, Larry’s health and Schuerholz’s willingness to do something like that.

    I know this will get me in trouble with those who still are all fired up about hating Merv Rettenmund (with understandable reason), but I always thought that Furcal might be better off hitting right-handed. He isn’t the slap-hitting speedster that the Braves wanted him to be. It would be nice if he were that and, of course, patient. But he isn’t, so he doesn’t take advantage of the extra step or so out of the left side of the batter’s box anyway. And he at least used to be a much more patient and productive hitter from the right side. The real question, of course, is whether or not he can deal with right handed pitching from there. It should be an interesing experiment if he tries it. But he’s going to be gone next year, so I’d rather he just go on the DL and try to rest it than try anything drastic at this point. It would give him a chance to heal, and it would give Betemit the shot I think he’s earned. If Furcal came back healthy and productive, at least we’d know then whether Betemit could do it next year.

  31. I’d think, that of the players on the major league roster, Furcal and Johnson would be the most available. Brayan Pena might also be traded for the right thing, since McCann’s not too far behind him.

    A lot depends on Chipper’s foot. If it looks likely that he’ll be back by mid-July, LaRoche would be trade bait. If he’s out for the season, LaRoche becomes untouchable. The one thing I don’t expect to see is the front office giving up on the season. Why would you? It’s June, and you’re still in the thick of it.

  32. I want to echo Troy’s comment. Can you think of time in the recent past when so many minor leaguers are up with the team. For me this is precious limited time before JS bundles up 3 or 4 and ships them off for somebody who stays one year and then signs with the yankees.

  33. It’s pretty obvious to me why the Braves changed their draft philosophy. It’s called payroll. They don’t have the luxury anymore of taking high school kids that might pan out if five or six years. They need guys that can help soon because they aren’t in a position to make big moves on the major league level. IN particular, a closer like Devine, if he has dominant stuff, can help right away because he doesn’t have to have to worry about changing speeds and such; for an inning or two he can just blow guys away that haven’t seen him. So he could be up in September potentially. And, let’s face it, the Braves philosophy of drafting high school pitchers hasn’t been all that successful, although they have been able to trade a bunch for major league talent. It’s not like the kids they’ve brought up have been dominant.

    I have no problem with what’s going on now. They postponed the transition last year by getting Drew, but it may be on in full swing now. It’s hard to see them winning with this team, but at least they are working toward the future. And I think the future is going to be like the Minnesota Twins–develop your own players and eschew big moves on the major league level. For all intents and purposes, the Braves are a mid-market team unless attendence picks up drastically, which doesn’t appear likely.

  34. I agree with Edo. There’s not room for everyone, and there are holes to be filled. Some of Johnson/Langerhans/McCarthy (too many OF’s), Pena/McCann/Saltimacchia (too many C’s), bundled with some minor league arms could bring in quite a haul.

    It’s up to Bobby to decide who stays and who goes. My guesses?

    Furcal stays. It’s too radical to trade him. Walks at EOY.

    Betemit stays. Takes over SS next year unless he tanks 2nd half of this year. Nice Utility guy for ’05.

    LaRoche stays, but is traded at EOY.

    Chipper, done for the year. Back in ST with a 1B glove.

    Andruw stays. Who’s going to replace him?

    All the other suspects are trade bait. I wonder if a package of McCann and James could bring Lidge? Aubrey Huff would look great in a Braves uni, but I don’t see it happening.

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