Checking in on the Braves prospects for August: Nos. 30-21

Sunday, September 5, 2021

-Clint Manry

Many minor league teams have now crossed the 100-game threshold as the 2021 regular season is inching closer to its conclusion. As I have throughout the campaign here, now into September, I’ll look at how the Braves top 30 prospects performed during the recently-completed month. Be sure to also check out the site’s most-recent Braves Top 30 Prospect List, updated in early August.

As usual, let’s start with nos. 30-21…

*all stats listed are only from the month of August

30. Jefrey Ramos (OF) ↓

AA – Mississippi

14 G, .191 AVG, 3 XBH, 39 wRC+

Boy has it been a rough year for Ramos, who recently was placed on the injured list for the second time this season. At the plate, the 22-year-old outfielder has not only struggled with a massive increase in strikeouts, but his power has also suffered as Ramos only has 14 XBH in 54 total games this season. It really is unfortunate, because this time two years ago it looked like he could become a top-tier outfielder in the Braves system. Now… I’m not so sure Ramos is still consider a prospect at all.

29. Brandol Mezquita (OF) ↑

A – Augusta

12 G, .282 AVG, HR, 102 wRC+

He’s new to our Top 30, but Mezquita has been around for a while — signing with the Braves as an international free agent in 2017. So far, the 20-year-old has played well with the FCL team, leading the rookie level Braves on offense and hitting .328 overall in 2021. Mezquita’s month of August wasn’t as impressive as the rest of his work this year, but there’s no doubt he’s headed for full-season ball soon. Chalk it up as yet another talented outfielder in the Braves system.

28. Cody Milligan (2B) ↓

A+ — Rome

20 G, .153 AVG, 2 XBH, 34 wRC+

I may have jinxed Milligan, who’s not only new to our Top 30 but is also a player not many in Braves Country look at as a prospect. As you can see, the 22-year-old had a pretty bad month of August, pushing his season numbers on down to a .245 AVG and 81 wRC+. Maybe July was just a fluke, but it doesn’t help that Milligan posted a .224 BABIP last month. Hopefully he can finish the 2021 campaign on a much better note.

27. Drew Lugbauer (1B/DH) ↓

AA – Mississippi

16 G, .136 AVG, XBH, 55 wRC+

Lugbauer finally cooled off, following a July in which he finished with a 148 wRC+ thanks to 14 XBH (six homers) in 24 games. It has had to be hard, though, for the M-Braves haven’t been able to play a full slate recently due to weather and an apparent COVID-19 scare. To me it looks like Lugbauer just hasn’t had a chance to get going at the plate. Sure, his K rate rose to over 40% for the month of August, but like Milligan above, the first baseman’s BABIP was only .154, nearly .200 points below his 2021 average. I’m not worried yet.

26. Tanner Gordon (RHP) ↑

A+ — Rome

4 starts, 2.52 ERA, 10.8 K/9

Gordon has been both up and down this season, starting off the year with a 3.26 ERA in May, only to post a 4.91 and 4.26 in June and July, respectively. However, his current stint in High-A Rome appears to be going much better than the previous one. Gordon’s three starts with the R-Braves so far have each featured six innings and three earned-runs or less. I’m a big Gordon fan, and he seems to be developing nicely this season. A strong finish to 2021 and we could be seeing his name a lot more next year.

25. Greyson Jenista (1B/OF) ↓

AA – Mississippi

16 G, .196 AVG, HR, 70 wRC+

I write this blurb on a Friday, just a day after Jenista pulled off the hat trick and homered three times for the M-Braves, as part of a win that featured seven long balls by the Mississippi offense. The 24-year-old maybe should’ve saved some hits for the remainder of the season, because in 2021, production at the plate has been hard to come by for Jenista as he currently sports a .211 AVG in 79 total games so far. The ability is what still gives me hope with this kid, and I’m not giving up on him yet. But the strikeouts are really beginning to damage his stock.

24. William Woods (RHP) ↓

A+ — Rome

2 starts, 6.75 ERA, 10.1 K/9

Woods has had a late start to the 2021 season, appearing for the first time on August 19 with the FCL Braves. But now the 22-year-old seems ready to roll, having made two starts for Rome at the time of this writing. It’s still early, and it appears Woods is still in the process of being stretched out, but so far the righty has struggled mightily with walks. If you recall, he has primarily been used as a reliver as a pro, but this season it appears the Braves have transitioned him into a starter role. We’ll see how Woods progresses as he begins going deeper into outings.

23. Darius Vines (RHP) ↑

A+ — Rome

4 starts, 3.65 ERA, 8.4 K/9

Vines has really developed into a complete pitcher, progressing from the Single-A level to now High-A Rome. The righty suffered a bit of a setback in the K rate department this past month, but in terms of run-prevention he’s still sporting a 3.09 ERA in 96 total innings in 2021. Even better, at the time of this writing, the former seventh-round pick has allowed only a combined six runs over his last 19 innings (2.84 ERA), to go with a stingy .638 OPS. He doesn’t get much attention, but the 23-year-old Vines is a sneaky riser within the Braves system.

22. Cal Conley (SS) ↑

A – Augusta

19 G, .234 AVG, 2 HR, 84 wRC+

His numbers don’t jump off the page, but I’ve really been impressed with Conley so far. Taken in the fourth-round of the 2021 MLB Draft by the Braves, the 22-year-old Conley has held his own in Single-A in the 21 games he’s played, posting a .679 OPS so far, which features a .327 OBP. As a shortstop, the bat was never really a carrying tool for Conley (hence the 30-grade), but an 80ish wRC+ is respectable enough. We’ll see how he finishes 2021, but right now I like what I see.

21. Daysbel Hernández (RHP) ↑

AA – Mississippi

6 G, 5.2 IP, 0 ER, 14.3 K/9

Hernández hasn’t pitched since August 22, and it’s a real shame because he was absolutely dominant last month. The righty didn’t allow a single run in any of his six appearances for the M-Braves in August as he continues to mow down Double-A batters. The only concern regarding Hernández (other than a possible injury) is just how much is game declined once in Triple-A. If you recall, the 24-year-old’s stint with Gwinnett this season didn’t last long as he was crushed to the tune of five earned runs in 4.2 innings with the Stripers. His setback did impact his stock and his place on our Top 30, but I still believe in Hernández.

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