Not that records really matter in the minor, but 2 of the 4 Braves MiLB affiliates have records above .500 (GWN and MS), 1 at .500 on the dot (Rome), and the Augusta Greenjackets at 4 games below .500. There’s still a whole lot to like about each team and this system, who seems to be severely underrated by many prospect outlets. Let’s check out the players that have been showing out the past few weeks, however we’re going to try a different format and only focus on AAA and AA for this round and A+ and A for next round.
- Chasen Bradford: Bradford’s going to catch some eyes soon as he’s been very stingy with baserunners at AAA. While his stuff won’t wow, he’s carrying a 3.75 K/BB rate and that is a stat that is needed on the big league club.
- Jesse Chavez: Chavez is also dominating AAA hitters but that’s expected. Maybe what isn’t expected is the huge increase in his K/9, which is sitting at 12.2/9.
- Dylan Lee: If the Braves didn’t have 2 hands full of LHP in the bullpen already, Lee might’ve already gotten the call. He’s carrying a Chris Martin-esque 17.0 K/BB rate with an equally striking 1.92 ERA. He’s been a really strong MiLB pitcher since fully transitioning to relief and the Braves could do worse than giving him a call.
- Ty Tice: It’s a small sample (and apparently Mr. Tice is also a small sample), but Tice has pitched 4.1 innings of good baseball, walking none and striking out 6. He’s got a 2.08 ERA, a 95 MPH fastball and a good slider. He’s also on the 40-man. Could we see him soon?
- Kyle Wright: Wright has a 1.90 ERA in his last 5 appearance and that is at least worth mentioning, but it doesn’t come with a lot of promise as there’s still a lot of baserunners, walks, and a fairly high OPS (.779, including a .375 OBP).
- Orlando Arcia: We are past the small sample and 181 PAs since joining the Braves org, Arcia has hit. He’s hit for power, he’s walked his fair share, but the biggest surprise is the lack of strikeout. In 162 ABs, he’s only struck out 13 times. His .974 OPS isn’t driven by BABIP either as it sits at .293. Honestly, unless Anthopolous is trying to trade him to a team in desperate need of a shortstop (who now has an extra year of control), I’m not sure why he’s not getting playing time around the horn rather than just at SS.
- Cristian Pache: Since recovering from a hamstring injury, Pache has done well for himself and it’s caught the eye of our own David Lee.
- Drew Waters: Listed as day-to-day with a thumb injury, Waters had a really strong 8 games, collecting 13 hits and a .351 batting average. It was fairly empty though and he’s still struggling with his LH swing. For me, that’s got to come ’round before he’s promoted.
- Troy Bacon: It feels weird to say it’s been 4 years since the Braves drafted Bacon in the 4th round. What’s even more weird is he’s been a solid reliever that has kind of been lost in the Braves system. He’s only given up runs in 2 of his 13 appearances in 2021, has a FB that regularly comes in between 95-97, and is good at limiting walks. At 24 years old, I expect Troy to finish the year in AAA with eyes on MLB in 2022 or 2023.
- Josh Graham: One could basically copy/paste the above info regarding Bacon and add a couple of years, and it’s essentially Josh Graham. His K-rate is not what it used to be and he likely doesn’t have an MLB ceiling, but he’s carrying a 3.33 K/BB ratio and that plays.
- Matt Withrow: Withrow has hovered between High-A and AA for years now. The stuff has never been the concern, but the health is a major concern. He’s still a hybrid, bouncing back and forth between SP/RP. Like Graham, this likely shows what the Braves org thinks of him and it feels like he might be an MiLB lifer.
- Jose Rodriguez: Ok…he might only be interesting to me, but the Braves picked up Jose off the scrap heap and he’s been dominating between AA and AAA. In 30.1 innings, he’s carrying a 1.78 ERA and a 4.11 K/BB ratio. He’s basically a FB/CH guy that throws what looks to be a cutter every now and and again. The fastball has good life and runs up to 96. He’s an interesting scrap heap pickup, but they’ve all had some level of interest and it hasn’t worked out yet.
- A.J. Puckett: Former 2nd Rd pick of the White Sox turned Rule 5 pick for the Braves, Puckett has workhorse potential but just can’t seem to get his walks down. However, he’s trending the right way, only allowing 8 walks in his last 17.2 innings (using *only pretty loose there) and has struck out 21 with an eye-popping 1.09 ERA. Still…control is a problem and he’s not pitched more than 5.2 innings in any start.
- Nolan Kingham: 12th rounder in 2018, the best way to describe Kingham is solid and durable, even after struggling with injuries in his collegiate career. He doesn’t strike out many, but doesn’t walk many either. Mississippi has been good to him (it is for most pitchers) and he’s carrying a 2.64 ERA and a 4.43 K/BB ratio (mostly due to lack of walks, not high K-rate) through 47.2 innings (which is just below 6 innings/start. His FB has been as high as 96 in the past, but I have never seen that from him. He’s got a David Hale type ceiling, but will likely land a a MiLB lifer.
- Brandon White: Drafted back in 2016, White’s been a reliever out the gate and has had a nice career (2.50 ERA). He’s worked on his velo the last few years, but it hasn’t been a plus statistically. Yes, he’s striking out more, but he’s also walking more. With a 1.93 ERA, he’s got real potential but isn’t coming fast and likely ends up as a fringe reliever that might get a chance call-up to the bigs.
- Shea Langeliers: Has had a rough offensive stretch the last 5 games after going full Thor for the first 28. There’s still a lot to love about Langeliers and that is his defense never sleeps as he’s thrown out over 50% of would be base-stealers.
- Justin Dean: Honestly, Justin is one of my favorite guys in the system. While he might be a reboot of Matt Young, he’s smart hitter with some pop (9 HRs in 2019) and just gets on base. He’s a CF by trade, but can play all 3 positions and is a good base thief. He’s carrying a .382 OBP and that goes along with his career mark of .384. He’s only 5’6…and that might be his downfall but I’ll continue to pull hard for him to make it to the show.