THURSDAY: The Braves are getting close to a deal with first-round pick Braxton Davidson, reports Mark Bowman of MLB.com. According to Bowman, Davidson will graduate from high school this weekend and then make the three-hour drive from his home in Asheville, N.C. to Atlanta in order to sign his first pro contract. Davidson is expected to sign near the slot value of $1.705MM, according to Bowman.
Davidson was ranked as the draft’s No. 16 prospect on the Top 100 list of ESPN’s Keith Law. Baseball America ranked the slugging high school first baseman/outfielder No. 35, and MLB.com’s Jim Callis and Jonathan Mayo ranked him 36th.
Law’s scouting report notes that when Davidson is at his best, he has one of the best swings in the draft class and at one point looked to perhaps have more upside than any hitter — college or high school — in this year’s draft class. Davidson draws praise for his ability to hit the ball to all fields — an element of his game that he discussed with me in depth when I spoke with him for MLBTR’s Draft Prospect Q&A series. Last June, Davidson set a tournament record with three homers in four games at the Tournament of the Stars, and that power along with an improved hit tool and a notable drop in strikeouts, helped boost Davidson’s draft stock in 2014. Davidson is regarded across the board as one of the best bats in this year’s class.
The Braves have just $4.5577MM to spend on this year’s draft — the third-lowest amount of any team — which is a reflection of both their strong finish in 2013 and the fact that they forfeited a draft pick to ink Ervin Santana in Spring Training. As Bowman notes, they’ve already agreed to deals with second-rounder Garrett Fulenchek, third-rounder Max Povse and fourth-rounder Chad Sobotka.
Photo courtesy of Kathryn Sizemore/Golden Fleece Media.