Hello Braves Journalers. Every month I check into the Braves Top 30 Prospects and their cumulative stats and, if you’d like to catch up, here’s last month’s piece. It’s that time again! Time to check back in with the Braves’ top 30 prospects and evaluate how each player is currently performing. Keeping with the same style from May, this will be a three-part series, each covering 10 prospects; however, the list has been updated since I last checked on these guys back on June 1. You can check out our 2021 Summer Top 30 in full at my personal blog at Braves Farm.
*All stats mentioned below cover only games played in June
30. Nolan Kingham, RHP â†‘
AAA — Gwinnett
I’m a big Kingham fan, and it has been fun to watch him flourish this season as he’s performed better than ever before as a pro. In fact, the 24-year-old has been so good that he earned a promotion from Mississippi to Triple-A Gwinnett recently, after turning in some impressive numbers with the M-Braves this season. Kingham’s first start with the Stripers on June 29 (the day he was promoted) went pretty horrendously, in which he allowed six runs in just 3 â…“ innings, but he still needs time to adjust to the better competition.
29. Kasey Kalich, RHP â†‘
A+ — Rome
Kalich hasn’t been as dominant as he was in May, but it would’ve been nearly impossible to match his first month of the season, given he posted a 0.66 ERA. The 2019 pick is still racking up the strikeouts (11 per nine in June) and doing a solid job of preventing runs (3.00 ERA) while pitching out of Rome’s bullpen.
28. Jefrey Ramos, OF â†“
AA — Mississippi
One of the few M-Braves hitters to struggle so far this season, the 22-year-old Ramos just hasn’t seemed to enjoy Double-A pitching like he did the High-A stuff two years ago. However, following a 3 for 39 performance in May, the Dominican outfielder turned in a more acceptable 12 for 56 stretch this past month and became a bit more patient at the plate. The .478 OPS this season is quite a ways away from what’s needed from him, but at least recently, Ramos appears on the right track.
27. Roddery Munoz, RHP â†“
A — Augusta (7-day IL)
I instantly became interested in Munoz during his very first start this season, back on May 9, when he struck out seven in four innings and blew away opposing batters with a 99 MPH fastball. But his success didn’t last very long as the 21-year-old became more and more hittable with each outing. The problem now is that Munoz hasn’t pitched in nearly a month, and he’s been on the injured list since June 15. This kid has the ability, it seems, but a 7.13 ERA in Single-A suggests an adjustment needs to be made, or perhaps more recovery from whatever ailment that has bothered him.
26. Willie Carter, OF â†‘
A — Augusta
Would you please not ask me why Carter is still twiddling his thumbs in Single-A, as the 24-year-old is now up to a .318 AVG and .850 OPS in 44 games this season. There’s no question he’s a talented player, even if it’s obvious his bat is a bit too advanced for the current competition. A promotion should come soon, and I’m curious to see how toolsy a player Carter is as he moves up the ladder.
25. Justin Dean, OF â†‘
AA – Mississippi
Dean is progressing really nicely as a potentially well-rounded big-league outfielder with serious speed on the basepaths. He had a pretty mediocre May at the plate but then hit .283 with seven XBH and eight stolen bases this past month, giving him 15 steals for the season. Dean can be a little streaky in terms of contact, but it is almost impossible to get him out when he’s hot. The kid already has two four-hit performances at the plate in 2021, though on the other end of the spectrum, he also has eight games in which he’s struck out three or more times.
24. William Woods, RHP â‡”
A — Augusta?
So I have no idea what’s going on with Woods and why he hasn’t pitched this season. According to MiLB.com, he is an active player with Augusta, but it’s almost as if the site hasn’t updated his status since Woods was invited to the Braves’ spring camp back in February. Not much to talk about until he actually plays baseball this year, but if you know something I don’tâ€¦ please share!
23. Joey Estes, RHP â†‘
A — Augusta
For a teenager drafted in the 17th round, there should be plenty of margin for error for a guy like Estes, but he hasn’t needed it so far. The righty came out guns blazing with Augusta to start the season and posted a 1.59 ERA for the month of May. And though he wasn’t as stingy in June, Estes still managed to hold opposing batters to a .228 AVG while striking out 11.6 per nine. I’d say he’s developing just fine in the Braves system.
22. Greyson Jenista, OF â‡”
AA — Mississippi
You don’t really appreciate his size until you see him live in person, but Jenista is a big dude at 6-4, 240. And with that body also comes some concerns about his swings and misses this season as the 24-year-old enters the weekend with a 40% K rate at the plate. Jenista’s May and June are really similar, though both months have featured pretty middling results. He’s making strides with getting on base more recently, but hopefully, Jenista can start making more contact as well.
21. Vaughn Grissom, SS â†‘
A — Augusta (7-day IL)
If not for an injury, Grissom was probably headed to High-A Rome any day as he hit .271 with nine XBH in his first 38 games this season. Even though he only played in two games in the month of June before heading to the injured list, I’m still giving Grissom the “up” symbol for what the 20-year-old has managed to accomplish so far during his first taste of full-season ball. With a Braves system very thin when it comes to that side of the infield, Grissom is a much-needed prospect to have.
Braves News and Lineup
Trade Deadline…Who Goes?
Many discussions are happening all over the Braves Blogosphere about trading, but many are having trouble pinpointing who’d leave from the active roster should the Braves make a move or 3. This should be that difficult. Let’s start with some common sense.
- Kevan Smith is gone as soon as Alex Jackson is deemed healthy, then Alex Jackson is gone as soon as Travis d’Arnaud is deemed healthy. However, both d’Arnaud and Jackson are on the 60-day IL, so there’ll have to be room made (see next move @2). However, I’m guessing that AJax could be dealt to a catching needy team. Shea Langeliers season in ATL? Crazier things have happened, but it wouldn’t take me by surprise if he was on this team in September.
- Marcel Ozuna to the 60-day is definitely a possibility. It’s already been 37 days and I’m guessing he doesn’t play baseball in 2021. This is a no-brainer. This opens 40-man spot.
- Jay Flaa, Ty Tice, Tanner Roark, Grant Dayton, Johan Camargo, Yoan Lopez, Edgar Santana, Josh Tomlin…let’s face it, folks (and especially AA), there’s a lot of this 40-man that is hot garbage and isn’t needed. Would anyone be upset about any of the above being DFA’d? I definitely wouldn’t.
- Finally…Ender Inciarte. He’s not needed. He hasn’t been needed since 2019. Eat the damn money.
Breakdown: Overall, subtracting Kevan, Santana, Tomlin, Ozuna and Ender would create 4 active roster spots and 5 40-man spots. Huascar Ynoa, Touki Toussaint, Alex Jackson, Travis d’Arnaud, and Tucker Davidson are on 60-day IL so even with making the above subtractions, it still doesn’t clear spot for any additions. In short, if Braves want to add several players, the subtractions will have to come from the 40-man first.
Dansby Swanson has been moved down and Sword Boy up. I’m sure that’ll trick them!