June 5, 2012 at 5:18 pm by David Lee under Atlanta Braves, Draft
Alex Wood, LHP, U. of Georgia
Wood is the lone player the Braves have selected that I actually had mentioned in draft prep, so I’m proud to have one, at least. He’s a power left-hander with a fastball that sits 90-94 when starting and mid-90s when relieving, so that in itself is worth a high pick. He adds a good changeup to offset the fastball, but where he struggles is with the slider. He is said to struggle with feel for spinning a breaking pitch, and the snap on the slider is inconsistent.
Wood’s delivery is what’s talked about. Before he brings his arm forward, he’s at an 8-2 or even 7-1 angle with his arms instead of the normal 9-3, and he shows the ball to his backside for an extended period of time. His elbow travels a long distance through the motion and is arm-heavy, and it’s no surprise to learn he has already had Tommy John surgery. It also doesn’t help that he hops backward after release, putting further pressure on the arm as he doesn’t follow through.
I’m not sure if the Braves will even try to touch Wood’s delivery or let him loose, but if I put my money on one player’s future in Atlanta’s draft this year, it’s Wood as a reliever. A combination of an inconsistent slider and his delivery spells reliever to me. But there’s no mistaking his power arm and fastball, and I think he’s good value for the second round.
The Athens Banner-Herald reported the Braves saved money on Lucas Sims in the first round and were willing to go above slot on Wood in the second round. So the Braves had a strategy to select Wood, meaning they like him a good bit.
Bryan De La Rosa, C, Fla. HS
De La Rosa is a 5’9, 180-pound catcher out of a Florida high school. He was ranked sixth on ESPN’s Top 10 prep catchers in February, reportedly flashing a plus arm and good pop times. But while defense is his strength, he is also said to have good bat speed and hands with a line-drive plane. Perfect Game said if he was 6’2, 200 pounds, he would be a first-rounder. De La Rosa will need to be given time to develop physically, but despite his size, he sounds like a great defensive catcher out of the prep ranks. Video of De La Rosa here and here.
Justin Black, CF, Montana HS
Black is intriguing as a product of a Montana high school who played travel ball in Canada to get reps and exposure. I made a point to monitor toolsy center fielders considering the Braves have been going that route lately, and Black fits the mold, although he may not be the name many expected. Black’s main tools are speed and athleticism, standing 6’0, 190 pounds. ESPN thought enough of him to rank him No. 100 on their prep 100, and he is a Nebraska sign. Is said to be raw at the plate and will probably need time to adapt in the lower levels. Video of Black.
Blake Brown, OF, U. of Missouri
Brown is a college position player but is raw, not making as much contact as you would like at the college level. He’s listed at 6’1, 185 pounds but appears strong and thick in the lower half. He has a smooth, fluid swing with good hands, and you would like to think he will develop some power to combine with his above average speed and athleticism. He played center field for the Tigers but was announced as a corner outfielder. Jim Callis ranked him as the fourth-best player in Missouri and 324 overall. Video of Brown.