The Braves have a pretty good idea of what they’re getting with their eighth round pick. They drafted Georgia Tech center fielder Kyle Wren, who happens to be the son of Braves general manager Frank Wren.
Wren acknowledged it was a little bit awkward, knowing perception would be the Braves drafted his son based on nepotism. But as Kyle Wren’s name was called Friday afternoon, Baseball America’s Jim Callis pointed out he had actually projected Wren as a seventh round pick.
The speedy left-handed leadoff-type hitter led the ACC in hits during the regular season as both a freshman and junior. He hit .360 (98-for-272) with 11 doubles, six triples, two home runs, 28 RBIs and 50 runs scored in 64 games this season for Georgia Tech. He was eligible for the draft as a sophomore last year by virtue of turning 21 within 45 days of the draft, and the Reds took him in the 30th round despite an off-year offensively (batted .256).
Wren returned to Tech his junior year and improved his stock with a season more in line with what he accomplished two years ago. Wren was named first team All-ACC and a freshman All-American after hitting .340 with a team-high 90 hits.
“Selfishly we’re getting a player with talent, so I feel good about that,” Frank Wren said. “But I think it’s going to be a little tougher on him than probably anyone else. That’s the (hard) part that as a dad, just knowing going in that he’s going to have endure some of that.”
Wren recused himself from conversations Braves scouts had about Kyle as they prioritized their prospects on the draft board. But he was in the draft room Friday when they drafted Kyle. He called his son shortly thereafter, deferring first to his wife Terri, who had called as soon as she heard Kyle’s name on the broadcast.
“It was good; I was happy for him,” said Wren, who had asked Kyle ahead of time how he’d feel if the Braves draft him. “He said ‘I would love that.’ That’s his favorite team; it better be his favorite team. I asked him that question because I didn’t want to put him in a spot where he would be overly uncomfortable, and he wasn’t at all.”
The Braves also drafted Jonathan Schuerholz, the son of Braves president and former GM John Schuerholz, in the eighth round in 2002.
Kennesaw State pitcher
The Braves took two Georgia products in the first two picks last year in pitchers Lucas Sims (Brookwood) and Alex Wood (University of Georgia), but waited until the sixth round to nab Lassiter High graduate Stephen Janas this year, a right-hander from Kennesaw State.
Janas, a 6-6, 198-pounder, had a dominant college season after coming back from 10 months out following Tommy John surgery. He went 9-1, not losing his first game until the championship game of the Atlantic Sun tournament. He finished the season with a conference-record 1.14 ERA,
Unlike the Braves’ top two pitchers drafted, he doesn’t have a dominating fastball, topping out in the upper 80s. His strength is his command. He had only 14 walks with 55 strikeouts in 78 2/3 innings, as well as two complete games.
Braves first 10 picks
No.; Round; Name; Pos.; School; Ht.; Wt.
31; 1; Jason Hursh; RHP; Oklahoma State; 6-2; 200
85; 2; Victor Caratini; C; Miami Dade CC; 6-0; 205
102; 3; Carlos Salazar; RHP; Kerman (Calif.) HS; 6-1; 205
133; 4; Tanner Murphy; C; Malden (Mo.) HS; 6-2; 215
163; 5; Mikey Reynolds; SS; Texas A&M; 5-9; 160
193; 6; Stephen Janas; RHP; Kennesaw State; 6-5; 205
223; 7; Ian Stiffler; RHP; Somerset Area (Pa.) HS; 6-1; 175
253; 8; Kyle Wren; CF; Georgia Tech; 5-10; 175
283; 9; Dylan Manwaring; 3B; Horseheads (N.Y.) HS; 6-3; 205
313; 10; Ian Hagenmiller; 3B; Palm Beach Central (Fla.) HS; 6-1; 215
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