2016 Amateur Draft Summary

If you thought the 2015 draft produced some significant results in a short period of time, wait until you see the 2016 draft. Of all of Coppy’s well-(or overly-)documented shortcomings, he produced 3 strong drafts in his time here. In terms of pure talent who has established itself in the system, the 2016 class looks even better than 2015’s.

Ian Anderson – 1st Round – After all of the drama about “did they or didn’t they” in regards to improper behavior in these drafts have ended, and no wrong-doing was punished in them, it’s fair to say that the Braves really added a lot of top-end pitching at the top of this draft. The headliner is Ian Anderson who was taken 3rd overall. He appears to have been a signability pick, to an extent, as he went underslot and rankings had him lower, but he was good enough to be the #66 prospect by Baseball America in after 2016 and #50 in 2017. He hasn’t adjusted to pro ball quite the way you’d like from a durability standpoint, and he only pitched 83 IP in 2017, but he’s been pitching like a young, top prospect when he is on the mound. In those 83 IP, he posted a K rate of 11 per 9, and gave up 7.5 H/9. But as is a theme with young pitchers, his walk rate was problematic as he had a 6.16 BB/9 last year. He made 20 starts, but only averaged around 4 IP per start, so even though he’s only 19, he really has to begin to stretch out soon.

Joey Wentz – 1st Round Supplemental – Wentz isn’t considered a top 100 yet, and he’s a little older than Anderson (he turned 20 at the end of the season), but his professional results have been much more advanced. Another tall lefty (6’5”), his A- showing was simply much better: 131 IP in 26 GS, 10.39 K/9, 3.14 BB/9, and kept the ball in the park (.27 HR/9). For his first professional season, you have to be encouraged. He could find his way to AA next year, and could be in position to challenge for a roster spot in 2019. He’s by far the most advanced prospect from this draft.

Kyle Muller – 2nd Round – Another tall lefty starting pitcher (6’6”), he has yet to pitch into a deep inning count like Anderson. He was a two-way star in high school, and there was debate about where he’d be used best. The Braves chose the mound, and when he’s been on, it’s been good: 9.25 K/9, 3.4 BB/9, and .94 HR/9. Only 47 total IP in 2017, but he started to increase his workload late in the year, and should find his way to A- next year.

Brett Cumberland – 2nd Round Supplemental – They continue to take catchers towards the top of the draft, and Cumberland’s been the best catcher taken so far. Cumberland is a 22 year old switch-hitting catcher who’s also split time at DH. He started off strong in his first professional season hitting .263/.432/.531 in 236 PAs at A-. He had tons of hit by pitches and tons of home runs. His bat slowed, though, at A+ as his power diminished greatly and his walk percentage was nearly cut in half. He has had a strong showing in the Australian League, though, hitting .273/.363/.494 with 4 HRs in 84 PAs. He hasn’t been behind the plate much, but his team is carrying 5 catchers.

Drew Harrington – 3rd Round – The fourth pitcher taken in the draft, he started off strong but faded in his first full season. A slightly shorter lefty (6’2”), he started the year in A+, and finished the season with a strong FIP (3.13) with a 7.0 K/9 and 2.83 BB/9. He also gets his fair share of groundballs (59.5%), and only gave up a miniscule .13 HR/9. You have to love the peripherals in his first full season, but it will be interesting to see if Atlanta projects him as a starting with all of the competition in the system.
Bryse Wilson – 4th Round – Like Harrington, Wilson had a strong season of peripherals. 20 years old, he pitched in A- all year, and finished with a 9.13 K/9, 2.43 BB/9, and also kept the home runs down with a .53 HR/9. He has garnered a lot of attention because his ERA was better than Harrington’s, and he had a higher K rate, but you have to love both of these guys as depth in an extremely crowded system for starting pitchers.

Tyler Neslony – 9th Round – 23 years old, he’s a lefty who plays first and corner outfield. If I wrote this a month ago, I may not have as much to say, and he may not be on this list. They pushed him aggressively as he started the year in A+ and hit really well (.309/.378/.442), but he really struggled in his AA assignment: .194/.289/.243. But he’s absolutely raked in his short time in Australia (.348/.439/.587), so he’s recovered from his late season struggles. He could be a sleeper as a bench outfielder at the major league level, and he’ll probably repeat AA with a chance to factor into our short-term plans.

Corbin Clouse – Round 27 – A real find in the later rounds. Clouse has developed some attention after his encouraging stints at A+ and AA. His walk rate is atrocious (5.37/9), but his K rate is in the double digits (11.12/9), and he only gave up 2 HR in 57 IP. If he can improve his walk rate next year, you could see him earning a September callup in 2018.

This class has a blend of high end talent and steady, projectable performers. Though light on position players, all 5 SPs mentioned performing well in the low minors has to encourage the Braves. There’s no game-changing position player, but Cumberland and Neslony are interesting as college bats with an encouraging first year. And considering some teams don’t produce a single major leaguer in a particular draft class, even someone like Clouse in the 27th round already pitching well in AA shows that Coppy put together some strong drafts.

57 thoughts on “2016 Amateur Draft Summary”

  1. Nice to read a list of our young talent – have a terrible deja vu moment – then realize they’re ours, for as long as we want to keep them. Thanks, Rob.

    ‘O they can’t take that away from me.’

  2. In the last thread Sam called Yellich a young Nick Markakis. The Braves mlb site has an article saying the same thing and comparing the two. I didn’t realize you had such an influence Sam on the Braves official media outlet.

  3. Not as many successful depth picks this year, but a few.

    Tucker Davidson (lefty starting pitcher) should have been on Rob’s list. We started him in the bullpen last year and the first month of 2017 and then moved him into Rome’s rotation. 95+ fastball with life and 2 plus breaking balls (which always looked the same to me, scouts differ!) and a usable change. He was equal to Wentz and Wilson down the stretch.

    Twin Brandons (relief pitchers) We drafted Brandon White in both the 12th and the 13th round apparently because we didn’t know which one was the good one (I jest, I think). We still have 1 of them and he was super at Rome, decent at Florida. I got dibs on the nickname should he make the show.

    Devan Watts, 17th rd reliever. Lights out at Fl and MS, striking out 10/9. groundball machine as well, could figure in MLB bullpen in 2nd half this year.

    Jared James, 34th rd, corner outfield. spent whole year at MS with decent numbers. Great athlete trying to learn baseball. Low odds he makes it but has far higher ceiling potential than your average 34th rounder.

    Let me also say thanks to Rob for these.

  4. Yeah, snowshine, I definitely agree that there are a lot of encouraging guys from the draft. It’s just really hard for me to put 10-11 guys on a list from one draft class when you may get 1-2 big leaguers. I felt like picking the early round, high ceiling guys and a couple from down the draft that look close to the major leagues kept the list at a manageable size. I saw Watts pitch at Clearwater, and he looks really good. I think you’re right that he could earn a bullpen spot at some point. I like Tucker Davidson, but if you’re a late round guy, I feel like you need to show something in AA. Just my thought process to try to keep the list from getting too long and wishcastful.

  5. I believe it was Mac that had the thought process on not putting too much faith in any prospects until success at AA, and I’ve followed that model pretty routinely. Obviously there are players that are exceptions to the rule.

  6. I for one, have never seen Sam and Peanut together at the same time.

    For what it’s worth, Baseball Reference lists Markakis’s most similar hitter at age 26 (Yelich’s age) as Carl Yastrzemski.

  7. I for one have never seen Sam and Peanut together at the same time.

    In fairness, it takes some serious peripheral vision to see Peanut and anyone together at the same time.

  8. Huascar Ynoa
    first tried NASCAR- but Whoa!
    he was frightened by speed
    his sluggish fastball now meets a deep emotional need.

  9. Mike Soroka
    of all of them he has to be the joker
    there’s 6 pitches, only three identifiable
    the other three he will not discuss,make him doubly viable.

  10. I’m not suggesting all (or even most) of them will make it, just that they are candidates worth monitoring. Perhaps a better illustration of Coppy’s draft strength is to compare our 2016 haul with another team in similar draft position, namely the Reds, who actually had a larger draft pool than the barves and had slightly higher picks.

    Rd 1, pick 2 overall, Nick Senzel. We will be seeing Senzel this year in the majors and he appears to be very good. Like, 4+ WAR good. Wish he were ours.

    Rd Competitive Balance 1, Taylor Trammel, OF. Toolsy and productive HS draftee who had an excellent season at Low-A. A member of the All-Chief team (he’s fast but doesn’t really know what that leather thing is doing on his hand). Another hit for the Reds.

    Rd 4 Scott Moss, College P (go Gators!) was good at A- but old for the league.

    Rd 14 (don’t ask about the intervening rounds, the results are ghastly) Jesse Adams is a reliever with a decent fastball and great change.

    If I squint really hard I can sort of see 15th rounder Jesse Stallings as a mop-up man in a MLB bullpen. The rest of their lower draftees have either been released or have not performed well at all and are organizational soldiers at this point.

    I have the Reds leading 9 to 4 over the barves on members of the class to already be released. I expect 3 more barves to be released this spring and at least 8 more Reds.

    Coppy, Bridges and Co. were really good at this. Hopefully it was mostly Bridges.

  11. @15 I don’t think that’s a good comparison as Enciarte is also a good hitter. Let’s say that Inciarte was a .270 hitter with 6-9 HRs BUT better D than he even plays now… Then I would take Adams. As they are, Inciarte.

  12. How much must it suck to be a Marlins fan? If they can’t afford guys like Ozuna, Yelich, and Realmuto, what really is their path to viability?

  13. If I were a Marlins fan, I’d be more forgiving. Their window effectively closed with Fernandez’s passing, or sort of like our teams under Wren, their farm system doesn’t position them to prolong any success right now anyway. There’s no point in them paying Stanton on a non-contending team, and then if that’s the case, they might as well tear it all down and try again in a few seasons.

  14. Trigger warning: HOF ballot

  15. Coppy
    where we were once stroppy
    our recent draft discussions
    confirm they were done with no repercussions.

  16. Just chatted with Lane Adams and he said his swing is quicker, shorter, and still has that slight elevation to keep his launch angle where he wants it. He also worked out with guy who changed JD Martinez’s swing year before his breakout. Really interested to see where he gets to with his hard work as he’s constantly trying to find ways to get better whether it be tweaking his batting approach or streamlining his running technique.

  17. Ryan, will we be getting an interview transcript at Walk-off Walk? Thanks to his interviews and twitter I have become a big fan of Lane’s. I hope he fills our left field void for awhile.

  18. I could see that, Rob. But the guy only voted for three players, none of whom are either of those mentioned. Nuts, IMO.

  19. Three writers from GolfWest Magazing have HOF votes. Vin Scully does not. Bill James does not. Sean Foreman does not. The HOF is a goddamned joke.

  20. @snowshine

    I’ve thought about doing another interview with Lane, but not sure I want to pry too much into his offseason routines. I’ll wait til he brings it up again before asking.

  21. The more I think about it, the more I have confidence that we’ll be happy with whatever happens with Yelich and/or Realmuto. I don’t think AA will give up some of the huge prospect hauls that some are predicting (fearing?), and if that’s what ultimately gets Yelich/Realmuto and we don’t, then I’m ok with that too. Some of these trade proposals where we give up 1 current 2018 SP + 2 blue chips prospects may be a fair deal for Yelich, but I hope we don’t make it. Simply put, a Newcomb/Allard/Anderson for Yelich deal would be really tough, and the deal I speculated for Archer as it compared to the Sale deal (Soroka, Riley, Touki, Jackson) would be something more palatable. Do we have a multitude of high-end prospects, leaving us in rare territory to outbid other teams? Sure, but we need to find a team that would prefer 4 B to B+ prospects vs. 3 B+ to A prospects and get their elite player.

  22. With a good 2018, I would imagine Lane Adams will get into that fan favorite territory that Matt Diaz or Brooks Conrad (before 2012 NLDS) or Julio Franco occupied. That’s cool that Lane’s talking with you, Ryan.

  23. Ask Lane Adams why he chews his nails so much. Seriously, he looks like a nervous wreck in the dugout.

  24. Given Yadi just signed the extension, I wonder if Carson Kelly could be available? Also, the Cardinals already had an OF glut prior to the Ozuna trade, so I wonder if you could pick off a Tyler O’Neill as well?

    Price would be substantially lower than Yelich/Realmuto, and Kelly would set us up at catcher for the foreseeable future while O’Neill addresses a massive dearth of power at the major league level that (for all his other skills) Yelich doesn’t.

    At that point, you’d go into 2019 set everywhere except 3B and (probably) SP with a still strong farm system and $75 million to spend.

  25. @37

    I wonder what other examples of that across the league would work, because a blocked prospect for a contender would be a great way of filling some of these holes. Or you could do the same at 3B. I stop short, though, of saying we should deal for a catcher, especially Realmuto, because this is how your catcher spot can play out for Realmuto (or whomever else’s) remaining years of control:

    2018: Flowzuki ($6.5M)
    2019: Flowers and backup catcher (Flowers’ $4M + backup). Kade Scivicque (25 years old?)
    2020: Alex Jackson (24 years old)? Brett Cumberland (24 years old)? William Contreras (22 years old)?

    And of course, from there, whoever would/could hit in 2020, you have several years of control. So unless you feel like Realmuto’s lack of risk is worth the prospect return, then it just makes sense to hold pat. There’s a reason why we’ve taken 2 top catchers in the IFA in the last 3 years, traded for Jackson and Scivicque, and drafted Cumberland and Herbert.

  26. I would pass on Realmuto (I don’t trust catchers to replicate hitting stats unless they are the elite of the elite which he is most assuredly not) but would make a pretty big push for Yelich. Even as much as I believe prospects are suspects though, I wouldn’t overpay.

  27. @38 – It’s not really a prospect, but the Eugenio Suarez/Nick Senzel situation in Cincy certainly should leave one available. Ian Happ of the Cubs, and Clint Frazier of the Yankees are two others I’ve seen bandied (though I’m not as high on Frazier as others may be).

    Isn’t Flowers a full FA after this year? Given the performance, $4 million to resign for one year seems optimistic. Unless something unexpected happens, I can’t see any of the internal catching prospects being ready by next year.

    Something like Allard and Suzuki for Kelly would seem to be fair. Maybe swap Allard for Dansby if you’re blazon. The nice thing about the most senior of the internal guys (Jackson/Cumberland) is that most of their value projects to be from their bats. Even if you found another guy who would project to be a longer-term starting catcher, it would seem you could push one of them close to 400 AB’s per year with some combination of backup catcher/corner OF & PH.

  28. It’s a real issue when a primary cog of your offense has to sit every fifth day, yet still fades down the stretch. Call it the Life Lessons Of Brian McCann.

  29. How would this lineup look in 2019

    Inciarte, CF – LH
    Albies, 2b – SH
    Freeman, IB – LH
    Machado , 3B – RH
    Yelich – LF — LH
    Acuna – RF – RH
    Realmuto – C – RH
    Swanson – ss or Carmago -SH

  30. #45 …. OK ..he can as far as I am concerned … include Swanson in Yelich deal … let Carmago play SS this year .. of course thats predicting Machado would even play in the South .. may have to take Donaldson at 3B in 2019 ….

  31. @42

    And Contreras, whose glove is projected a little better, is far enough away that you can do what you want to do in the next 3 years, use Cumberland/Jackson elsewhere, and leave room for Contreras. It’d be nice if we still had Gutierrez, but whatcanyado….

  32. If you could get Machado and a reasonable belief* that you could sign him long term at SS, of course you include Swanson if needed.

    *no one on this board has any position to say their personal belief in as much is reasonable or not.

  33. Realmuto
    can’t frame
    damn shame.


    Swanson plus any 2 of 4 pitchers (list A) OR any 3 of 6 (List B)

    See Cope R for names on each list, some will be common.

    My sources(Frontal Lobe Media)insist one of these will work.

    PS…Remember, if you’re on the receiving end, 3 always sounds better than 2. This is profoundly important. Take Advantage of this by ensuring any 3 names in List B are worth, to us, less than any 2 on A.

    Apologies to any sabermetricians here who have not yet reached this advanced level of understanding of our game.

    Rob, seriously, purely as an excercise, who would be on your A and B?

  34. I’d reckon Allard, Soroka, Wright, and Gohara would be list A (4), and Newcomb, Fried, Anderson, Mueller, Wentz, and Touki would be list B (6)? You got pretty lucky with your numbering, there, blazin’ blazon.

    And really, while we may be tired of hearing about Lucas Sims’ prospectdom since 2012, he has value. And while we might be really tired of Matt Wisler and Aaron Blair, they have value too. Wisler was our top pitching prospect 2 years ago, and was in the top-50 in all of baseball with the Padres. We may be sick of these guys, but if you’re a rebuilding team like, say, the Marlins, why wouldn’t you throw these guys in your rotation and see if you catch lightning? Who else is competing?

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