Thursday, June 07, 2007

Atlanta Braves 2007 MLB Draft (rounds 1-5)

The fifth round of the 2007 First-Year Player Draft has just wrapped up, and I have to say, at first I wasn't very thrilled with how the Braves had done thus far, at least not right away, But after looking at some of their profiles and their scouting reports I started to come around. I'm still not sold on some prospects, like our third round picks, I just don't see why we would take them. We definitely passed up on a lot of great prospects and in return drafted some mediocre prospects according to scouting reports, scouting videos and hearsay that i've been able to find.

After doing some more research and talking with people who have first hand knowledge, our first three picks are actually pretty good, granted our third round pick I might've done differently but hey, that's just me. But alas, here are our first seven prospects that we drafted.

Side Note: These great player profiles come courtesy of MLB.com

1st round (14th overall):

Jason Heyward

Height: 6'4"
Weight: 220
Birth Date: 8/09/89
Bats: Left
Throws: Left
School: Henry County HS (McDonough, GA)
Position: Outfield and First Base



Hitting Ability: Heyward is a strong, left-handed hitter with the chance to hit for average and power.

Power: His best tool. He's got tremendous power and power potential from the left side.

Running Speed: Close to average. He's not a speedster, but he won't clog up the bases, either.

Arm Strength: Near average, but should develop average arm strength with a good long-tossing program.

Fielding: Heyward plays center for his high school team, but will likely be a left fielder or first baseman at the next level. He's average defensively overall.

Range: He's got average range. He's not a stiff, but won't win any gold gloves.

Baseball Instinct: He's got very good baseball instincts.

Physical Description: Heyward is a big strong, power-hitting lefty at age 17.

Medical Update: Healthy

Strengths: Power potential from the left side, approach at the plate.

Weaknesses: Some think he can be too patient at times, but that could be the result of not seeing any good pitches. He also may be limited to left field or first base.

Summary: Heyward is one of the most intriguing high school bats in the draft class. He's got legitimate power potential from the left side, always a hot commodity, but isn't an all-or-nothing hitter. He's got a good approach at the plate and has the chance to hit for average and power. If the cards fall right, he could be a future cleanup hitter.

My Grade: A+

Supplemental Round (33rd overall):

Jon Gilmore

Height: 6'3"
Weight: 190
Birthdate: 8/23/88
Bats: Right
Throws: Right
School: Iowa City HS (Iowa City, IA)
Position: Third Base



Hitting Ability: Gilmore showed a better approach at the plate during this showcase than he had in the past. He adjusted well to offspeed stuff and showed good extension through the zone.

Power: Gilmore has projectable raw power.

Running Speed: He's a below-average runner.

Arm Strength: Gilmore's arm seemed tired or labored during the showcase.

Fielding: Gilmore was a little slow defensively with an almost casual approach.

Range: The lack of quickness showed and his range was limited.

Physical Description: Gilmore has an Aaron Boone-body type and has changed physically in the past year, looking stronger now.

Medical Update: Healthy.

Strengths: Offensive potential, with power and overall hitting ability projection.

Weaknesses: His defensive game is behind his bat and was lackluster with the glove at this showcase.

Summary: Gilmore improved at the plate tremendously in his senior season. The infielder has good raw power and showed a better overall approach in his offensive game. His defense isn't as sharp, but he will be drafted because of his bat potential.

My Grade: B-

Second Round (69th Overall)

Josh Fields

Height: 6'0"
Weight: 180
Birthdate: 8/19/85
Bats: Right
Throws: Right
School: Georgia University
Position: Relief Pitcher



Fastball: Fields throws a plus fastball that sat consistently in the 93-96 mph range.

Fastball Movement: Coming from a direct overhand slot, Fields' fastball is very straight.

Slider: Usually, Fields has a good hard slider in the 78-79 mph range. He didn't throw it much in his Friday outing.

Control: Usually Fields has decent control, but he was overthrowing up and out of the strike zone on Friday. He came out of his delivery and was constantly behind in the count, which kept him from getting to his above-average slider.

Poise: It was below average on Friday. He was given a lead and was perhaps too amped up to close out a win against Oregon State on opening night.

Aggressiveness: Being aggressive for a closer is a good thing, but he was overly-aggressive in a save situation on Friday. He can be too aggressive, wanting to come in and throw hard. He needs to learn to channel that.

Physical Description: He's a six-foot righty with a power arm who'll likely always have to answer questions about his size.

Medical Update: Healthy.

Strengths: Fields has a legitimate power arm with the classic fastball-slider mix.

Weaknesses: Normally, command is not a problem for Fields, but it was on Friday. He has shown the ability to keep his fastball down in the zone and will need to get back to that in the future.

Summary: Fields will be one of the most-watched college closers this season. His outing on Friday may be just one hiccup chalked up to Opening Night jitters. His size will always be an issue because of his plane to the plate and leverage, though others (Billy Wagner from the left side) have shown size doesn't always matter.

My Grade: C+

Third Round (78th Overall)

Frederick Freeman

Height: 6'5"
Weight: N/A
Birthdate: 9/12/89
Bats: Left
Throws: Right
School: El Modena HS (California)
Position: Third Base

I apologize for this, but I can't find any information on Frederick Freeman, I'll will be trying my damnedest to find out some stuff about him...I will update when I do.

The only thing I can find is his scouting video...here's the link, just scroll down and click the "400k" next to his name.

Third Round (108th Overall):

Brandon Hicks

Height: 6'2"
Weight: 205
Birthdate: 9/14/85
Bats: Right
Throws: Right
School: Texas A&M University
Position: Shortstop



Hitting Ability: Hicks grades out as a below-average hitter.

Power: He has below-average power.

Running Speed: Hicks has above-average speed.

Base Running: He uses his speed well and knows how to steal a base.

Arm Strength: Hicks has above-average arm strength at short.

Fielding: He is average across the board defensively.

Range: The speed helps, and Hicks has Major League average range.

Physical Description: Hicks is an athletic middle infielder with a Jay Bell body type.

Medical Update: Healthy.

Strengths: He's solid defensively, he can run well and his makeup is off the charts.

Weaknessess: There are questions about whether he'll hit enough at the next level.

Summary: Hicks is a speedy shortstop with excellent defensive skills and tremendous makeup. All of that won't make him an everyday shortstop at the next level unless he can hit enough, something that scouts question. Worst-case, he could make for a very good defensive-minded utility guy who can run.

My Grade: D+

Fourth Round (138th Overall):

Cory Gearrin

Height: 6'2"
Weight: 185
Birthdate: 4/14/86
Bats: Right
Throws: Right
School: Mercer University
Position: Relief Pitcher



Fastball: Gearrin throws an average fastball.

Fastball Movement: His fastball has below-average life.

Slider: Gearrin's slider projects as an average pitch. Right now, it's not as there is too much sweeping action when he throws it.

Control: He should have average command in the future.

Poise: Gearrin is a very aggressive pitcher as Mercer's closer.

Physical Description: Gearrin is a sidearming right-hander with a Scot Shields body type.

Medical Update: Healty.

Strengths: Gearrin's sidearm action is difficult to pick up for hitters.

Weaknesses: The arm angle does cause the sweep on the slider.

Summary: Gearrin jumped on the map early this year when his Mercer team took two games from the University of Miami. Gearrin saved both of those games, going three innings and striking out six without allowing a hit. The sidearmer is a very aggressive pitcher who'll need to work on tightening his slider. He profiles as a decent middle or setup guy out of someone's bullpen.

My Grade: C+

5th Round (168th Overall):

Dennis Dixon

Height: 6'4"
Weight: 205
Birthdate: 1/11/85
Bats: Left
Throws: Right
School: Oregon University
Position: Outfield


Much like Freeman, there is no information available at this time on Dennis Dixon. But when I heard his name, it rang a bell for some reason, after thinking about it for a second I realized that Dennis Dixon was the Oregon Ducks starting quarterback last season. That shows how athletic he is if he can start at quarterback at a major college and be successful. After doing some further research, I found that he was once ranked as a tremendous baseball prospect as an outfielder and was chosen in the 20th round of the 2003 Amateur Baseball Draft by Cincinnati. Obviously he decided to go ahead and pursue a career in football, but now he's back and looking to help out my beloved Braves.

My Grade: C

My thoughts:

I'm sorry but one of the biggest disappointments for me so far have been us not drafting a starting pitcher, despite the fact that we are currently having starting pitching problems, now I know that majority of the guys we draft won't make it to the majors for at least two or more years, but still, we need starting pitching. Besides the lack of addressing starting pitching, another move that left me in awe was both of our third round picks. First off, we had just drafted a third baseman two rounds before, why would we need to draft another, less talented player at the same position? You got me. And secondly, what the fuck is this team's obsession with middle infielders that can't hit for shit? We, in essence, drafted Pete Orr version two when we picked Brandon Hicks with the 108th pick. Besides those two picks, I was overall pleased.

I just really wished we could've got Matt Harvey, a right-handed pitcher out of Fitch HS in Groton, Conn. The kid has so much talent and should've been a top 15 pick this season if it wasn't for his choice in a representative(aka an agent). He decided that it would be a good move to have Scott Boras as his agent, and it cost him hundreds of thousands of dollars and he dropped, oh about 100 picks, give or take. Boras had teams afraid to draft Harvey because he mentioned that he wanted his clients to be signed to huge contracts and teams weren't willing to invest as much as he wanted to an 18 year-old high school kid. But he was finally taken by the Los Angeles Angels with the 118th overall selection and trust me, if they can get this kid signed, he's an bonafide STEAL.

The other 45 rounds(!) will begin tomorrow, I won't be live blogging that, for obvious reasons, but I'll recap with my Braves' picks.

UPDATE:

Thanks to Stephen of the BravesJournal, he found information about Frederick Freeman and he graciously shared with me. Also the link that he supplied also had infomation on Dennis Dixon, so I'll go ahead and update him as well. So without further adieu, here's Freeman's and Dixon's profile.

Third Round (78th Overall)

Frederick "Freddie" Freeman

Height: 6'5"
Weight: N/A
Birthdate: 9/12/89
Bats: Left
Throws: Right
School: El Modena HS (California)
Position: Third Base

The Braves love this power-hitting infielder who spent most of his high school career at third base but will play first base as a pro. Freeman can also pitch, but the Braves feel he has great power potential as a corner infielder. Like Heyward, Freeman is only 17 and doesn’t turn 18 until September 12th. The six-foot-five, 215-pounder has a solid swing from the left side of the plate. He hit .453 this season with 5 home runs and 20 RBI in 75 at bats. Freeman will join Heyward in the Gulf Coast League this summer in Florida.

5th Round (168th Overall):

Dennis Dixon

Height: 6'4"
Weight: 205
Birthdate: 1/11/85
Bats: Left
Throws: Right
School: Oregon University
Position: Outfield

Dennis Dixon was drafted by the Reds in the 20th round out of high school a few years ago, but instead he decided to attend Oregon to play football. He’s been one of the Ducks’ starting quarterbacks the last few seasons, but he believes baseball is his future. Even though he has not played baseball in a few years, the Braves were one of a few teams interested in Dixon on the diamond. He worked out twice for the Braves, and the scouts were convinced he would be a project worth the gamble. Dixon is six-foot-four, 205-pounder and he will turn 23 next January. The Braves will send him down to the Gulf Coast League this summer, and then he’ll return to Oregon for his senior season as the Ducks’ starting signal-caller in August. Dixon can run, throw, and catch the ball, so he just has to work on his hitting. The Braves will not rush him, and the scouts feel like he could be a special athlete that could really excel on the baseball field.

3 comments:

Anonymous said...

With the trades and acquisitions made going into the draft, plus the bulk of the team that is carried over from last season, and the trades and draft picks made during the draft, it sure seems like the Pats are going to be the team to beat in the AFC this season, and perhaps in all of the NFL.

Considering the Pats were almost in the Superbowl last season with a pathetic receiving corps and that they've added very talented players into said receiving corps this season, barring some nasty injury(ies), they look to be the team to take it all.I say injury(ies) because I think they could survive an injury or two to some positions, but if they lost Brady they'd probably have a hard time recovering.


I wish I could say that the Redskins did well in the draft and/or in free agency but so many holes still exist that I'm not sure they'll be significantly better than last season. I suppose on face they should be if they can keep their corners healthy. With Landry (argh, hard to type that name as a Redskin!!) back there with a healthy secondary they might be able to cheat up more and put more pressure on opposing QBs. Might.

They still have what should be a lot of talent in the receiving positions, and Campbell should be better, but they don't have the quality on either line (offense or defense) that I wish they'd have, so it could be yet another year of .500 at best, or worse.

Still, the NFC East looks to be the NFC Least again this season. None of the teams there look like they'll be that good, and none really look ready to step up and take the division.

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