ATLANTA - The Atlanta Braves tonight concluded the first day of the 2016 First-Year Player Draft by making four selections within the first two rounds, including the 3rd, 40th, 44th and 76th selections. The Braves selected three pitchers, including two left-handers, and one catcher, and their first three draftees were selected out of high school.
"We feel that the first day of the draft went outstanding for us as an organization. We added three high school pitchers who we really like, as well as a solid college catcher who is a talented and experienced hitter. We are extremely pleased with how the draft has gone thus far." said Brian Bridges, the Braves' director of scouting.
Selection #3, RHP Ian Anderson
Anderson, a 6-foot-3, 180-pounder, entered the 2016 draft ranked by Baseball America as one of the top high school pitchers in the country. The 2016 preseason High School All-America selection by Baseball America and Rawlings-Perfect Game was limited during his senior year at Shenendehowa due to pneumonia. In his most recent outing with the Plainsmen on Saturday, June 4, Anderson notched 16 strikeouts in 7.0 innings while allowing one unearned run on two hits.
The right-hander was rated as the 12th-best prospect by Baseball America in the 2016 draft class, and also earned the distinction by the publication as having the "Best Delivery" by a prep pitcher. ESPN ranked the righty as the seventh-best player and the third-best prep pitcher in the 2016 class.
During his junior season for the Plainsmen in 2015, Anderson went 6-1 with two saves and a 0.66 ERA (5 ER/53.1 IP) over 11 appearances. He allowed just 21 hits while striking out 91 in 53.1 innings pitched en route to being tabbed as the 2015 Pitcher of the Year by both Baseball America and Louisville Slugger.
In the fall of 2015, Anderson was instrumental in helping Team USA (U18) win its third consecutive Gold Medal at the World Cup Championship in Osaka, Japan. He pitched in four games, all in relief, allowing just one earned run in 10.1 innings pitched in their quest for the gold medal. During the summer of 2015, he appeared on the East team of the Perfect Game All-American Classic at San Diego's Petco Park and tossed 1.0 scoreless inning with one walk and two strikeouts in the East's 3-1 win over the West.
Selection #40, LHP Joey Wentz
Wentz, a 6-foot-5, 220-pound left-handed pitcher out of Shawnee Mission East High School in Prairie Village, Kan., entered the 2016 draft ranked as Baseball America's 26th-best prospect and the 16th- best player in the draft class according to MLB.com.
The left-hander led Shawnee Mission East High Lancers to the 2016 Kansas Class 6A state championship and was named the Sunflower League Player of the Year after going a perfect 9-0 while not allowing an earned run in 51.1 innings pitched. The 2016 preseason Rawlings-Perfect Game Third Team All-American struck out 104 batters over 51.1 innings and allowed just seven hits with 12 walks. In addition, Wentz held opponents hitless through his first four games of the season, and surrendered just one hit through his first 30 innings.
In 2015, as a junior for the Lancers, Wentz batted .434 and also went 4-1 with a 1.01 ERA on the mound to earn Kansas 6A Player of the Year honors. The 18-year-old is committed to the University of Virginia.
Selection #44, LHP Kyle Muller
Muller, a 6-foot-7, 240-pound left-handed pitcher out of Jesuit Prep in Dallas, Texas, was named the 2016 Gatorade National Player of the Year just this past Monday, June 8th, an award that recognizes outstanding athletic excellence as well as high standards of academic achievement and exemplary character demonstrated on and off the baseball diamond. Muller pitched to a perfect 8-0 record with a 0.46 ERA and 133 strikeouts in 76 innings and registered two no-hitters along with five shutouts. The two-way player also excelled at the plate batting .396 with 15 home runs and 52 RBI with 20 stolen bases in 44 games.
In four seasons at Dallas Jesuit Prep, the left-hander went 19-4 with a 1.02 ERA (24 ER/164.2 IP) with 266 strikeouts. He allowed just one home run during his high school career.
Muller, who signed a national letter of intent with the University of Texas, is a finalist for the Gatorade Male High School Athlete of the Year. In 2015, he was named as an Under Armour All-American.
Selection #76, C Brett Cumberland
Tabbed by Baseball America as one of the top offensive college catchers in the draft and ranked as the 69th-best prospect by MLB.com, the 5-foot-11, 205-pound catcher experienced one of the best offensive seasons of any college backstop in the country in 2016 as he was named the Pacific 12 Conference Player of the Year and a USA Baseball Golden Spikes semifinalist.
The switch-hitting catcher batted .344 (62-for-180) with 16 home runs and 51 RBI in 52 games for the University of California. A draft-eligible sophomore, Cumberland paced the Pac-12 in home runs (16) and RBI (51), and ranked near the top of the charts in several additional offensive categories. In early May, Cumberland was named the Muscle Milk Student Athlete of the Week for the Golden Bears.
In 2015, the freshman catcher batted .245 (45-for-177) with 10 doubles, seven home runs and 32 RBI and opened his collegiate baseball career with an 11-game hitting streak (.361, 13-for-36).
The Turlock, Calif., native was a member of the Turlock High School baseball team where he batted .410 in his senior season (2014). He was a three-time all-conference catcher, and was twice named to the Perfect Game All-American Underclassman honorable mention.
The 40-round First-Year Player draft will continue Friday (June 10) at 1:00 p.m. ET with rounds three through 10 and will conclude Saturday (June 11) at 12:00 p.m. ET.