The Atlanta Braves were tied to various college pitchers and prep infielders over the course of the last few weeks in the ever-reliable mock drafts, but the club decided to go with a local high school pitcher with their first round pick.
Lucas Sims, a 6'2, right-handed pitcher out of Brookwood, Georgia, was taken No. 21 overall and should help fill the void left in the system due to the recent promotions of Randall Delgado and (eventually) Julio Teheran to Atlanta.
Just what should we expect out of Sims for years to come?
Kiley McDaniel, one of ESPN's lead scouting gurus, weighed in on Sims and what the future may hold for him.
Sims is a well-known, battle-tested prep hurler with a very quick arm and good feel for a curveball. He has a slight build and limited projection on his 6-foot-2 frame, but will sit 92-94 and hit 96 mph for most of his starts with a hard curveball that will flash plus at times. Given his smaller frame and lack of projection, there is some concern that Sims won't get much bigger and his habit of losing his velocity later in starts can't be remedied. Sims has solid feel and shows a solid-average changeup with a track record of success versus good competition, so the Braves are getting a local kid with a chance to be a solid middle-of-the-rotation starter.
Sims grew up a Braves fan and said he models his game after John Smoltz, who was a family favorite during his time with Atlanta. Sims is expected to sign quickly with the club, although there is always a chance the negotiations hit a snag.
He will likely pitch in rookie ball for a month or two just to get his feet wet as a professional. A start with the Rome Braves (A-Ball) to begin the 2013 season seems probable at this point.