Today, I posted the top picks in each of the first ten rounds in Braves history at my page at About.com, but we can certainly continue with this exercise as the draft begins later this evening. So with that in mind, you can consider this an extension to that article as I focus on rounds 11-25, starting with the latter and working our way down with small blurbs about each selection.
25th Round – John Foster (1999)
Pickings are slim this low. Foster played in 90 games in the majors and even though he was traded for Ray King in 2002, he got his biggest exposure in the majors with the Braves in 2005 with 62 games as a LOOGY.
24th Round – Brandon Jones (2003)
There was a time when Jones looked like he might join far more famous guys who shared his last name in Atlanta. Between 2006-07, he hit 33 homers and stole 32 bases, but his major league career would include just one of both in 51 games. He continues to toil, though, and has been a fixture in independent leagues for the last five years.
23rd Round – Brett Butler (1979)
I thought Evan Gattis would make this list, but 31 years before he was drafted in the 23rd round, the Braves hit on Butler. While his best years came after the Braves dumbly traded him away, Butler would play 17 years in the majors and steal over 500 bases.
22nd Round – Tommy Hanson (2005)
A draft-and-follow guy when that was a thing, Hanson had a promising start to his career turn into epic disappointment. In the end, Frank Wren did good to get Jordan Walden for him.
21st Round – Jeff Wetherby (1985)
Who? Exactly. Braves have only selected three players in this round that have made it to the majors and Wetherby was the only one who signed.
20th Round – Glenn Hubbard (1975)
He was never much of a hitter, but Hubbard could field as well as anyone at second base over the last 40 years. His knowledge and ability at the position apparently continued in an educator form as he has worked with Braves infielders over the years – most notably Kelly Johnson.
19th Round – Larry Bradford (1973)
His career was short, but Bradford was rather good when he played, posting a 2.52 ERA in 104 games. You could also go with Charles Thomas (2000), who was productive in 2004 and helped the Braves acquire Tim Hudson.
18th Round – John Rocker (1993)
Was he as good as we remember him before he opened his mouth? Absolutely. In his first two years, Rocker K’d 146 in 110.1 ING with 30 saves and a 2.37 ERA. But hey, nobody’s perfect, right?
17th Round – Jermaine Dye (1993)
The top 10 rounds provided nothing of substance for the Braves in 1993, but they got a few hits in the next ten, including Dye. After a great rookie season taking over for David Justice in ’96, Dye would get traded (for some stupid reason) and eventually became a pretty good hitter. He belted over 300 homers after the Braves traded him.
16th Round – Jaye Chapman (2005)
No really good options here. Sadly, Riaan Spanjer-Furstenburg (2009) wasn’t more than an amazing name. Chapman pitched 14 games in the majors during 2012 and is currently looking pretty good in the Brewers system.
15th Round – Mike Hessman (1996)
Another round with not a lot of options. You could have gone with Tony Tarasco (1988) if you wanted to as he got the most extended look in the majors, but Hessman is still bashing homers. Granted, they’re International League homers, but hey, it’s something.
14th Round – Garrett Jones (1999)
Another underwhelming choice, Jones spent three years in rookie ball with the Braves before they gave up on him. He would stick with it and has been a fixture in the majors since 2009. David Nied (1987), who was the first pick of the 1993 expansion draft, was Jones’ nearest competition.
13th Round – Mike Stanton (1987)
He pitched in over a thousand games and batted .333 in the majors. Pretty good career. He added 84 saves – including 55 as a Brave – before the Braves sent him packing at the 1995 trade deadline. Not really sure why Atlanta pulled the trigger on that deal, but hey, they won the title.
12th Round – Chris Brock (1992)
Wow, no luck in this round of the draft. Brock was a crappy pitcher who the Braves briefly used in ’97 before moving on. Both the Giants and Phillies let this guy throw over a 100 innings for them. They hated winning at the time.
11th Round – Kevin Millwood (1993)
The ’93 draft was completely salvaged by Millwood, Rocker, and Dye. Millwood finished his career with a 4.11 ERA, but he had a 3.73 ERA as a Brave and pitched his longest string of good ball in Atlanta. I’ll never forget his 1999 NLDS work. Throwing a one-hitter with 8 K’s in his first postseason appearance and two later, he pitched the 12th inning for a save.
That’s my choices for the top picks in each of round 11-25. Remember to visit my other site for my picks for the top players selected in each of the first ten rounds.