Braves to look for sleepers late in Draft

Braves to look for sleepers late in Draft

ATLANTA -- When the Pirates took Nate McLouth in the 25th round of the 2000 First-Year Player Draft and signed him with a $2,000 bonus, they certainly didn't have visions of him becoming the All-Star and Gold Glove Award winning performer that he was last year.

Nor did the Braves necessarily take Tommy Hanson in the 22nd round of the 2005 Draft with the belief that he'd gain his current status as the one of the game's top prospects.

While the Braves have already taken their first two selections in this year's First-Year Player Draft, they certainly aren't done taking players who have the potential to enjoy productive Major League careers.

With the new three-day format of this year's Draft, Tuesday's portions included just the first three rounds. Under this same setup, there would have been 10 current Braves who would have had to wait until the second day to hear their names called in the position in which they were ultimately selected.

After 111 picks on Day 1 -- including Round One, Compensation Round A, Round Two, Round Three and Compensation Round B -- the Draft resumed on Wednesday. The Draft will conclude on Thursday with the 31st through 50th rounds, beginning at 11:30 a.m. ET.

MLB.com's coverage will include a live pick-by-pick audio stream, expert commentary and the exclusive Draft Tracker, a searchable database of every Draft-eligible player, featuring statistics, scouting reports and video highlights.

Fans will not only be able to follow along every minute of the way online, but they'll be able to interact directly with Draft-eligible players and MLB.com Draft experts, among others.

Braves -- Top five selections
Pick
POS
Name
School
7LHPMichael MinorVanderbilt U
87RHPDavid HalePrinceton U
118SSMycal JonesMiami Dade CC South
148RHPDavid BerryhillNewberry Col
178RHPRyan WoolleyU Alabama Birmingham
Complete Braves Draft results >

The Draft Tracker will also feature the addition of Twitter, and the participation of "tweeters" such as MLB.com Draft expert @JonathanMayoB3, who will also be serving as on-air talent for all three days of the Draft; and reporter @LisaWinstonMLB, who will be writing the up-to-the-minute coverage for MLB.com.

In addition, MLB.com has created a Twitter account devoted to the Draft, where you can stay updated on every piece of info as it becomes available (@MLBDraft).

Using Tuesday's 25-man roster, there were 17 current Braves who gained their entrance to professional baseball through the Draft. Ten of those players were selected after the third round, and when you analyze the career paths of Hanson, McLouth and Mike Gonzalez, it's apparent that even the obscure selections you'll see over the next couple days could prove to pay great dividends.

While Hanson benefited from the draft-and-follow system that no longer exists, Gonzalez signed after being taken in the 30th round of the 1997 Draft. The left-handed closer made his Major League debut in 2003 and three years later found himself successfully converting each of his 24 save opportunities. Over the next two days, Major League scouting directors will be given the task of attempting to find the next Hanson, Gonzalez or McLouth.

The other current Braves taken after the third round include Garret Anderson (Angels, fourth round, 1990), Javier Vazquez (Expos, fifth round, 1994) Eric O'Flaherty (Mariners, sixth round, 2003), David Ross (Dodgers, seventh round, 1998), Derek Lowe (Mariners, eighth round, 1991), Kris Medlen (Braves, 10th round, 2006) and Matt Diaz (Rays, 17th round, 1990).

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