Braves ink their top five draft picks

Braves ink their top five draft picks

ATLANTA -- It didn't take Braves director of scouting Roy Clark and his staff long to a crucial step toward ensuring the 2005 First-Year Player Draft would be a successful one. By the time the two-day event had concluded on Wednesday night, the Braves had signed each of their first five selections.

When they took Joey Devine with their first pick (No. 27 overall) on Tuesday, the Braves were confident they'd be able to reach an agreement quickly with the 21-year-old right-hander, who established himself as one of the country's top collegiate closers at N.C. State.

Shortly after learning he'd been selected by the Braves, an excited Devine indicated it wouldn't take long for a deal to be completed.

"We're very happy to know that we've signed so many of our selections," Clark said. "But going in, they know what we're going to offer and we know what it's going to take to sign them. They know their bottom line and if they get drafted by the Atlanta Braves what they are getting. We're always going to be honest with him."

Devine, who was a three-time All-ACC selection, hold the N.C. State career records for saves (36) and appearances (84). Along with possessing a fastball that has been clocked at 96 mph, the 5-foot-11, 195-pound hurler also has outstanding control. He recorded 72 strikeouts and issued just 10 walks in 48 2/3 innings this year.

There's a chance Devine could advance to the Major League level this season. He'll begin his professional career at Class A Myrtle Beach.

Clark thought there was a chance the club could have each of its first 15 selections signed within the next few days. It's similar to the success the Braves had in 2003, when they signed nine of their top 10 selections before the draft had concluded.

Mark Bowman is a reporter for This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.