Braves complete draft, add two local outfielders

The Braves completed the annual restocking of their minor-league system Tuesday, adding 10 more prospects on the final day of the MLB draft.

The tally for the Braves during the three-day proceeding: 22 players selected, exactly half of them pitchers (all right-handers).

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“The beauty of the last three days is, I think it’s a really good combination of high-ceiling high-school guys (and) picking our spots with college guys,” Braves vice president of scouting Dana Brown said. “We went with a lot of young, upside high school kids and sprinkled in some really good college players.”

On the draft’s final day Tuesday, encompassing rounds 11 through 20, the Braves chose four pitchers and six position players.

The Braves’ late picks included two outfielders from metro Atlanta. They selected Kevin Kilpatrick, who attended Redan High and played this year at a Florida junior college, in the 17th round and Christian Jackson, who attended Dutchtown High in Henry County, in the 19th round.

Jackson is committed to Georgia State, but the Braves “feel good about signing him even though he’s a high school kid taken late,” Brown said.

Brown described Kilpatrick as a “very good runner” who has a “chance to hit” and Jackson as “a guy who could probably play center field, can run and hopefully get to some power.”

The Braves unsurprisingly emphasized pitching at the start of the draft Sunday, selecting high school pitchers with each of their first three picks and a college pitcher with their fourth. They turned to college power hitters with their first two picks of Day 2 on Monday. Then, on Tuesday, the Braves’ first pick of Day 3 was New Mexico State starting pitcher Ian Mejia in the 11th round.

The other pitchers the Braves drafted Tuesday included two from Florida junior colleges, Cedric De Grandpre and William Silva, and a reliever from Southern Miss, Landon Harper. De Grandpre is among three Canadians drafted by the Braves this week.

“On Day 3, I think we took some really good arms we feel good about,” Brown said.

The Braves’ first position-player pick of Day 3, in the 12th round, was Illinois first baseman Justin Janas, a left-handed hitter who won the Big Ten batting title with a .391 average in 2021.

Brown said the Braves intend to sign all 22 of their draft picks in the coming days. Some will visit Truist Park this weekend. Upon signing, players will report to the Braves’ training facility in North Port, Fla., before being assigned to minor-league affiliates.

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