The Atlanta Braves brought in a nice haul of players during the 2020 MLB Draft on Wednesday and Thursday.
Atlanta selected three pitchers and an outfielder during the five-round amateur draft. The Braves selected Wake Forest ace Jared Shuster in the first round, Michigan outfielder Jesse Franklin in the third round, Clemson pitcher Spencer Strider in the fourth round, and Texas righty Bryce Elder in the fourth round.
There is no doubt that the gem of this draft class is the top pick, Jared Shuster, who was selected at no. 25 overall. The left-handed pitcher out of Wake Forest celebrated two successful seasons as a Demon Deacon and also had a strong showing in last year’s Cape Cod League.
The 6-foot-3, 210 pounder originally from New Bedford, Mass., has “middle of the rotation” potential according to TalkingChop.com.
Due to signing qualified free agent Will Smith last offseason, the Braves had to forfeit their second round pick. This forced them to skip 52 picks from their first selection to their second.
At pick no. 97, Atlanta added rangy outfielder Jesse Franklin out of Michigan. Franklin, a 6-foot-1, 215 pounder from Seattle, Wash., missed all of 2019 due a collarbone injury prior to the season.
Franklin would have returned for the latter part of the Wolverines’ season, but obviously missed out on that due to the COVID-19 shutdown. According to TalkingChop, the third-round draftee has great speed and a good arm, but need to show more consistency at the plate.
The Braves selected Clemson right-handed pitcher Spencer Strider at pick no. 126 in the fourth round. Strider was drafted as a top prospect out of high school in Knoxville, Tenn., but elected to attend Clemson rather than joining the Cleveland Indians.
Strider saw his stock drop due to having Tommy John surgery a year ago. He likely would have seen some action with the Tigers at the end of the 2020 season had the shutdown not occurred.
With their final pick at no. 156 in the fifth round, the Atlanta Braves drafted Texas right-handed pitcher Bryce Elder. The Texas product did not specialize in baseball until late in his high school career, but quickly became an ace for the Longhorns over the past few seasons. While Elder may not have the highest ceiling, he has a low floor, meaning that he is a strong candidate to be a low-rotation starter for a major league team one day.
Whenever baseball starts back, fans can expect these college products to work their way through the Braves’ farm system. Some of these draftees are likely to start out with the Rome Braves next season.