Braves Select Young Outfielder With First Pick In Draft

Atlanta Goes For Young LHP With Second Pick

Friday, June 6, 2014
After taking power-hitting outfielder Braxton Davidson in the first round, the Braves extended their tradition of filling early draft picks with pitching. Garrett Fulenchek learned he was taken with the 66th overall selection while hosting friends and family members at his home in Howe, which has a population of slightly more than 3,000.

The Braves had taken a pitcher with their first selection in five of the previous six Drafts.

"It's nice to have two 17-year-olds that have huge upside," DeMacio said in reference to Fulenchek and Davidson.

Fulenchek, who turns 18 on Saturday, was not on the radar of many clubs until he impressed scouts at Perfect Game's World Bat Association World Championship in October. The hard-throwing hurler has a live fastball that has been clocked at 90-94 mph and a slider that improved as he spent his senior season at Howe High School.

The Braves believe Fulenchek's projectable 6-foot-4, 205-pound frame will allow him to add velocity as he goes through the early portion of his professional career.

Fulenchek is committed to play at Dallas Baptist University. But if the Braves extend their near perfect record of signing their early draft picks, the young hurler will likely agree to a signing bonus worth somewhere in the neighborhood of $866,000.

Dodgers (parent club of the AA Chattanooga Lookouts)

The first selection was right-hander Grant Holmes out of Conway (S.C.) High School. Holmes has a fastball in the mid-90s and a power curve that Logan White said was "the best breaking ball I saw in the country." Holmes had 82 strikeouts and 16 walks in 40 innings with a 0.52 ERA and is committed to attend the University of Florida. The Dodgers have $4,947,700 to spend on their first 10 picks, ranking 25th in MLB, with $1,980,500 designated for the first-round pick. White said he was cautiously optimistic of signing Holmes, while acknowledging the pitcher is undoubtedly disappointed he wasn't selected higher.

The second selection was Arizona high schooler Alex Verdugo selected as an outfielder. Even though Verdugo was viewed by many clubs as a left-handed pitcher, the same was true of James Loney coming out of high school a dozen years ago. The 18-year-old Verdugo, who is 6-foot-1 and weighs 180 pounds, attended Sahuaro High School near Tucson and committed to attend Arizona State University. He was the 62nd player taken overall on Day 1.

The Draft continues on Friday with Rounds 3-10.

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