Checking in on the Braves prospects for August: Nos. 20-11

Sunday, September 12, 2021

-Clint Manry

We’re back a little late with the second installment of our monthly check-in series, but today we’ll look at how several Braves prospects performed during the month of August. This column will cover nos. 20-11. Let’s get started…

For the last installment (covering nos. 30-21) click here.

*stats below are from only the month of August

20. Trey Harris (OF) ↓

AA — Mississippi

17 G, .209 AVG, 3 XBH, 56 wRC+

Harris has regressed a bit during the second-half of the 2021 season, and even further back, where he’s sported a .233 AVG since July 1. In that span, consisting of 40 games, the outfielder only has 12 XBH (six HR) to go with a .384 SLG%. Harris has never really been a power-hitter, but if he isn’t going to maintain his usual .280-.300 AVG, he’ll need to offer something to help him stand out. This year hasn’t been his best as a full season of Double-A has resulted in some struggles. However, I still believe Harris will finish with decent numbers.

19. Indigo Diaz (RHP) ↑

AA – Mississippi

5.1 IP, 2 H, 0.00 ERA, 3 BB, 11 K

Diaz just continues to dominate every level he pitches at, working 5.1 scoreless frames last month with the M-Braves, while striking out 50% of the batters he faced (or 18.56 K/9!!). The soon-to-be 23-year-old has come out of nowhere in 2021, but I think plenty are now aware of his incredible stuff on the mound. This is a future big league closer if I’ve ever seen one.

18. Victor Vodnik (RHP) ↓

AA – Mississippi (7-day IL)

3 starts, 10.1 IP, 8 H, 6.10, ERA, 7 BB, 13 K

Vodnik, currently on the injured list (for the second time this season), has really had a rough go since July, posting a 7.45 ERA in 19.1 innings since July 9. The transition to becoming a starting pitcher can be difficult, and it doesn’t help that he keeps missing time. But at some point, hopefully the 21-year-old will be able to consistently stay on the mound. Vodnik has always been sort of an underdog as a small-sized, hard-throwing righty with poor command. However, I’m still keeping the faith. There hasn’t been any news (that I can find) regarding Vodnik’s injury. But at this point I think it’s doubtful he pitches again in 2021.

17. Spencer Schwellenbach (RHP) ↔

Not active

As we know, Schwellenbach had to undergo Tommy John surgery not long after he was selected by the Braves in the 2021 MLB Draft, so the former second-round pick will be on the shelf until at least mid-2022.

16. Jasseel De La Cruz (RHP) ↓

AAA – Gwinnett

3 starts, 7.1 IP, 14 H, 11.05 ERA, 5 BB, 3 K

So back on August 14 I was examining that day’s minor league box scores and noticed that De La Cruz had exited his start for Gwinnett in the first inning after just 19 pitches. I assumed he was injured… and I’m still assuming that – even though it’s not noted on Baseball Reference — given he hasn’t been back on the mound since. The 2021 campaign has been somewhat of a wake-up call for those of us who’ve always been high on De La Cruz as the righty has struggled mightily at the Triple-A level, posting a 6.59 ERA in 54.2 total innings this season. Who knows when he’ll return (and he’s still listed on the Braves’ 40-man), but perhaps it’s finally time to start looking at De La Cruz for what he truly is… a multi-inning reliever.

15. Joey Estes (RHP) ↑

A – Augusta

5 starts, 30.2 IP, 17 H, 2.64 ERA, 9 BB, 41 K

The 19-year-old Estes just continues to dominate the competition as he’s now down to a 2.91 ERA / 3.30 FIP and 11.5 strikeouts per nine in 99 innings overall this season. He’s ready for the High-A level, but the challenge may not come until 2022. Either way, it was another successful month for Estes.

14. Ryan Cusick (RHP) ↑

A – Augusta

3 starts, 8 IP, 6 H, 1.13 ERA, 3 BB, 15 K

Nah, that’s not a typo, Cusick really did strike out 15 batters in just eight innings last month, which works out to 16.8 K/9 (or a 45.5 K%). Punch outs are exactly what this kid is known for as he came into the draft with a 70-grade fastball and 60-grade breaking ball – two offerings that’ve already allowed him to dominate his first pro assignment with the Braves. The above average command has been a bit of a surprise for Cusick, though. Hopefully the former top pick can keep it up.

13. Vaughn Grissom (3B) ↑

A+ — Rome

24 G, .312 AVG, 7 XBH, 5 SB, 123 wRC+

The stats from last month all still feature Grissom with the GreenJackets, but as of September 2 the prospect played his first game with Rome. In his final stretch at the Single-A level in August, the 20-year-old was as hot as ever at the plate as ten of those 24 contests consisted multi-hit performances for Grissom. This kid has improved his stick tremendously during the second-half of 2021, displaying some newfound power and even more contact with his new team. I can’t wait to see his end-of-season numbers.

12. Braden Shewmake (SS) ↔

AA – Mississippi

16 G, .246 AVG, 5 XBH, 85 wRC+

August wasn’t Shewmake’s best month, but it certainly wasn’t anything like the first two months of his 2021 season (which was… like… historically BAD). However, the M-Braves shortstop really needs a late-season hot streak to get his numbers in the right place. The 23-year-old is still at an 81 wRC+ overall this year, and his .225 AVG for the season also isn’t ideal. It was always going to be a challenge to crawl out of that massive hole he put himself in earlier in the season, though I was really hoping Shewmake could do it.

11. Jared Shuster (LHP) ↑

AA – Mississippi

5 starts, 22.2 IP, 22 H, 4.37 ERA, 5 BB, 28 K

Because of my lack of time lately, I failed to report on Shuster’s early September promotion to Double-A Mississippi, where he’s already made a pair of starts. However, the lefty’s month of August featured five outings with Rome, where Shuster continued to rack up the strikeouts, averaging 11.2 K/9 (or a K rate of 29.2%). Like the other three pitchers part of that 2020 draft, Shuster has mostly flourished in his first full season of pro ball, and his command has appeared much better than originally expected by most evaluators.

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.

Checking in on the Braves prospects for July: The top 10

Because I’m just chomping at the bit to update my Braves Top 30 prospect list, I’m going to go ahead and wrap up this month’s check-in series. Over the last few days I’ve covered nos. 30-11, so now it’s time to examine how the organization’s top 10 prospects performed during the month of July. But just know… this list may be very different in the coming days as I put out my updated rankings.

*All stats mentioned below cover only games played in July

10. Bryce Elder, RHP  ↑

AA – Mississippi

Elder’s start on Tuesday was his fifth­-straight outing in which he lasted exactly seven innings, which is pretty damn impressive if nothing else because of how hard it has to be to hit that same mark that many times in a row. Obviously having made it so far into his starts means the kid is pitching well. Elder posted a solid 2.73 ERA for the month of July, his first full month at the Double-A level. He did have one rough outing in which he allowed five runs during that seven-inning streak, BUT overall, there’s absolutely nothing to critique here. The 22-year-old is progressing nicely and should definitely be a prospect to watch during the 2022 season, when he’s most likely facing Triple-A batters.

9. Jasseel De La Cruz, RHP  ↓

AAA – Gwinnett

While Elder has mostly dominated in Double-A, Cruz has mostly struggled in Triple-A. The 24-year-old Cruz just had a start on Tuesday, and like many of his outings this season, he didn’t pitch very well. He ended July with one of his worst performances of the year when he allowed five runs in five innings, a start I saw in-person in Memphis. I of course didn’t get to watch all of Cruz’s starts last month, however, in that July 28 game against the Redbirds, the righty spent way too much time inside the strike zone (plus the heat index was nearly 110 degrees at first pitch). Regardless, I’ve been disappointed with Cruz in 2021. The more he pitches, the more I’m beginning to believe he’ll have to move to the bullpen. There just hasn’t been enough there to 1) generate enough swing and miss… and… 2) consistently allow him to go deep into his outings.

8. Braden Shewmake, SS  ↑

AA – Mississippi

What a month it was for Shewmake, who has done a complete 180-degree turnaround lately. The star shortstop finished July with a .357 AVG and 1.022 OPS to go with eight XBH (four HR) in 14 games – by far his best month of the 2021 season. In fact, of the 14 games Shewmake played in, he finished with at least one hit in all but two of them (that’s a good way to dig yourself out of an early-season slump). It looks like the former first-round pick dramatically simplified his approach at the plate, which has allowed him to really improve his quality of contact altogether. And all of this improvement really started in late-June, not too long before I watched him live during the M-Braves series versus Tennessee (June 22-26). In the final few games of that series, Shewmake was seemingly squaring up everything, and evidently, he never slowed down even on into July. Hopefully he can keep it up, because this time next season he needs to be showing that advanced bat against Triple-A pitchers.

7. Kyle Muller, LHP  ↑

MLB – Atlanta

Muller spent all of July with the big league team so that right there should tell you he at least had a decent month. Although, the lefty had more than just a decent month. In four starts with the Braves, Muller compiled a 2.29 ERA to go with 20 strikeouts in 19.2 innings. And it appears he’s only getting better the more he pitches, shown by the combined 0.90 ERA in his last two outings, both of which came versus contending teams (Mets and Brewers). I have to say, as good as Muller has been as a prospect in Atlanta’s system, I didn’t see this coming from him. I’ll gladly take it, though!

6. Michael Harris II, OF  ↔

A+ — Rome

July was Harris’ worst month this season, but his bad isn’t really all that bad to be honest. The kid still owns a 109 wRC+ overall in 2021, and sure we know he’s capable of even better production with the bat, but a .250 AVG during a 23-game stretch is nothing to worry about. In fact, Harris actually tallied more walks than he has in any other month so far this year, and he still ranks within the top 10 in the East League in both doubles and triples. Also, his 27.4% line-drive rate is the fifth-highest rate in the league, another indication that he’s doing just fine.

5. Shea Langeliers, C  ↑

AA – Mississippi

Langeliers peaked in June with nine home runs, but his performance didn’t drop very much in July. In a span of 22 games, the former top pick by the Braves hit .247 with seven XBH (four HR) and ended the month with six multi-hit finishes. By now, I think it’s evident that Langeliers is the real deal as a hitter. But what’s been even more impressive is just how incredible he is behind the plate as well. The 23-year-old has thrown out 45% of would-be base stealers this season, and it wasn’t too long ago that that rate was upwards of 50%. I tell ya, this kid has it all and there’s no doubt that he has a great shot at becoming the Braves future homegrown starting catcher.

4. Tucker Davidson, LHP  ↔

MLB – Atlanta (60-day IL)

Davidson has been on the shelf since mid-June and was transferred to the 60-day IL on June 24 (forearm). This has to be super frustrating for him given how well he was pitching in the majors this season. Davidson had tallied a 3.60 ERA in 20 innings for Atlanta in 2021, and just imagine if the Braves still had him in the rotation for the complete second-half of the regular season. Maybe he returns in a few weeks, but there hasn’t been much news regarding his ailment. The team definitely needs him.

3. William Contreras, C  ↑

AAA – Gwinnett

Ever since getting optioned to Triple-A back in early July, Contreras has gone absolutely nuts at the plate. The kid has played 20 games with the Stripers and already has eight homers, five doubles and 25 RBI, with all but one of those games coming last month. He’s slashing .351/.400/.743 and has shown no signs of slowing down. Travis d’Arnaud is back in the mix and in the process of rehabbing so we certainly look forward to him being back in the lineup. But damn, Contreras sure looks like a viable backup.

2. Drew Waters, OF  ↑

AAA – Gwinnett

Waters had his best month yet in July, slashing .301/.351/.573 with 17 XBH (five HR) in 24 games with the Stripers. His 11 doubles in that span were more than he managed to hit in both May and June combined. Waters’ impressive performance, coupled with the Braves outfield issues prior to the deadline, made many feel that he should’ve gotten a big league call-up. However, it’s important to understand that the 22-year-old is still striking out at a 30% clip, and though his walk-rate has increased dramatically this year, his overall plate discipline isn’t quite there yet. Still, with a 108 wRC+ at the Triple-A level in 2021, it’s definitely accurate to say Waters is getting better. I think FanGraphs’ ETA of 2022 is still very accurate.

1.. Cristian Pache, OF  ↓

AAA – Gwinnett

Man 2021 has been a disaster for Pache, who currently owns a 41 wRC+ combined in 70 games between the majors and Triple-A Gwinnett. And it’s not just that… the star prospect has struck out in roughly 33% of his PA at both levels, which is by far his worst K rate as a pro hitter. Pache spent all of last month with the Stripers, and though his numbers weren’t ideal, they also weren’t horrible. In 26 games he hit .232 with six XBH to go with a 29.9% K rate. Maybe he figures it out again. Hopefully he does. But it’s most likely going to have to happen in the minor leagues this year. Maybe a fresh start in 2022 is what Pache needs.

Checking in on the Braves prospects for July: 20-11

Wednesday, August 4, 2021

-Clint Manry

Today we’re going to keep the series rolling with the second installment. On Monday I looked at the back-ten of my Braves Top 30, so now it’s time for the middle-ten – nos. 20-11. This is probably my favorite group of prospects given it features several of the more-recently drafted pitchers as well as some really exciting hitters. Let’s get started…

*All stats mentioned below cover only games played in July

20. Ricky DeVito, RHP

*dealt to Pirates in Richard Rodriguez trade

Like Kasey Kalich in the previous installment, DeVito was more of a mid-tier prospect pitcher that the Braves cashed in on for big league help at the MLB trade deadline last Friday. The 22-year-old DeVito (along with righty Bryse Wilson) was sent to the Pirates in exchange for righty reliever Richard Rodriguez, who will likely become Atlanta’s regular set-up guy for remainder of the season. I always liked DeVito and was probably a bit higher on him than most, but his numbers were pretty damn impressive this season, even though he rarely reached even 70 pitches in each of his five starts with High-A Rome. The Braves definitely lost a solid prospect arm… but the trade was necessary for the team’s stretch run.

19. Jesse Franklin V, OF  ↑

A+ — Rome

Franklin made amazing strides in the month of June, drastically slashing his K rate to go with a .338 AVG, 1.169 OPS and eight home runs in 22 games. It was going to be difficult to top that, but the 22-year-old at least kept the power stroke going on into July as he slugged another 11 homers this past month and posted a .968 OPS, despite creeping back up to a 31.6% K rate. As of Monday, Franklin ranks second in the league in total home runs this season with 19, and he has basically flipped the early-season narrative that he’s incapable versus left-handed pitchers. The swing-and-miss is a bit of an issue, but right now it appears Franklin has plenty of pop to make his whiffs worth it.

18. Spencer Strider, RHP  ↓

AA – Mississippi

So this is how I ended my excerpt on Strider last month, talking about his performance from June: Sure, the numbers are bound to regress some now that he’s actually pitching at a more competitive level, but I still expect Strider to keep most of this up”. I was correct about half of that statement as the Double-A competition has in fact caused Strider to regress, but unfortunately, he hasn’t gotten over the hump as of yet. The 22-year-old’s last two outings were especially rough, featuring nine runs (two homers) from nine hits over 8.2 innings and an opponent OPS of .940. This was a dangerous man in High-A, but Double-A has been a very different animal for Strider. Hopefully he finds his way soon.

17. CJ Alexander, 3B  ↓

AA – Mississippi

Alexander just snapped a nine-game hitless streak this past Sunday, which featured a dreadful stretch that saw him go 0 for 28 at the plate. The rest of the month of July wasn’t much better either as he only managed a .441 OPS in those 20 games, thanks to a K rate over 33%. Overall it’s just been a rough season for Alexander, and now at 25-years-old, his time is running out as a prospect in the Braves system. That 52-game stretch from 2018 seems like forever ago, when he managed to hit .352 across both the rookie level and High-A. I’m afraid this is no longer a top-20 prospect. Hell, it may be time to move Alexander outside the top-30 altogether.

16. Freddy Tarnok, RHP  ↑

AA — Mississippi

Tarnok got a late start to the 2021 season, making his first appearance on the mound in early June. The righty began the year with Rome, where he compiled a 4.76 ERA in 28.1 innings and struck out 48 batters. But by the middle of last month the Braves felt he was ready for more of a challenge and ever since he’s been dominating the Double-A ranks, where he’s already punched out 21 in just 10.1 frames, spanning two outings so far. Tarnok’s most-recent start featured a dozen strikeouts in five innings as it appears he’s at his best as a pro pitcher. I can’t wait to see what this kid develops into.

15. Daysbel Hernandez, RHP  ↑

AA – Mississippi

He’s baaaack… After struggling mightily last month, allowing seven runs from nine hits in seven innings of work with the M-Braves, in July Hernandez reverted back to his dominant ways as he struck out 17 batters in 11 innings, ending the month with a solid 1.64 ERA. I’m a HUGE fan of this kid and was even ready to rank him as a prospect when he was mowing down opposing batters in the Florida State League (High-A) back in 2019. Part of me wishes the Braves didn’t give Hernandez a Triple-A assignment to start the season (where he seemed very uncomfortable) because now his second stint there could come with some added pressure to deliver. We’ll probably find out soon enough.

14. Bryce Ball, 1B/DH

*dealt to the Cubs in the Joc Pederson trade

Even though he never really had much of a path to Atlanta (save for as a designated-hitter) Ball was such an exciting prospect in the Braves system. His size and power at the plate, plus the fact that he absolutely demolished everything in sight when he debuted as pro back in 2019, instantly made him a fan favorite. However, the Braves had to be realistic about Ball’s future in the organization, and given he had been struggling to hit High-A pitching this year, there really wasn’t a reason to hold onto the former 24th-round pick. Atlanta moved Ball to the Cubs in mid-July in exchange for outfielder Joc Pederson, who appears to have fit in nicely with the big league team. I’ll always wonder what could’ve been when it comes to Ball, but getting Pederson for the rest of this season and most likely the next (he has a $10-million mutual option for the 2022 campaign) just seems like a better route to take.

13. Victor Vodnik, RHP  ↓

AA – Mississippi

Around this time last month, Vodnik was on the injured list following what had been a very strong start to the 2021 season. Before he was hurt, the young righty had pitched to a 2.51 ERA in 14.1 innings spanning across most of May and it looked as if he was plenty capable of handling Double-A batters. Fast-forward to July 9 — his first appearance since coming off the IL — and Vodnik struggled to find his footing again. In a July 15 outing, the 21-year-old allowed four runs in just 0.2 innings of work, and over his last four appearances, Vodnik has posted an 18.41 ERA as opposing batters have hit .474 against him. He was out for a while with that aforementioned injury, so perhaps it’s just going to take him some time to get back to his early-season self.

12. Jared Shuster, LHP  ↑

A+ — Rome

The Braves are still being very careful with Shuster as he still has yet to total 70 pitches in a single start in 2021, with his season-high at 66 back on July 2. But you can’t knock the kid just because he’s operating on a short leash. In fact, Shuster turned in his best month of the year in July, posting a 2.70 ERA in 16.2 innings that spanned five starts for Rome. This was Atlanta’s top pick in 2020 so the expectations are certainly high. At 23-years-old, I still believe he’ll wind up in Mississippi before season’s end.

11. Trey Harris, OF  ↔

AA – Mississippi

Harris broke out with the power stroke in July, swatting a season-high five homers and four doubles in 23 games. He hasn’t quite performed like he did back in 2019 when he won Player of the Year, but the 25-year-old has been a solid Double-A hitter nonetheless. Unfortunately for Harris, he’s part of an ultra-deep group of prospect outfielders in the Braves system, so his path to the majors is still pretty questionable. Now into the first week of August, Harris is sporting an underwhelming 89 wRC+ overall this season, which if the campaign ended today, would be his first under-100 wRC+ season as a pro.

Checking in on the Braves prospects for July: 30-21

Monday, August 2, 2021

-Clint Manry

We’ve made it to August of the 2021 minor league season and all four of the Braves full-season farm clubs have now played nearly 80 games, or roughly 66% of the regular season schedule. The annual MLB trade deadline has passed, and though Atlanta did trade a few minor leaguers on deadline day, really only one could’ve been looked at as a top-30 prospect (right-hander Kasey Kalich, who went to the Royals in the Jorge Soler deal).

So save for the aforementioned Kalich trade (who was ranked no. 29 on my Summer Top 30), and of course the deal that involved first baseman Bryce Ball (no. 14) back on July 15 (netting outfielder Joc Pederson), essentially all of the Braves top-30 remains the same. An update to the top-30 is overdue, and hopefully I’ll have time to do so soon, but for now let’s see how each of the organization’s prospects performed this past month. As always, we’ll start with the back-10, covering nos. 30-21.

*All stats mentioned below cover only games played in July

30. Nolan Kingham, RHP  ↓

AAA – Gwinnett

After what he was able to at the Double-A level during the first two months of the 2021 season, it really is sad to see Kingham struggle like he has while with Gwinnett. I mean, this is the guy that posted a 2.29 ERA in 55 innings with the M-Braves, only to decline sharply once at the top-level of the minors, now sporting an 8.44 ERA in 21.1 frames with the Stripers. Kingham was always more of a fringy-top-30 prospect anyways; but I’ll admit, I was excited with his early-season results and thought that this could be his year.

29. Kasey Kalich, RHP

*dealt to Pirates in Richard Rodriguez trade

Kalich received a strong review in last month’s column, even though he was had beginning to look more like a reliever than a potential big league starter. However, the 23-year-old had a pretty unforgettable month of July in which he allowed seven runs in 7.2 innings (8.22 ERA), which makes the Rodriguez deal even more of a positive for the Braves. The fact that Atlanta was able to cash in on Kalich for a real big league bullpen reinforcement is pretty impressive, and even though he’s still just a prospect who could one day make the Braves regret this year’s deal, GM Alex Anthopoulos was probably wise to go ahead and move him.

28. Jefrey Ramos, OF  ↔

AA – Mississippi

Overall it’s been a disaster of a season for Ramos, but I must give credit where credit is due, and during the month of July, the 22-year-old outfielder made some noticeable strides at the plate. Sporting an unsightly 29% K rate, Ramos sports a .178 AVG in 2021, but last month he managed to hit .225 in 13 games, which sadly is his best monthly mark so far this year. It’s weird, the games I’ve actually watched Ramos in person he has been a beast at the plate, but any other time he has scuffled, and it’s evident that he’s not quite ready for Double-A level pitching.

27. Roddery Munoz, RHP  ↑

A – Augusta (7 day IL)

Munoz was another early-season sensation as he came on the scene to start 2021 throwing nearly 100 mph down in Single-A. However, in the pros it takes more than just heat to set down opposing batters on a consistent basis… and in June he struggled mightily, posting a 12.86 ERA in seven innings spanning two starts for the GreenJackets. Munoz’s July wasn’t great but it was an improvement. He made another two starts and managed to hold opposing batters to a .190 AVG, resulting in a respectable 4.76 ERA. The 21-year-old is currently on the injured list, which caused him to miss his turn in the rotation last week. It’s been an up-and-down season, but I’m still interested in Munoz.

26. Willie Carter, OF  ↔

A – Augusta

After hitting .329 in May and then .310 in June, Carter just wrapped up his worst month of the season in July, posting a middling .244 AVG in 25 games. However, in terms of power it was his best stretch as he finished with 7 XBH, including a pair of triples (a monthly high as well). In our last check-in column I asked why, at 24-years-old, Carter is still in Single-A, but given his recent decline and simply the shear amount of talented outfielders ahead of him on the organizational depth chart right now… I guess it makes a little more sense. Even so, Carter is still sporting an above-average 118 wRC+ with Augusta this season.

25. Justin Dean, OF  ↑

AA — Mississippi

Dean is averaging a little more than seven stolen bases a month so far this season and his 22 swipes overall leads the Double-A South league. This past month was much of the same on the base paths for the 24-year-old outfielder as he tallied seven steals, and it was the same story at the plate as well, where Dean posted a .731 OPS in 23 games, which compares very similarly to his .735 OPS from back in June. Perhaps his sensational speed causes us to overlook his bat a bit, but the truth is, Dean has done a nice job holding his own as pro hitter. He’s posted an above average wRC+ in each of his four seasons in the Braves system, including this year, in which he owns a 113 wRC+ in 70 games with the M-Braves. Dean does need to try and cut down the strikeouts, though.

24. William Woods, RHP  ↔

A — Augusta

So it appears nothing has changed regarding Woods, who has yet to play this season. According to MiLB.com he’s active and with Single-A Augusta, however, I haven’t been able to figure out why he’s still not pitching. And it’s pretty unfortunate considering how much excitement there was surrounding him leading up the 2021 campaign.

23. Joey Estes, RHP  ↑

A – Augusta

Given how young Estes is (19), the Braves simply aren’t interested in rushing him in the system, even though he has absolutely dominated the Single-A level, currently sporting a 2.58 ERA in 73.1 innings so far for Augusta. Estes leads Single-A’s East League in strikeouts (94) and that impressive ERA listed above ranks second. The month of July was another good one for the former 17th-round pick. Estes is definitely a prospect to keep an eye on for the next several seasons, but it’s probable he spends awhile mastering his craft in the lower-minors.

22. Greyson Jenista, 1B/OF  ↑

AA – Mississippi

July was easily Jenista’s best month so far in 2021 as he posted a .925 OPS and slugged six home runs in 23 games with the M-Braves. The 24-year-old hit decently at the Double-A level back in 2019, but this season his K rate has spiked drastically (37.9% as of Monday), which is really damaging his stock given he probably should be facing Triple-A pitchers by now. He’s still trying to climb out of the hole he dug himself in during the first two months, but recently Jenista has heated up at the plate and is actually looking like the player we all hoped the Braves were getting when the team drafted him in the second-round back in 2018. Hopefully he can keep it up because this kid has plenty of potential. With Bryce Ball now gone, Jenista could be a solid first base prospect. He’s certainly played there enough this year.

21. Vaughn Grissom, 3B/SS  ↑

A – Augusta

Grissom missed nearly half of July while he recovered from a minor injury, but now healthy he hasn’t missed a beat at the plate, posting a .429 AVG with seven XBH in 12 games last month. The 20-year-old is one of Augusta’s top hitters and has also been one of the leaders on defense, essentially splitting his time equally between shortstop and third base. Hell, Grissom has even played some second in 2021, which only adds to his stock as a talented defender. Like Estes above, Grissom is a young’un, so the Braves are in no rush to move him up the ladder, even though he has certainly performed well enough to earn a promotion.

Checking in on the Braves prospects for June: Top 10

Friday, July 9, 2021

-Clint Manry

It’s time to wrap this monthly series up, so today I’ll look at the top 10 prospects from my Summer Braves Top 30 and examine how each one performed during the month of June. Here are the links if you interested in getting caught up with the first two installments:

10. Bryce Elder, RHP ↑

AA — Mississippi

Elder’s stint so far in Double-A hasn’t been as dominant as say Spencer Strider’s (who struck out 11 on Tuesday), but following a rough first-start, the 22-year-old turned in a strong two-hitter back on Independence Day, striking out five in five innings. In fact, there really hasn’t been a whole lot of separation between Elder and Strider this season, which is a good thing considering both righties were drafted just last year. It’s so great to see these guys flourish right out of the gate, and I can’t wait to see where their numbers end up by season’s end. 

9. Jasseel De La Cruz, RHP ↓

AAA — Gwinnett

After trending as perhaps one of the next top prospect pitchers to come out of the Braves system, thanks to a 2019 campaign in which he posted a 3.25 ERA in 133 innings across Single-A, High-A and Double-A, JDLC has taken quite a step back in his first season at the Triple-A level. After a pretty decent month of May (3.65 ERA), Cruz has really struggled to get lefty-batters out and as a result his run-prevention took a massive hit in June (7.85 ERA). The 24-year-old has also been getting crushed with runners on base as seven of the 10 XBH Cruz has allowed this season have come when base runners were present. It’s all just a mess right now, and because of his ineffectiveness, Cruz hasn’t surpassed the fourth inning in a start since back on June 6, when he lasted 4.1 innings in an outing he allowed four runs in. I’ve always been a bit higher on Cruz as a potential big league starter, but he’ll have to turn this around before he receives any opportunities in the major league rotation. 

8. Braden Shewmake, SS ↑

AA — Mississippi

Just like we went on and on about how bad Shewmake was to start the 2021 season, all the buzz of late is about how great he’s been… and rightfully so. Shewmake has essentially done a complete 180 performance-wise.

First 22 games – 90 PA, .094 AVG, .309 OPS, 3 XBH, 5 BB, 25 K

*Last 23 games – 96 PA, .322 AVG, .931 OPS, 12 XBH, 6 BB, 16 K

*through Wednesday 

In practically the same amount of PA, Shewmake has raised his OPS by 622 points since the first week of June. That’s insane. I’m excited to see just how far he’ll go with this, because if he keeps it up he could be in line for a Triple-A assignment this season (which is crazy given just a month ago some of us were wondering if he needed to go to Rome and regroup). 

7. Kyle Muller, LHP ↑

AAA — Gwinnett

Muller began 2021 by allowing 13 runs in his first 15 ⅓ innings with Gwinnett, and I’ll admit… I was concerned. However, he quickly turned it around, and over his next three outings he allowed only three runs in a combined 16 innings, earning himself a call-up to the majors. That success transitioned beautifully with Atlanta, and following a relief appearance, Muller pitched well in three MLB starts, posting a 2.45 ERA as a starter, including 19 strikeouts in 14 ⅔ innings, thanks to a slider he used to generate a 47.8% whiff-rate. Unfortunately, the burly southpaw was optioned back to Gwinnett on Independence Day, so his stint in the majors is done for now. Muller is listed to start for the Stripers on Friday, and I expect him to continue his impressive run of strong pitching.

6. Michael Harris, OF ↑

A+ — Rome

As of Friday morning, Harris currently ranks within the top-five in just about every offensive category in High-A’s East League, including fourth in both AVG (.310) and hits (61). He’ll probably wind up in Double-A soon, but his performance so far has earned him not only a place among some of the hottest prospects in the system, but also a chance to play in Monday’s Futures Game at Coors Field (along with Drew Waters). This weekend is my first time seeing Harris play in-person, and I have to say, his athleticism is exactly as advertised. He’s looking like a lock to one day become an everyday contributor for the Braves. 

5. Shea Langeliers, C ↑

AA — Mississippi 

If I could give him two “up” symbols, or hell, three or four, I would. Langeliers has surpassed any kind of expectations we could’ve had following his first-round selection in the 2019 MLB Draft as he’s evolved into not only a beast at the plate but also a dangerous sniper behind it. Base runners can’t steal against Langeliers and pitchers can’t get him out. The Baylor product has thrown out 51% of would-be stealers, while sporting an .898 OPS with the bat, including a Double-A South leading 14 home runs. Go ahead and write it down… this IS the Braves next homegrown starting catcher. 

4. Tucker Davidson, LHP ↑

MLB — Atlanta (60-day IL)

I’m sure there were many in Braves Country that sort of lost some love for Davidson following his poor MLB debut versus Boston late last season, and even if that’s not necessarily the case, the lefty did a nice job to redeem himself during his four major league starts in 2021. In outings versus the Mets, Nationals and Phillies, Davidson pitched to a 1.53 ERA and struck out 14 in 17 ⅔ innings, allowing just one home run. However, in his final start, against the Red Sox on June 15, it was obvious something wasn’t right, and Tucker got roughed up to the tune of five earned runs in 2 ⅓ innings. A forearm injury during that Boston performance put him on the injured list, and in late June the Braves transferred him to the 60-day IL, meaning he’ll be out until at least mid-August. Regardless, a 0.90 ERA in 20 minor league innings, to go with a 3.60 ERA in 20 MLB frames, is enough to show that Davidson is trending in the right direction. 

3. William Contreras, C ⇔

AAA — Gwinnett

After spending over two months as the Braves primary starting catcher and playing in 44 big league games, Contreras was optioned to Gwinnett on July 7. On the one hand, it’s really difficult to critique too much of his play, given at just 23-years-old he was thrown into the fire after just 60 games of experience above the High-A level. However, on the other hand, Contreras struck out over 30% of the time with Atlanta, and though he slugged seven homers during that stint, he finished with just a .666 OPS in 158 PA. Contreras’ 36% caught-stealing rate as a major leaguer is strong, but he did make numerous mistakes in other aspects of his game on defense. We’ll see how he does in Triple-A, but right now I’m neither “up” or “down” on Contreras. 

2. Drew Waters, OF ↑

AAA — Gwinnett

Waters is still striking out roughly 30% of the time, but what’s critical is that he’s also walking at a higher clip than he ever has, at least in any of his full-seasons. So far in 2021, Waters started out hitting fairly well and even got hot for a short stretch, ending the month of May hitting .253 with seven XBH in 20 games. However, a badly-timed thumb injury in early June put him on the sidelines and zapped his momentum, and Waters scuffled once returning, going just 1 for 36 (.028 AVG) from June 20 to July 1 (10 games). But since then… the young outfielder has been on a tear. In his last seven games, Waters is hitting .357 with seven XBH, including a homer, a triple and a double during Thursday’s doubleheader. Waters will be with Michael Harris in Denver representing the Braves by playing in the Futures Game on Monday. 

1. Cristian Pache, OF ↓

AAA — Gwinnett

Although he has shown some signs of improvement over the last few days, this just hasn’t been Pache’s year so far. The 22-game stint in the majors didn’t go too well as he hit just .111 before going on the injured list with a hamstring injury, however, I felt like a stretch in Triple-A would actually benefit him. Since returning to play on June 1 with Gwinnett, Pache started hot by going 5 for 14 (.357 AVG) with three doubles at the plate during his first three games. But that was followed up with a .200 AVG for the rest of the month of June as Pache struck out at a 30% clip. So far July has been better, and during Thursday’s doubleheader Pache went 4 for 6 with a homer and three RBI — his first long ball since he hit two back on June 10. Hopefully he and Waters can get on a consistent run at the plate during the season’s final few months. 

Checking in on the Braves prospects for June: 20-11

Last Friday I looked at how the Braves nos. 30-21 prospects had performed during the month of June. Now it’s time to examine the middle group of ten, nos. 20-11. Let’s get right down to it…

20. Rickey DeVito, RHP ↑

A+ — Rome (7-day IL)

I really hadn’t noticed until recently but DeVito is actually on the injured list, which explains why he only pitched three innings for Rome last month. With such little attention paid towards minor league transactions, some of these players can fall through the cracks. Given his track record from two seasons ago and the fact he has had another strong year in 2021, I’m keeping the “up” symbol on him. DeVito sports a 2.66 ERA so far this season, to go with 12 strikeouts per nine in 20.1 innings.

19. Jesse Franklin V, OF ↑

A+ — Rome

The strides Franklin has made at the plate this past month were pretty incredible as he’s become one of the big bats in the Rome lineup. Just consider his May/June splits…

May – 79 PA, .200 AVG, .481 OPS, 4 XBH, 2.5 BB%

June – 85 PA, .338 AVG, 1.169 OPS, 14 XBH, 10.5 BB%

Any time you can raise your OPS by nearly 700 points, you’re bound to have great results. Franklin is still less of a threat when he doesn’t have the platoon advantage, as his season AVG versus southpaws still sits at .231. However, it appears in June he began adjusting his approach against lefties and started drawing more walks. Regardless, Franklin’s bat is better than we initially thought, and if he keeps this up he’ll be in Mississippi before too long.

18. Spencer Strider, RHP ↑

AA — Mississippi 

Strider has been a fast riser in the Braves system, and just like his promotions this season, he’ll probably see a nice jump in the rankings whenever I update the Top 30 later this year. The kid has done nothing but dominate ever since becoming a pro, turning in a 0.59 ERA with Augusta back in May and then a 3.52 ERA just this past month. Sure, the numbers are bound to regress some now that he’s actually pitching at a more competitive level, but I still expect Strider to keep most of this up. He’s the real deal and really doesn’t belong at no. 18.

17. CJ Alexander, 3B ↓

AA — Mississippi

Sometimes I wonder if Alexander is even ready for Double-A pitching. I mean, he has had nearly 250 PA at the level and his career numbers there are pretty underwhelming: 244 PA, .135 AVG, .469 OPS, 7.3 BB%, 34 K%.

At least this season he has displayed some more power, having hit five home runs and six doubles. However, he’s only getting on base at a .222 clip in 2021. It’s just a tough situation, because at nearly 25-years-old Alexander can’t afford to move down. I really like this kid, but his numbers are concerning, and it didn’t help that he had an even worse month at the plate in June.

16. Freddy Tarnok, RHP ↑

A+ — Rome

I of course didn’t love the three homers Tarnok surrendered in his most-recent start on Independence Day. But even with the trio of long balls, the 22-year-old still wound up with the win as he struck out five in five innings of work (the three homers made up for all but one of his four hits allowed overall). With the late start to the 2021 season (June 9 was his first appearance with Rome), I’m willing to give Tarnok a little more margin for error, so I’m fine with his performance thus far. A .186 AVG allowed is just fine considering he’s made a total of three starts all year. 

15. Daysbel Hernández, RHP ↓

AA — Mississippi 

Somehow, despite generating ground balls at a 68% clip in the month of June (per Baseball Reference), Hernández still allowed a .290 AVG from opposing batters. Anyways, he certainly didn’t look himself when I was in town for an M-Braves game back on June 10 versus Biloxi, in which he allowed two runs from two hits in a 28-pitch eighth-inning. Hernández blew that game but thankfully outfielder Jefrey Ramos walked it off in the ninth with a homer to win. It was obvious he wasn’t ready for the Triple-A level to start the 2021 season, but with him nearly 25-years-old he’ll need to start showing results in Double-A. I think he will eventually. 

14. Bryce Ball, 1B/OF ↓

A+ — Rome

Ball is definitely seeing the ball just fine as he leads High-A’s East League with 33 walks so far this season, a walk-rate of 18%. However, Ball is expected to do a little more than simply draw walks, especially after he demolished the ball in his debut year in 2019. The results just haven’t come for Ball. Following a .212 AVG in May, the burly slugger posted just a .186 AVG in June, and so far he’s just 2 for 11 in July. We know Ball is capable of putting up huge numbers, so surely he’ll come around soon. 

13. Victor Vodnik, RHP ⇔

AA — Mississippi (7-day IL)

It’s difficult to find out much about an injured minor leaguer, but boy it sure would be nice to know what the hell is keeping Vodnik off the mound as the righty has been on the injured list since May 27. A month of no pitching is tough to come back from, and his absence is sure to impact his development the rest of the season. Hopefully the Braves are just being cautious and planning on a return following the All Star break. Regardless, when active, Vodnik has been dominant as usual in 2021.

12. Jared Shuster, LHP ↑

A+ — Rome

Back in May the Braves sort of shut down Shuster to reportedly get his mechanics straightened out, so his 3.00 ERA and 10.5 K/9 came in just six innings for the month. In June the southpaw received a full month’s worth of innings, so Shuster’s three starts and one relief appearance gave us a much better look as to what kind of prospect he really is. Everything appears just right: in 13 innings last month, Shuster struck out 19, walked only four and allowed six runs from 12 hits — a strong ERA of 4.15. The Braves will most likely baby its 25th overall pick from 2020, so there’s no rush for the 22-year-old.

11. Trey Harris, OF ⇔

AA — Mississippi 

Harris had a better month of June but overall his 2021 campaign has been a little underwhelming, especially compared to his huge 2019 season when he won Minor League Player of the Year in the Braves system. Other than some situational struggles, like with two outs and RISP (.185 AVG), there’s nothing that really stands out. Harris could walk a little more as he’s at 6.7% so far this year, and it would be nice if there was a little more power in his swing (just seven XBH in 192 PA). However, overall there’s not too much to complain about regarding the former 32nd round pick. 

Checking in on the Braves prospects for June: 30-21

As I did last month, it’s 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.

*All stats mentioned below cover only games played in June

30. Nolan Kingham, RHP ↑

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 ⅓ innings, but he still needs time to adjust to the better competition.

29. Kasey Kalich, RHP ↑

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 ↓

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 ↓

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 ↑

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

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 ⇔

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’t… please share!

23. Joey Estes, RHP ↑

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 ⇔

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 ↑

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.