The 2020 Braves MLB season was pretty “hitty”. The description is similar thus far in 2021, as one would only have to add an -s to the beginning. Luckily for us, there are 4 minor league teams to keep up with: Gwinnett Stripers, Mississippi Braves, Rome Braves, and Augusta Green Jackets. We’ll take look at each affiliate and players that have played well recently.
- Travis Demeritte: I won’t deny it…I was pretty hacked off when Demeritte didn’t get the call to join the MLB team. Almonte has been fine thus far, but Demeritte is the higher ceiling (lower floor) player and deserves an opportunity after carrying a 1.187 OPS through 63 ABs. His K-rate is 30%, but his walk-rate is 22.4%. The dude just needs a shot and then I’ll shut up.
- Drew Waters: Kid hit a snag coming out the gate, then got hot, then cooled off, but now he’s back at it. He’s still striking out a lot, but is also getting his fair share of walks which has upped his OBP to a very healthy .373. A great follow for all things Braves MILB related, Garret Spain, had this to say about him: “Drew Waters ranks 3rd in wRC+ among any player age 22 or younger who has had a PA at Triple-A this season. The only two players better are Wander Franco and Jarred Kelenic.”
- Chasen Bradford: Through 11.1 IP, Bradford is carrying a 0.79 ERA and has only allowed 2 walks. He’s pitched for the Mets and Mariners in the bigs and could make his way to Atlanta if Braves relief continues to be shaky.
- Kyle Muller: After a rough start to the year, Muller has had 2 straight good outings, pitching a total of 10 innings, giving up 7 hits, 2 BBs, 14 K, and 2 earned runs.
- Tucker Davidson: Tonight’s starter has been great all year at AAA with a 1.73 ERA and 28 strikeouts to only 5 walks in 26 innings. He deserves a regular spot in the Braves rotation, not the stripers.
- Jesse Chavez: If Braves want to continue the DFA shuffle, Chavez could be next in line. He’s throwing well in a league that is demolishing baseballs. He’s got a 2.70 ERA in 10 innings with 16 Ks to only 4 walks.
- Shane Greene: I expect him to be activated sooner rather than later…maybe today. He has 3 appearances and has yet to give up a run and has 1 walk to 5 Ks.
- Shea Langeliers: This kid might be ready and he is really needed right now. While William Contreras will always hit, he’s been prone to the passed ball and the stolen base. Langeliers is not that guy. He controls the running game and pitchers love to throw to him. The one thing that we didn’t expect is the bat. He is THOR at the plate right now. He’s already jacked 7 HRs in the most pitching friendly league in all of baseball and 3 of them have come at home, in the most pitching friendly stadium in all of baseball. In total, he’s got a 1.049 OPS and a cannon for an arm. It wouldn’t surprise me to see him up in the bigs by August.
- Trey Harris: Trey started slow and has hit his stride after a lost 2020, where he didn’t get the invite to the alt-site. In his last 6 games, he’s carrying a 1.070 OPS and looking like the Trey of old who just gets to the plate and hits. I still believe he has MLB potential.
- Victor Vodnik: This isn’t good news. In his last start, Victor came out of the game with some type of arm injury. As a max effort dude, this is concerning and worth keeping tabs on.
- Indigo Diaz: Seriously…this dude needs a promotion. He’s carrying vidya game numbers: 13.1 IP, 0.68 ERA, 19.6 K/9, 2.7 BB/9. He’s got some fire too. Gosh, it’d be so awesome if he develops into a shutdown closer.
- Beau Philip: Many prospect people think Philip has MLB potential and has real breakout potential this year. It didn’t start out that way, but Beau has rounded into form in the last 5 games, carrying a 1.065 OPS over that time frame with 3 doubles and a HR. I still feel his MLB ceiling likely is a super-utility fielder with a hit tool similar to Ehire Adrianza.
- Kevin Josephina: He’s 24 years old and has been in the org since 2014 and, to be blunt, has been a glove first, bat non-existent, for his entire career. He’s finally showing some pop to go with the glove. In his last 9 games, he’s carrying a 1.122 OPS with 2 HRs. He has 3 on the year in 74 PAs, which is quite impressive has he’s only had 6 in 1365 career PAs before 2021.
Augusta Green Jackets
- Joey Estes: Here’s definitely a name to start tracking as he’s sending everyone back to the dugout. In 5 starts, he’s carrying a 1.29 ERA in 21 innings with 29 strikeouts to only 6 walks.
- Darius Vines: With a curve worth of a Touki Toussaint comp, Vines will be…well, climbing the prospect vine at midseason. He’s carrying a 1.89 ERA in 19 innings with 25 Ks to 7 walks.
Vaughn Grissom: After a slow start to the season where he went 1 for his first 11, Grissom, who’s fully transitioned to 3B now, has picked it up with a .288/.393/.373 slash-line. The power will come as he’s a big kid. At 20 years old, there’s still time but he’s got real breakout potential.
- Willie Carter: .351/.457/.494 slashline. Ok…he’s old for his level, but this dude can rake and I expect he’ll talk Michael Harris‘s place at Rome when Harris gets the call to AA. I don’t know if he has MLB potential yet, but he’s reminiscent of Evan Gattis when he was with Rome. Did you know he was a janitor?