Bryan Smith of Baseball Analysts has posted his Drafting Team Rankings for the NL. The Braves 2005 class comes in 7th place under the heading “Picking Early, Often and Effectively.” Here’s what he has to say.
After drafting surprisingly conservative with their first pick, choosing college closer Joey Devine, Roy Clark went back to normal the rest of the way. There was Beau Jones, one of Louisiana’s best arms, and Yuniel Escobar, the toolsy shortstop from Cuba. Many talented arms (35 pitchers in total, the draft’s high), and quite a few picks from Georgia and Florida. And of course, lots of high schoolers, as their six college choices were a draft low. It seems that the Braves have just about as much consistency in their draft styles as they do first place finishes. The exception of the year, as mentioned, was Devine. With the club facing unexpected bullpen problems that are likely not going away, hoping Devine to be the answer is a good philosophy. While some mock the idea of spending a first-round pick on relievers, for some teams I believe it is undoubtedly the right decision. And of course the best part of the current Braves draft is the fact that their first five picks have been signed.