Atlanta Braves 2011 Draft Review

Bill Shanks

The Braves took FSU left-hander Sean Gilmartin with their first-round pick (28 overall) in the 2011 amateur draft.

Anytime the Braves get a softer-tossing left-hander, he’s going to be compared to Tom Glavine, and that’s who was mentioned when Gilmartin was selected. Unfortunately, Gilmartin has been nothing like the Hall of Famer.

In three minor league seasons, Gilmartin was unspectacular for the Braves. He pitched in 54 games (53 starts) and had a 4.23 ERA. Gilmartin did nothing to show the Braves he was ready to step into a starting rotation in the Major Leagues.

The Braves traded Gilmartin to the Twins for outfielder Ryan Doumit in December 2013. After being taken in the Rule V draft, Gilmartin made the big leagues in 2015 with the Mets as a reliever and had a good season, posting a 2.67 ERA in 50 games.

The next season Gilmartin struggled, with a 7.13 ERA in 14 games. He then pitched in only two games with the Mets in 2017. He was selected off waivers by the Cardinals but never pitched in St. Louis, and then released him a year later.

Gilmartin signed with the Orioles in 2018 and had 12 relief appearances. He had an ERA of 3.00, but last season he made one start for Baltimore and gave up five runs in 2.1 innings.

Gilmartin was in camp this spring with Tampa Bay. In his 79 MLB games (three starts), Gilmartin has a 4.18 ERA in 107.2 innings.

So, who could the Braves have drafted instead? Well, the Giants selected Joe Panik with the very next pick. Panik was San Francisco’s starting second baseman for parts of six seasons and was an All-Star in 2015. He was in camp with Toronto this spring.

The Red Sox took Jackie Bradley, Jr. at pick 40. Bradley, Jr. has 638 hits and 91 home runs in parts of seven seasons in Boston.

Colorado picked Trevor Story with pick 45. He’s got 123 home runs and 568 hits in four seasons as a starter for the Rockies. Story has been an All-Star the last two seasons.

Blake Snell was taken with pick 52 by the Rays, while the Pirates got Josh Bell at pick 61.

Atlanta made a good pick in the second round, getting Nick Ahmed from Connecticut with pick 85. Ahmed was part of the price the Braves paid to get Justin Upton from the Diamondbacks in January 2013.

Ahmed has become a solid MLB starting shortstop for Arizona, and his defense has only gotten better since the Braves drafted him. Ahmed has won two straight Gold Glove awards for the Diamondbacks.

Kyle Kubitza was drafted by the Braves in the third round out of Texas State University. The Braves traded him to the Angels in the Ricardo Sanchez trade. Kubitza made the big leagues with Los Angeles for 36 at bats in 2015. He hit just .194 and his now out of baseball.

Cody Martin was Atlanta’s seventh-round pick. The right-hander pitched in 21 games for the Braves in 2015 before being traded to Oakland. He also got some time in Seattle and finished his pro career with a 6.33 ERA in 35 games in the big leagues. Martin is now an area amateur scout for the Braves.

Tommy La Stella was the Braves eighth-round selection. He played in Atlanta in 2014 and was then traded to the Cubs for Arodys Vizcaino. La Stella played four years as a reserve for the Cubs and was then sent to the Angels, where he made the All-Star team last season.

Atlanta’s 15 round pick John Cornely could be called the Braves version of Moonlight Graham. Cornely pitched in one game in the Major Leagues. He allowed four runs on three hits in one innings for the Braves. Not too long after, Cornely was purchased by the Red Sox, and then Boston released him in March 2016. Cornely never pitched in pro ball again.

Gus Schlosser was taken in the 17 round out of Florida Southern College in Lakeland. He made it to Atlanta three years later and pitched in 15 games. Schlosser had a 7.64 ERA. He was traded to Colorado the next offseason and is now out of baseball.

Ryan Harper was the 37 round pick out of Austin Peay. Harper pitched five years in Atlanta’s farm system before being traded to the Mariners for reliever Jose Ramirez. Harper made the big leagues in 2019 and had a very good season for the Minnesota Twins, posting a 3.81 ERA in 61 games. The Twins traded Harper to the Nationals in January, and he was expected to be part of Washington’s bullpen.

The Braves did not sign 46 round pick John Means, so he went to West Virginia and was drafted three years later by the Orioles. Means made the All-Star team last season as Baltimore’s staff ace. 

Listen to The Bill Shanks Show weekdays at 3:00 p.m. ET on Middle Georgia’s ESPN. You can listen online at TheSuperStations.com. Follow Bill on Twitter at @billshanks and you can email him at thebillshanksshow@yahoo.com.

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