If the Braves take Ian Anderson, will they be as thick as a brick?

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Ian Anderson isn’t convinced he’ll be a Brave. (AP photo)

The MLB draft is hours away. The latest rumor concerning the Atlanta Braves — and it’s a dandy — comes from Jesse Burkhart, who has a connection to MLB Pipeline and FanGraphs. Here goes:

Why is this such a big deal? Because Ian Anderson is a right-handed high school pitcher from Shenendehowa, N.Y., who’s rated the 16th-best player available by Christopher Crawford of Baseball Prospectus. So why might the Braves make him the No. 3 pick overall? Two reasons:

1. He’d doubtless command less of the $6.5 million allotted the No. 3 overall pick in the pool, which would free up money for the Braves to use on later picks. (They have four more among the draft’s top 80.) This would be an under-slot/over-slot play. (For further reading on this and other draft issues, click here.)

2. Between innings, he stands on one leg and plays the flute.

(You didn’t think I could write “Ian Anderson” and not make a Tull joke, did you?)

Should the Braves take Anderson at No. 3 — and even Burkhart concedes they might not — it would be a disappointment for those who’d hoped the Braves, who have issues regarding the hitting of a baseball, would take a college bat. Even now, Kyle Lewis of Mercer is still ticketed to be the Braves’ pick by John Manuel of Baseball America and Keith Law of ESPN Insider in their respective mock drafts.

But the MLB draft is more akin to three-dimensional chess than, say, tic-tac-toe. The Braves want to maximize the $13.2 million allotted to them — that’s the third-highest total in this draft, behind the Reds and the Phillies — for bonuses to picks in the first 10 rounds. That can mean taking a player regarded slightly less highly sooner than expected. (Though no team in its right mind would take a guy it didn’t really like at No. 3 overall..)

The Braves have made no secret of preferring high school arms: They took two with their first two picks last year — Kolby Allard and Mike Soroka. (Tom Glavine and Steve Avery were high school arms. So were John Smoltz and Greg Maddux, who weren’t drafted by the Braves.)

General manager John Coppolella is on record as saying he’d like a college bat, but the Braves mightn’t be able to land one of the better ones with the 40th pick, which is where this Anderson thing could fall apart. They could decide that taking the 16th-best player overall would be penny-wise but pound-foolish.

We’ll know soon enough. In the meantime, let’s cue up the penultimate track of “Aqualung.” Ready? “In the shuffling madness/Of the locomotive breath/Runs the all-time loser/Headlong to his death.”

Grim image, I know. Good song, though. Great riff, too.

Reader Comments 0

22 comments
claygrant
claygrant

Is it not the most ridiculous thing to have a limit on draft money?  In essence, the Braves didn't take the best potential at this spot, because by law, they couldn't.  It would have been nice to have taken Puk if only for the hoopla surrounding him.  While Lewis probably dropped to 11th for fear that he doesn't have the overall baseball experience (ex. George Lombard) it seems like Puk dropped to 6th because of the bonus he would get. They would probably tell you that it's because of Puk's mixed junior year, though by all standards he's the most likely of all the players in the draft (except maybe the Tennessee 3B) to succeed at the major league level. I would prefer to get the straight story from the Braves management on why they did this, rather than watch them build a case for Jethro Tull.  We'll never get that.  They did really well with the next two picks (saw one list where Wentz was #15, and they got him at #40) so if they would just come clean.  I'm not saying they don't know what they are doing -- I am saying that in the end baseball management is a heady, ego existence.  The money, trading, drafting, sabermetrics, scouting, projecting and all ... it must leave Coppy & Friends breathless.


ivansheall
ivansheall

Wasting the number 3 pick on the 16th best prospect.  The teams behind the braves are laughing their heads off at this foolishness.  Either the 3 Johns are incompetent or they are deliberately wrecking the team.  I am now boycotting this minor league organization. 

Addy10
Addy10

MORONS !!! WHO WILL HIT FOR YOU ???? HOW MANY MORE PITCHERS DOES THIS TEAM NEED ??????

Buschleaguer
Buschleaguer

I am afraid the Braves will prove Dan O'Dowd right ,with being too cute with their use of slotting and not taking the best player available at #3. Looks like they will wind up with 4 safe picks ,but not one with a high ceiling. Anderson at #3 looks underwhelming for having any impact on the Braves until the 2020 or 2021 season.All of the excitement of an off season signing of Bud Norris.

FreeAgentFan
FreeAgentFan

They could have had a real stud in one of those Kansas pitchers but take a shot on a mid first round pick at number 3. Another worthless move by the Johns


CTATTER
CTATTER

Pick someone with brains who can play smart.  Most ballplayers today are overpaid idiot babies.  But of course, Braves owners and management are dumber than ballplayers.

Jim Berman
Jim Berman

I don't think anyone expected those two ,hart and copy to really know what to do with a #3 pick .they haven't got anything right yet. However they have helped a lot of teams, just not the Braves

Kenny Powers
Kenny Powers

Now they saying that it's Lewis or Ray at number 3 with Anderson at 40

TideDawg
TideDawg

I think if one of those top rated pitchers is available.....the Braves will take him at #3. Regardless of which player they take.....it's a crap shoot. Banking these draft choices with the intent to trade for other players that are stars is another crap shoot. They may not be a star with the Braves. Not being blessed with the expertise of the management, I would say keep the young players and develop them. You can always buy players with money and keep your young players in the system. When those kids develop your potential to be a long term contender goes up.

BradleyBreeze
BradleyBreeze

They should pick the best possible player and if Lewis isn't avaiable then Pint or Groome will do just fine here!

Jim Berman
Jim Berman

Really??? They're not that smart

tjpsr
tjpsr

Braves management has made over the past year and a half, some of the strangest player  decisions known to Baseball fans everywhere...why should the 2016 draft be any different. If this team is as loaded with good young pitchers as we Braves fans are led to believe, it's probably time to prop up the non-existent offense with a few bats in the draft. They surely haven't traded for any lately...


DontTaseMeBro
DontTaseMeBro

In the shuffling madness

Of the locomotive breath,
Runs the all, time losers...

BradleyBreeze
BradleyBreeze

@DontTaseMeBro ..........they will be losers if they take Ian Anderson and they can play "Oh God" after the deed is done!

Archangel
Archangel

I don't know either of the two Ian Andersons you're talking about. 

SebGuy
SebGuy

This does not impress me at all. Didn't we just go through this with the Falcons? I get that the slot thing makes the MLB Draft different than those of the NFL and NBA, but when you have the 3rd overall pick in any draft, you take a talent that is worthy of the high a pick! You don't go for clever with the top picks of the 1st Round. As a fan, I rather the Braves pick high and miss rather than deliberately miss while picking high. Unless they are expecting some top talent to fall to 40th, this makes no sense at all, especially in a draft that analyst state is not very that deep with top talent.