Georgia Braves Solidify Future in 2002 Draft

For the first time in Georgia Braves history, GM Dallas Green had the luxury of drafting amateurs in the all important first few rounds of the 2002 Rookie Draft, instead of drafting players for immediate assistance.  “Over the past few seasons we have had to draft players in the first or second round of the draft that could plug holes in our roster.  This year, we didn’t feel we had any urgent holes to fill, therefore, we were able to draft some spectacular young players that should mature into good major league players within the next few years,” said Green.   

The Georgia Braves have had good success with recent draft picks.  In fact, four of their five starting pitchers, Freddy Garcia, Tim Hudson, Russ Ortiz, and Wade Miller were picked by GM Green.   

In round 1 the Braves were looking to solidify their middle infield, selecting Brandon Phillips, a 20 year old shortstop, who has the potential to become a 5 tool player.  “He’s still very young, and we have Jose Hernandez at short for the next few years, so we won’t rush him to the bigs, yet.  He and Bobby Hill will be fun to watch,” stated Green.    

The Braves had traded away their 2nd round pick, so they anxiously waited until their 72nd and 89th picks in the 3rd round. “There were a few players that we had hoped would be around in the 3rd round, so we were pleased when Mark Phillips and Brett Evert were still available,” commented Green.  The Braves were looking for a LHP starter, since all five of their current starters are RHP.  Mark Phillips, also 20 years old, is a LHP starter who can throw 95mph with little effort.  He is mature beyond his years, and has one of the best arms of any LHP in the minors today.  Brett Evert, the oldest of the armatures drafted by the Braves, is a 21 year old, 6ft 6 in  RHP starter.  He can reach 95 mph with his fastball, and he also has a good curve and changeup.  Braves management hope to see both Phillips and Evert in the rotation by 2004.    

GM Dallas Green also drafted Ray King (LHP reliever), Courtney Duncan (RHP reliever), Cliff Politte (RHP reliever), Mark Derosa (infielder), Robert Machado (catcher), Sun Woo Kim (RHP starter), Travis Fryman (reclaim), and Alex Arias (utility infielder).   

GM Green Adds Depth to Bullpen, Rumors Persist

In an effort to add depth to their bullpen, the Braves traded a late round 2003 draft pick for LHP Jeff Wallace.  Since Manager Don Baylor intends to break camp with 11 pitchers, Jeff Wallace will be competing with Ray King for the LHP reliever position.  If Baylor decides to go with 2 LHP relievers, then Matt Herges could be headed to the minors.  

Rumors were flying around the front office late last week of a trade to add some more power to the offense.  The Braves were said to have offered one of their current third basemen, a top amateur, a high draft pick, and cash.  “We’re not afraid to pull the trigger on a trade which will make us a better ball club this year.  We are always looking to upgrade our offense.  If any GM out there wants a good young prospect and a high draft pick, you know how to get a hold me,” commented Green.