Braves get Herbert, Allard's catcher, at No. 54

High school teammates have opportunity to join pro ranks together

Braves get Herbert, Allard's catcher, at No. 54

ATLANTA -- Many of those fans who spent the past few years rooting for San Clemente High School (Calif.) might spend the next few years cheering for the Braves.

The Braves took left-handed pitcher Kolby Allard with their first selection in the 2015 Draft on Monday night. A couple of hours later, they took Allard's San Clemente teammate, Lucas Herbert, an 18-year-old catcher, with their fourth pick (the 54th overall selection).

"We liked them both," Braves scouting director Brian Bridges said. "[Special assistant to the general manager] Roy Clark really loved [Herbert]."

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Shortly after being drafted, Allard and Herbert donned Braves hats and posed for a picture that Allard (@KolbyAllard) posted on Twitter. They both committed to UCLA, but are expected to sign with the Braves within the next week.

Herbert drew attention from many of the scouts who came to watch Allard pitch over the past few years. The 6-foot-1, 195-pound catcher possesses strong catch-and-throw skills and quick feet that allow him to serve as a skilled blocker. The Braves believe his leadership skills signal he will have no trouble handling pitching staffs once he joins the professional ranks.

With his defensive profile, Herbert has drawn comparisons to Austin Hedges, the Padres' young catcher, who has been recognized as one of the best defensive catching prospects over the past couple of years.

"There's a lot of comparison there," Bridges said. "They're both real good catch-and-throw guys, but in my honest opinion, Herbert is a better hitter."

Though Herbert's primary value comes via his advanced defensive skills, he displayed a simple swing that gave Braves scouts hope that he has the ability to provide consistency and some power at the plate. He batted .417 with eight homers in 33 games during his senior season.

"We're going to have to make some adjustments with the swing, but the power is there," Bridges said. "He's a gamer and his makeup is off the charts. He's a catch-and-throw guy, which we needed right now in the Minor Leagues at the lower levels. He's going to be a big leaguer, there's no doubt about it."

Mark Bowman is a reporter for Listen to his podcast. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.