The Braves got the guy they wanted, who mightn’t be the guy you wanted

Commissioner Rob Manfred, left, shakes hands with Ian Anderson, a pitcher from Shenendehowa High School in Clifton Park, N.Y., after Anderson was drafted No. 3 by the Atlanta Braves in the first round of the Major League Baseball draft, Thursday, June 9, 2016, in Secaucus, N.J. (AP Photo/Julio Cortez)

Ian Anderson and the commish. (AP Photo/Julio Cortez)

At such a time, trust doesn’t come easy (if it comes at all.) The Atlanta Braves have the worst record in the major leagues. One of their biggest acquisitions of last season is suspended through Aug. 1 for domestic abuse. They fired their nice-guy manager. They’ve discarded nearly every player whose name you’d know. They’re about to move to Cobb County.

And now the Braves, who have hit less than half as many home runs as the second-worst team in that fairly significant category, took with their highest draft pick in 25 years not a college bat but another high school arm. Ian Anderson was ranked the 16th-best player available by Baseball Prospectus, the 13th-best by MLB Pipeline and the 12th-best by Baseball America. The Braves took him No. 3 overall. And maybe you’re saying, “Can these guys do ANYTHING right?”

But here’s where trust comes in. (Or doesn’t, depending on your slant.) The Braves didn’t take Anderson just because they thought they could get him for under-slot money and thereby have more to spend on subsequent draftees, though that’s surely a consideration. The Braves took Anderson because they love the guy’s talent.

They did what every big-league team is supposed to do. They scouted like crazy. (And the Braves have hired a bunch of new scouts and rehired others under this administration.) They watched Kyle Lewis, the Mercer outfielder who was Baseball America’s collegiate player of the year, in a private workout this week. They saw Anderson throw a big game last weekend. They love his arm. They like his makeup. They believe he can be really, really good. And isn’t that all any draft pick is — a team having watching and evaluated now hoping for the best?

I understand if you’re not willing to give the Braves the benefit of many doubts. Their big-league product — the one most people see — is wretched. The fruits of their farm system, which admittedly is rated the best in the business, are still months if not years away. But this much I know: The Braves do nothing lightly, nothing that hasn’t been thought through and hashed out. They’ve gotten stuff wrong; they will again. But they’re not apt to be outworked and out-thought.

I haven’t seen Anderson pitch. (Or Lewis hit, for that matter.) You probably haven’t, either. The Braves have a dozen guys who have. And it’s worth noting that, even with the Florida lefty A.J. Puk — some believed he’d go No. 1 overall — there for the taking, the Braves chose the high school righty from Shenendehowa, N.Y.

They might well wind up whiffing on this pick. Christopher Crawford of Baseball Prospectus has ripped it, writing: I don’t think he has a ton of upside.” Eric Longerhagen of ESPN Insider, on the other hand, notes that “Anderson was under-scouted this spring because of bad weather in his area and an illness he battled.” (Is it possible the Braves outhustled other teams?)

The Braves love Anderson’s arm, and if they can sign him for $3.5 million instead of the slotted $6.5 million and use the savings to secure high-upside high school lefties Joey Wentz and Kyle Muller — Picks No. 40 and 44, respectively — they’ll love that, too. (The Braves do covet those high school pitchers. They make no pretense about it.)

I’ve said it before, but here it is again: The Braves know what it is they want to do. There’s no guarantee their plan will yield even a wild card berth, but they do have a plan. You’re free to distrust them and everything they try. (Lots among you do, I know.) I choose otherwise. Like Fox Mulder, I want to believe.

Drafty ramblings:

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

Will the Braves’ top pick be Mercer’s Kyle Lewis?

The hows, whys and maybe the who of the Braves’ draft.

Coppolella: The Braves won’t draft for need.

Reader Comments 0

68 comments
Nobodysshowmonkey
Nobodysshowmonkey

I saw him in concert in a previous life. The guy plays a mean flute

LOGS1973
LOGS1973

Problem is Bradley, the Braves need about 20 guys that are

major league ready and tested. Pitchers don't help if you have

no hitters and little defense. If the ever managed to win three

games in a row, he's gone.. 

BertnErnie
BertnErnie

MLB drafts are crap shoots.  Even moreso than NFL drafts.  At least an NFL team generally knows right away whether a kid is a bust.  It takes an MLB team (and their fans) years to know.  Given the Braves first round draft picks since 2000, chances are we'll never hear of this kid again.  Frenchy and Wainright would be the exceptions.. anybody else?

TideDawg
TideDawg

It may be interesting to know(and I don't know) how many players drafted in the 3rd round thru the last round turned out to be quality MLB players versus the ones taken in the 1st and second rounds that never made it out of the minors. I think hard work,dedication to the game, and desire are factors that develop players with a little talent into superstars. I can think of one player....drafted last in the last round.....only drafted because he was a relative of a top MLB executive, and he is now a HOFer. So it appears that less talented players with a burning desire to be good are better picks than those that develop early and feel entitled to be good. If I did the drafting I would look for those borderline players with a burning desire to play baseball, and that is not to say that I would skip a high school or college player that had already developed.

FreeAgentFan
FreeAgentFan

The worst thing the Braves ever did was bring Hart in this organization -- the Braves are going to lose 90 plus games for yrs on end -- Mark my word in 3 yrs I will be proven right when the Hart/Coppy/Liberty Media apoloigists will have to admit that this rebuild failed

HotDawg
HotDawg

Nobody knows anything about these players.

99.9999% of baseball fans never heard of any of these players till yesterday.

So everybody should slow their roll on any opinion of what the Braves got or didn't get.

patriotdog
patriotdog

The early moves made by Hart seemed better than the ones over the last several months.....makes me wonder if Coppy is being given more responsibility. He was groomed by Wren.....which makes his involvement a bad omen.

jcarson
jcarson

I am 100% on board.  We can use these prospects to trade for hitters that will be ready sooner rather than later.  Love the Fox Mulder line, too.

FreeAgentFan
FreeAgentFan

@jcarson  Do not believe the spin -- and why would teams want to trade power which is harder to find this day in time for middle of the road pitching prospects who take time to develop at the MLB level. THis FO is selling a like of unprintable stuff and people like you are falling for it

darnedcomputer
darnedcomputer

Until the snake oil salesman senior management of Braves future can prove they can field a winning major league team to be proud of, it's only fair that they be paid minor league pittance salaries. 

I could also pick some high school kids to draft and yell "They're gonna be great!! Just watch and believe!!!"  That and a dollar would get me a cup of coffee at McDonald's.

Steve81253
Steve81253

I also believe.  This young pitching talent will undoubtedly yield some more seasoned hitting talent in trades to come.

DawgDadII
DawgDadII

When you are a team and system in the dilapidated shape the Braves are the production they ultimately get or do not get from the #3 overall pick will be a baseline point of reference for evaluation. They have every right to pick whoever they want, but the radar goes up when you hear they might have been trying to get "cute" with the pick instead of going for whoever they believe has the most upside.


With the current pitching attrition, ongoing poor performances from key pieces, and ongoing revolving door for the KJ's of the league, well, my question is when does the bleeding stop? 2017 is right around the corner.

POV1948
POV1948

Braves are leading the world in "upside."  On the field they are upside down.  Only real hope for the future is new ownership that cleans house in the front office, which is about as likely as the current bunch going on a long win streak.

klsfriend
klsfriend

I find this all so fascinating. I'd love to know how many 1st round baseball draft picks ever make it to the big leagues, let alone have successful careers. I also find the legend of the Braves farm system somewhat fascinating. Consider their great run. The foundation? Greg Maddux - trade. John Smoltz - trade. Tom Glavine - homegrown. Terry Pendleton was key in the early part. They got him in a trade. David Justice was a 4th round pick. Fred McGriff - trade. Javy Lopez - undrafted free agent. The Braves' farm system was good at finding a 4th-5th starter that would be good for a year or two. It was good at bringing up position players that were fairly good immediately before tailing off to be average after a year or two (ie. Jeff Francoer). How many superstars ever came from their farm system even in the good ol' days? Trades are the key for virtually every team that is successful.

Infinite Hope
Infinite Hope

@klsfriend They must have had something of value in order to swing the trades (Pendleton was a free-agent btw).  They got Smoltz for an aged Doyle Alexander (veteran pitcher) because the Tigers were in the hunt that season.   Just look at the haul they got for one decent season of Shelby Miller (who was among the players that they received when they realized that they couldn't or wouldn't re-sign Heyward). 

Robert_C
Robert_C

@klsfriend  Correction......Greg Maddux was a free agent....He chose Atlanta over the New York Yankees higher offer because at the time the Braves were a better team


moboman
moboman

Lets not forget that the Braves wanted Todd Van Poppel, and had to settle for Chipper, when TVP said he wouldnt sign here.  How lucky were we when the pitcher told us no?  Good bats can be hard to acquire.

KatieR620
KatieR620

Do they actually have enough position players that are good enough to get paid to fill out their minor league rosters,  or are pitchers playing there too?


This is the worst group of 8 position players probably ever assembled as a professional team and it's not much better in the minors.

Raymond101
Raymond101

Should have taken the outfielder from Mercer or Louisville, How many pitchers do you need?

Infinite Hope
Infinite Hope

@Raymond101 Apparently a whole bunch to fix the mess left by Wren.  As soon as one of them has a decent season they turn into a golden bargaining chip. Some will be traded in order to compete in the short-term. Others will be groomed for the long-run.  

Stinger2
Stinger2

So be it if the Braves got what they wanted in this HS pitcher.

The fact is they passed on the best hitter(s) available with the No. 3 pick and will be fortunate if the land any decent decent hitting prospects later in the draft.

DawgNole
DawgNole

@Stinger2

What a shock to see a realistic assessment of the Braves from you.

Stinger2
Stinger2

@DawgNole @Stinger2  Sorry I shocked you DawgNole. I don`t drink as much Braves kool-aid as I did before they fired Fredi. You will probably see more comments like these from me.


Biff_Pocoroba
Biff_Pocoroba

Why should I trust Liberty Media and a front office that traded for and took on the absurdly expensive contract of Hector Olivera? And railroaded its way to a new stadium the team doesn't need at the expense of taxpayers. And whose recent free agent signings have consisted of broken-down, aging has-beens like A.J. Pierzynski and Nick Markakis. And built an organization from top to bottom with middle-of-the-rotation starting pitchers. And who've never met a good hitter they like. Nah, I don't think so.

khd713
khd713

@Biff_Pocoroba So you knew all along that Hector Olivera was going to hit a woman in a hotel and be charged with criminal assault? How prescient of you. Give me a break. If Olivera hadn't done something stupid, which no one could have predicted, then he'd be the best hitter on the team right now. I'm so tired of this sanctimonious ignorance from people who claim to be Braves/baseball fans. When the Braves are good again in a couple of years, and they are going to be good – real good – I wish they had a list of every one of you self-righteous prigs and could ban you from the new ballpark and from being able to watch games on TV. You fair-weather idiots don't deserve what you are going to get two or three years from now.

Buschleaguer
Buschleaguer

@khd713 @Biff_Pocoroba

Not taking into account the Assault Charges ,what makes you think Olivera would be as you say"the best hitter on the team.Olivera is a 31 year old from the Cuban national team who has a grand total of 98 MLB at bats. He was batting ...211 this year ,although .211 would put him in the top 5 on the 2016 Braves , I just did not see the SuperStar that you Hart and Coppy do. He may turn into a fair MLB player ,but at 31 years of age his window is closing quickly.

Biff_Pocoroba
Biff_Pocoroba

Keep drinking the Kool-Aid. I've been a fair-weather fan for 34 years. But thanks for the lecture, Mr. McGuirk.

DawgNole
DawgNole

@khd713

FIFTY years, ONE championship--NONE the past two decades--and you're saying just wait "two or three years from now," when the Braves will be "good again"?! And those who refuse to join you in your nauseating delusion are "fair-weather idiots"?!

What a smarmy butt-kisser. Go somewhere and bend over again; the Braves will be happy to continue servicing you.

James Bold
James Bold

This team is a walking, talking disaster, from top to bottom, from the faceless owners, to the front office, to the current players, to the future unknowns.   Nothing they do seems to have even the slightest hint of a cohesive plan.   It doesn't matter how many prospects you get, if you can't fill the gaps by spending money on free agents you are never going to be a consistent contender.

TideDawg
TideDawg

Evidently the Braves are firm believers that if you sign enough quantity there's got to be some quality in there somewhere. I hate to say it, or believe it, but 2017 is not going to be much different than 2016. I'm going to shift my thoughts to the new stadium and wonder what effect will the new stadium have on fly balls, player vision,and any other factor affecting the game. Hey! It's better than lamenting over all of the present problems. The Braves are moving to the stormy side of town(weather wise). They are right in the lane for every storm that comes Atlanta's way.

Donald_01
Donald_01

I hear that "Curly Shuffle" yet again from the Braves front office.  Best case on high school pitchers is ready for the big club in 3 years and that is very optimistic.  Regretfully most of the players drafted never make it to the Bigs.  So, putting all your resources into young players is a huge gamble and the Braves make it more so by not going with more highly regarded players.  I get a laugh at all the comparisons made of these young players to established stars.  If the front office does get it right, and most have their doubts, it will be a very long time before any of the high school players get to a level to help.  That is why most teams go with College players, but they are more expensive and well ...

Buschleaguer
Buschleaguer

Is there any guarantee that Anderson will actually sign at $3 million below his draft slot? Will the Braves have enough cash to sign the big arms they drafted at #40 and #44 . It is kind of odd when your picks at #40 and #44 are more highly touted than your #3 pick. Really ,the Braves took advantage of Anderson being under scouted to move him ahead of higher rated prospects(more expensive) and make him the #3 pick. Maybe Hart/ Coppy are just smarter than the other 29 GM's and their scouting departments, hopefully Anderson is another Mike Mussina (the erstwhile Peter Gammons used that Comparison) and not just another career minor leaguer who never gets beyond AA.

TideDawg
TideDawg

OK, so two of the draft picks turn into super stars after 2 years in the minors and one year at the show. They become high priced commodities and the Braves can't or won't sign them because of the price. The big spenders (Yankees, Angels, Dodgers, etc.) are just sitting back waiting for the Braves to develop these players. They will pay any price. Simmons, Kimbrell, Heyward, and many others are picked off by top teams that aren't worried about money. The Braves become a farm team for the big spenders. So what do the Braves get out of this? More draft choices, more talent for the farm...and the beat goes on!

MichBravesFan
MichBravesFan

Once again the front office bows to their overlords at Liberty Media and drafts in a way to not spend money---they picked him bc they thought he'd sign under slot value. How many starting pitchers do the braves think they can have? 15? Last time I checked, there's 8 other guys out there as well. Braves have no power at all whatsoever and only 2 position players in the pipeline. Look how successful the Cubs have been drafting position players? Why can't braves do that? The answer is that the John's don't have a clue, all this stuff about "Coppy" being "Brilliant" is a bunch of BS. Look at that Hector Olivera trade---we gave away Wood and a top prospect for the right to pay a worthless abuser $35 million. Look at the low return he got for the greatest defensive shortstop in a generation. Coppy's terrible and the only reason he got the job is because braves didn't want to pay for real talent. This franchise is an embarrassment. Braves use to draw fans from across the country even in places like Michigan, but now, they're a total joke.

MisterNeutron
MisterNeutron

Mr. Bradley, I think you buried the lede:


"If they can sign him for $3.5 million instead of the slotted $6.5 million...."



TideDawg
TideDawg

Can't say I'm disappointed with the draft. I don't have a clue regarding who they should have drafted. Regarding trading for established players, they couldn't trade for enough talent to help this team this year. The seeds are planted in 2016 and if they grow into a contender who is going to remember all of the negativity, and who will admit that they said all of the nasty things about rebuilding, and who's going to say "I told you so" if most of the moves they made turn into a winner. Sure! I want them to be a winner now. They may barely tip the scales at "Good" in 2017, but if the Braves are not a contender in 2018 fire everybody and rebuild management from the ground up. Liberty media will not flinch at whatever the Braves team turns into. They will triple their investment because of the new stadium and a farm system rated 2nd best in MLB. 

ChoppinThroughLife
ChoppinThroughLife

@TideDawg Yeah, rebuilding sucks, but we're a small-market team for the foreseeable future so this is the way it has to go. Gambles have to be taken and not every decision will be the best outcome. Remember, 20 teams passed up on Mike Trout in the 09 draft. You can scout all you want, but there is no doubt an element of luck to this. 

DawgNole
DawgNole

@ChoppinThroughLife: "Yeah, rebuilding sucks . . . ."

_______________

Yeah, especially when it's been The Braves Way for most of the past half-century.

ChoppinThroughLife
ChoppinThroughLife

While I would have liked to see them get Kyle Lewis, because I like his pure athleticism (granted that hitch he has in his swing is going to need to be refined a bit to play Pro ball), I like the Wentz and Muller signings a lot. Wentz is a monster and was being looked at being drafted as a 1B. I think both of those guys have potential to be FOR starters. 


That being said, I'm really excited for the Cumberland pickup at C. That dude can drop some bombs, we'll see if he can handle being a pro C though.



Iwonderwho
Iwonderwho

I am so sick of the "moving to Cobb County" thing. While not in the city limits, the new stadium will still have an Atlanta address. Do people complain about the Bills, Cowboys, Redskins, Dolphins, Rays, Coyotes, Giants, Jets and Pistons??

BravesFan1966
BravesFan1966

@Iwonderwho Nobody complains because none of those teams have moved to Cobb Co. yet!!  :-)  But later when the Coyotes do, we can all complain because they smell also.

GT71
GT71

For once (OMG!) I agree with MB.  Guys sitting in their drawers in front of a screen know better than all those baseball guys?  Not likely.  The draft is a crap-shoot.  Always has been.


Buschleaguer
Buschleaguer

@GT71 

Mark believes in the Braves way, well that should do it .The fans should start ordering World Series tickets as soon as next year.The Draft is a crap shoot ,and to make it worse the dice keep rolling for 3 to 4 years before they come up snake eyes,or in some very rare cases seven.

KE7145
KE7145

You guys are fools. Other teams passed on the players you wanted as well. Baseball America doesn't scout as much as teams do, therefore I rather put trust in said teams. As for all the pitchers, an average pitcher is worth a good hitter any day of the week, so take the bpa you believe in, not who some magazine says is the bpa, and develop them. If it's all pitchers, so be it, you can trade a talented pitcher for other needs.

Buschleaguer
Buschleaguer

@KE7145 So Anderson at #3 should be a lock to make the majors , the same Braves brain trust that gave us the Hector Olivera deal is so much smarter than everyone else in baseball.

CardiganBoy
CardiganBoy

@Buschleaguer @KE7145 That seems to be the mantra of unconditional Braves supporters.  No matter what, believe in the Braves or believe your lyin' eyes.


And now the LM Braves have the best minor league talent in baseball.  Gee, all it cost them, er the fans, was ... everything.



BravesFan1966
BravesFan1966

@CardiganBoy @Buschleaguer @KE7145   Dear son, let me tell you about Braves fans.  I have been one since 1966.  That is the very first year this team came to Atlanta.  I have seen the good, bad, and now the very ugly of this club.  I remember the ugly days of the 1970s and the 1980s.  I remember when this team sucked so bad that they picked up pitchers with 2-10 and 8 ERAs released by other teams and put into the starting rotation.  I remember them bringing in a washed up Denny McLain, the former 30 game winner for the Tigers.  I saw McLain pitch in that 30 win season, he was a stud.  With the Braves, he was a washed up, 75 MPH fastball pitcher, headed for federal prison for crimes he pulled.  No, this team now is as ugly as it has EVER been.  I have seen them come and go.  Most of these bums could not make other teams.  I feel for Kelly Johnson.  The guy signs with this team three times and gets traded.  He must feel like the guy in Groundhog Day waking up each day getting traded from the Braves to the Mets.  I can go back deep into this team and tell you about sitting on the couch at night KNOWING they had little to no chance to win.  Speaking of groundhog day, that is what we are going through now.  Braves are stinking and will for at least four more years, I don't care how many of these so called PROSPETS make the pitching staff.  SOMEBODY has to hit the stinking ball.  And the Angels are not trading them Mike Trout for any amount of PROSPECT pitchers.

DawgNole
DawgNole

@BravesFan1966: "I saw McLain pitch in that 30 win season, he was a stud."

_________________

I saw McLain win his 30th game in Detroit that season. Could've stayed home and watched UGA-Tenn in football or Floyd Patterson in a heavyweight fight. Glad I chose the former. Dizzy Dean (the last 30-game winner before McLain) was there, too.

CardiganBoy
CardiganBoy

@BravesFan1966 @CardiganBoy @Buschleaguer @KE7145 Same here.  I was a big Braves fan.  My ardor  began waning after Time Warner bought them.  When Liberty Media made TW's corporate subsidy their own, I cut  the cord.


Honestly, the Braves to me are like the Democrat Party.  I didn't leave them; they left me.


BravesFan1966
BravesFan1966

@KE7145   How do you know what BBA scouts????  That is part of their job.  They have dedicated writers who cover HS baseball.  That is their job to follow these HS players and teams.  Have you looked at any of them.  Thought not.  Your probably a greeter at Walmart.