The awesome feeling of the Braves winning the 2021 World Series still hasn’t worn off! That doesn’t stop Alex Anthopolous, the front office, and the scouting staff from scouring for the next influx of talent into the pipeline, however. In July, the 2022 MLB Draft wrapped up with your World Champion Atlanta Braves making 22 selections through the 20 rounds. The draft was held this year in sunny Los Angeles, to which our own Nate Eckert (@GQ__82) had the good fortune of being able to attend and live-tweet through the 1st round for us. Before I touch on a few specific players, let’s look at the rundown of all of the Braves’ selections:
Rd 1, Pick 20: Owen Murphy, RHP, Riverside Brookfield HS (IL) – Signed for $2.56M
Competitive Balance A, Pick 35: JR Ritchie, RHP, Bainbridge HS (WA) – Signed for $2.4M
Rd 2, Pick 57: Cole Phillips, RHP, Boerne HS (TX) – Signed for $1.5M
Compensation Round 2C, Pick 76: Blake Burkhalter, RHP, Auburn – Signed for $647,500
Rd 3, Pick 96: Drake Baldwin, C, Missouri State – Signed for $633,300
Rd 4, Pick 125: David McCabe, 3B, UNC Charlotte – Signed for $476,400
Rd 5, Pick 155: Ignacio Alvarez, 3B, Riverside CC – Signed for $497,500
Rd 6, Pick 185: Seth Keller, RHP, Hanover HS (VA) – Signed for $697,500
Rd 7, Pick 215: Adam Maier, RHP, Oregon – Signed for $1.2M
Rd 8, Pick 245: Jason Franks, RHP, Cal Poly San Luis Obispo – Signed for $2,500
Rd 9, Pick 275: Cory Acton, 2B, Georgia – Signed for $2,500
Rd 10, Pick 305: Andrew Keck, C, Southeast Missouri State – Signed for $2,500
Rd 11, Pick 335: Ian Mejia, RHP, New Mexico State – Signed for $100,000
Rd 12, Pick 365: Justin Janas, 1B, Illinois – Signed for $125,000
Rd 13, Pick 395: Cedric De Grandpre, RHP, Chipola College (FL) – Signed for $237,500
Rd 14, Pick 425: Landon Harper, RHP, Southern Mississippi – Signed for $140,000
Rd 15, Pick 455: William Silva, RHP, Miami Dade College – Signed for $75,000
Rd 16, Pick 485: E.J. Exposito, SS, Long Island University (NY) – Signed for $100,000
Rd 17, Pick 515: Kevin Kilpatrick Jr., OF, Central Florida – Signed for $125,000
Rd 18, Pick 545: Noah Williams, OF, Redondo Union HS (CA) – Signed for $125,000
Rd 19, Pick 575: Christian Jackson, OF, Dutchtown HS (GA) – Signed for $125,000
Rd 20, Pick 605: Keshawn Ogans, SS, California – Signed for $125,000
Top Selection: Owen Murphy
Prior to the draft, the two-way player committed to Notre Dame. He will not head off to college, and instead signed an under-slot deal. A mainstay on the U.S. 18U National team, Murphy is an impressive athlete that will focus on pitching in the minors. He had an incredible 137 K’s in 58.3 IP, with a paltry 0.12 ERA as a high school senior. He features a low 90’s fastball, slider, and curveball combination, with some developing changeup usage.
Owen Murphy (‘22 IL) with 14 Ks in 6+ here today. Mostly 91-94, grabbed a couple 5s, lots of carry @ 2600 RPM, has CB & SL for strikes, spins both well & misses bats; over 78% strikes today, now up to 109 Ks in just 44 IP. #GoIrish commit. #PGHS #PGDraft pic.twitter.com/m33MFkAnZW
— Perfect Game Illinois (@PG_Illinois) May 11, 2022
Best Selection: JR Ritchie
Bainbridge Island in Washington is known for natural beauty and wildlife, not producing baseball players. That said, I think the Braves landed themselves a great pitcher, signing the 6’2″, 185 lb, hard-throwing righty to an above-slot deal. He currently sits in the mid-nineties with his fastball with a dynamite sharp slider in the low 80’s. Best yet is that his delivery is clean and allows him to throw a ton of strikes, which usually translates to success as a player moves up the minor league ladder
Questionable Selection: Drake Baldwin
We’ve often heard the adage that you can never have too many catchers. The Braves took the catcher in the 3rd round, out of my alma mater, Missouri State. Missouri State is an underrated baseball school, boasting Luke Voit, Ryan Howard and Bill Mueller as drafted players from the school. While Baldwin is above average for his position, there are some questions about his defensive ability, especially his ability to control the running game. Should the defensive side not develop, then Baldwin would need to look at playing an alternate position, such as 3B, where the bat doesn’t yet profile well enough to make an impact. He’s far from a lost cause, however, as his athleticism will buy him some extra time to reach his potential.
Sleeper Selection: Adam Maier
The Braves went nearly $1 million over slot to sign Maier away from the University of Oregon and prevent him from returning to school. Maier was hurt after only 3 starts this past season, and underwent UCL stabilization surgery. I’m certainly not a doctor, and there’s a distinct chance that Tommy John surgery could be in his future, however, the Braves do like his mid 90’s fastball and plus slider. I would expect the Braves to monitor his usage and innings closely as he transitions to pro ball and hopefully a clean bill of health moving forward.
Oregon’s Adam Maier has quite the turbo sinker and he strikes out UCSB’s SS Jordan Sprinkle. Here’s hoping the reason Maier was taken out in the sixth was not serious. pic.twitter.com/GeWDDPUBU4
— Greg Zumach (@IvyFutures) March 5, 2022
Thank you for taking a few moments to read about the Braves’ draft. Feel free to leave a comment if you agree or disagree with my selections. Alternatively, you can reach me on Twitter @MKelley_ND.
Born in Arizona. Raised in the Midwest, and with lots of baseball. When I’m not writing about baseball or purchasing my next baseball card, I can be seen coasting down the highway to yet another travel baseball tournament with my wife and son. I love the Braves, bat flips and outfield assists.