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!
I think if dâ€™Arnaud has a set back, you call up Langeliers. Our catchers in Gwinning are awful.
When Guillermo Heredia (he’s been fine…) is your # 5 hitter you’re really going places…
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@2 Not that I disagree but it is high time Dansby was moved down in the lineup. If Arcia can show anything, I predict another lineup swap soon. Arcia is not impressing yet.
â€œGwinningâ€ is what the Braves did with Heredia.
Thanks Clint. Though I do have one quibble with this sentence “One of the few M-Braves hitters to struggle so far this season.” I realize they play in a pitcher’s park, but other than a few players like Langeliers, Lugbauer, Rijo, and to a lesser extent Dean the numbers are pretty ugly.
Forgive the typo….I’m a little excited.
From last thread, thanks Remy! We are battening down the hatches, so to speak.
What did Pablo do? I guess this is it for him.
The restricted list can be used for a player who is planning to retire but could return to baseball. Hopefully this means he will be retained as a bench coach – something several of us have been calling for.
Hopefully the personal matter is his decision to retire.
Excuse me, but “inability to hit a baseball” is not a personal matter, nor is it likely to be corrected in three days.
But our already short bench gets shorter To bring Jacob Webb backâ€¦ Not that he canâ€™t hit any worse than panda
Given this situation, who is the next pitcher that can pinch hit after Fried? As I said, Snitker can’t stand Camargo or he would be called back up.
They have used Smyly before IIRC.
I believe that Contreras would be sent down and kevan released and both Ajax and TDA would be the usual suspects, but that is just my humble opinion.
Thanks for the quality content, Clint!
Dansby is in his 2nd year of being arb-eligible and is making 6 million this season. So he would likely get what, 9-10 million next season? Methinks thereâ€™s a good chance he gets non-tendered, and Arcia becomes the shortstop if he performs reasonably well this season.
The bench is already ridiculously thin……I don’t get calling up yet another pitcher for Pablo.
@18 Have wondered the same, though I think Dansby definitely has some trade value.
Really can’t see Dansby being non-tendered. They really have no one to replace him. I’m not sold on Arcia being any better. Good offensive shortstops are hard to find,
They non-tendered Duvall for less. Dansby isnâ€™t actually a good offensive shortstop. If Arcia doesnâ€™t hit, it wouldnâ€™t surprise me if they went outside the organization for a replacement.
Dansby has a 88 wRC+ right now. For his career, he has a 86 wRC+. Even if you said his ceiling was 90-92, that would be middle of the road amongst this year’s shortstops. He can simultaneously be a bad offensive shortstop AND the best we have, however.
@18, 20 – I’d be surprised. Dansby even this year has hit better than Arcia’s career averages, so Arcia would have to be much better, and even then his sample size of being better probably would be smaller than Dansby’s 2020. To get rid of Dansby, they’d have to have a whole lot of confidence that Arcia is for real, because what’s the backup plan? Adrianza? Shewmake? Albies and find a 2B? Or put another way, if they get rid of Dansby (absent a trade that brings back someone useful), that’s a worrying sign that money is really tight.
They are likely to have to acquire multiple everyday players from outside this offseason. LF (unless AA acquires a guy under a multi year contract through trade this month), C (unless they give the job to Contreras and/or Langeliers) and possibly SS and 1b.
The good news is they should have some money to spend. The Braves are first in attendance and are making money in the property outside the stadium (I canâ€™t remember the name of the mall).
Just remembered â€” the battery.
Anderson may not last 5 innings at this rate.
2 singles through 4 frames. Thatâ€™s not going to work.
Austin Riley is Jekyll and Hyde, and right now heâ€™s the bad one.
Looks like AA is waiting till we get too far behind and start selling cause I can’t believe he can watch this offense and not know we need a OF bat and a reliever to even have a chance .. this guy pitching for Pitt has a 5.5 ERA … whew
Arcia might have something to offer after all.
Arcia: Ilencing his Ritics.
@28 He can’t buy if no one is selling yet. Most major trades don’t happen until after the break.
The Braves are making some mediocre pitchers look like deGroms.
Chip: “As I said, you can ignore the record [on Kuhl] because he’s pitched very well at home.”
Unless you’re looking at his record at home, in which case apparently you shouldn’t ignore it.
fwiw, I wasn’t saying that Dansby IS a good offensive shortstop. I meant that it’s not easy to find one even if he is released. Shewmake “might” be ready in a couple of years. Dansby is the least of this teams problems.
We didn’t need to pull Anderson as early as we did, and yet we did. That’s one more inning our bullpen has to deal with in a game that looks very much like it could be going extra innings. In a vacuum, it’s not the worst decision. We just keep on heaping as many duties on our crappy bullpen as possible, though.
Itâ€™s more about how much he is going to cost. He is going to start getting expensive next season and they may be better off acquiring an upgrade if possible. I think they will have more money to spend than last season so they may in fact keep Dansby another year, but keep in mind they did non-tender Duvall this past offseason.
The second half will be big for Dansby. In the first half of 2019, before he got injured, he had a .822 OPS in 380 PAs (.569 in 165 PAs before his injury). Then he had a .809 OPS in 264 PAs last year. If he goes on even the slightest hot streak this year, ends the year with a .750 OPS, 25 HRs, and plays good defense, they’ll probably bring him back at $9M per.
@34 they scored more runs against Degrom in one inning than they have against the pirates in 17 innings.
Theyâ€™re the receiver who makes the ridiculous one-handed catch in double coverage down the sideline but then opens the next possession by dropping two screen passes.
Minter needs to try to force a trade to Pittsburgh in the offseason. He was sure he’d given up a home run and yet the ball was caught at the edge of the warning track…really nowhere near a home run. This ballpark seems to agree with him.
UPDATE: He also just allowed like a 600-foot fly ball down the line that somehow went foul. I’m telling you, this is AJ’s park!
@37, I feel your pain about the bullpen, but the flip side is asking Snitker to let Anderson start the 6th (halfway through the third time through the order) after 8 baserunners in 5 innings, 2 wild pitches, 91 pitches total, and laboring through the 5th. As often as it seems like our starters have imploded in the 6th after looking good through 5, I would’ve had no confidence in a shaky Anderson starting the 6th, even less than I would’ve had in the bullpen.
There is a HUGE difference between a starting shortstop and a backup outfielder. They let Duvall go because of the Covid related revenue deficit last year (payroll gutted). If it was easy to go out and get a good starting shortstop the Reds would have one now. Dansby won’t be as easy to replace as some think. I will laugh if he gets a contract extension.
This relief Corp is such trash. Get two strikes on hitters snd then get cute and screw it up and walk storm or give up a hit. Now you give up a Texas leaguer and they have a chance to take the lead. You make your own luck and this staff canâ€™t get out of its own way
Classic Minter. Walk a dude that is 0-19. What a waste of an arm
That was about the Minter-est inning ever.
I’m surprised he got out of that but can this weak offense score? Even the top 3 aren’t doing anything.
Dansby is the least if our problems …he is a good SS and adequate hitter for a SS … what we need is a OF and a 3B and a C …and 2 relievers who can fire it ….
Dansby’s most likely going to end up with 20+ homers, and get his average back up in the .240’s. I’m not under any illusion any more that he’s ever going to be better than that, but he’s perfectly fine in the 7 or 8 hole. You can’t lose Ozuna and d’Arnaud and not suffer greatly.
Weâ€™ve got another nailbiter on our hands. Ride the wave, kiddoz!
Another hitter with 2 strikes let off the hook. Our pitchers need to grow a pair and throw challenge hitters. If you donâ€™t trust your stuff you shouldnâ€™t be in mlb.
Lol the shift. Snitker should be fired for this crap. Our pitchers have no command, therefore they canâ€™t be trusted to pitch to the shift like every other team can
@50 well said
@51 this probably wonâ€™t last long
It seems like the relievers are trying to lose games. Another two strike nibble fest leads to a walk. Kranitz, Snitker, AAâ€¦somebody needs to go.
Semi surprised Snit isnâ€™t going to shift here
Well, can we be sellers now?
Good thing Matzek pitched yesterday in a 11-1 blowout, btw.
Not like we were scoring in the 10th, so whatever.
And while I am in a ranting mood, let me just say that I don’t care what the advanced metrics say, Freeman is having a hell of a disappointing season.
If Matzek had not been used yesterday he might have been a little fresher tonight. What a joke.
What an utter joke that was!
Oof. Thatâ€™s a long walk to the dugout for Matzek. Heâ€™s not sleeping tonightâ€¦
Sickening game all around
Sure glad Matzek was used yesterday to ensure he wasnâ€™t fresh tonight.
Nevertheless, 3 runs in one inning off deGrom and two in 18 innings against the Pirates. This is why the Braves will not get above. 500 this season.
Firing somebody has to be on the table, right? Pitching Matzek in an 11-1 game yesterday should be enough. This was the time to make a move and we got a lucky win Sunday and two loses to an awful team. This is honestly more miserable than the rebuild since there were no expectations then. No backup plan and just try harder is ridiculous.
They fired Fredi in Pittsburgh five years ago.
This team is pathetic. Exceeding five hundred is a dream. Right now they are a nightmare.
@62 well there ya go. I like the similarities
Fire Snit, fire Kranitz, fire Tomlin, promote people …….anybody.