Major League Baseball Summer Camp has concluded and we have actual, meaningful baseball games to watch. While all may seem well in the baseball world, there are plenty of fans like you and me that will be placing an asterisk beside this summer not due to the shortened MLB season, but because of the lack of Minor League Baseball. No MiLB will make things tough on us dynasty players, but I am pumped for the “10 Names You Need To Know” series at Prospects1500. We have to keep not only the top names in the game in your head, but also some of those deep sleepers and newcomers. Enjoy the Atlanta Braves edition!
Braden Shewmake, SS
Yes, Shewmake is finally starting to get the love he deserves after dismantling pro ball, but he still hasn’t broken into that top tier of shortstop prospects in a lot of people’s eyes. I wouldn’t claim that the Texas A&M product is quite in the top 10 SS prospects, although I think he has a better chance to stick at the position despite his height than some guys that are on that list, but I do believe he finds himself comfortably in Tier 2 and presents a great fantasy pick up option. Many of your league mates will be looking for ceiling, but Shewmake’s floor is what makes him enticing. His plate approach is unrivaled in the organization and a longer stint at Double-A will certainly be telling of his ability. Shewmake is definitely a name you need to know for 2021 and beyond.
Jasseel De La Cruz, RHP
De La Cruz is a future big leaguer. That may not sound like a dramatic claim, but with pitching prospects that isn’t always something you want to stake your reputation to. Sure, there is bullpen risk with the fireballing right hander, but folks who have read my articles in the past understand the value of high leverage relievers. With all of that being said, I don’t think De La Cruz is destined for the bullpen. The reports you see on the 23-year-old are the same reports you’ve seen since his name first began surfacing in pro ball. The fact of the matter is those reports are outdated. I’ve seen the development of the CH first hand and the FB/SL combo doesn’t get the love it deserves. The control is no longer a question for me so if De La Cruz is able to command all three pitches and sequence them well, he will be a force in the Braves rotation.
This is the second night in a row Pensacola beat Mississippi #Braves 1-0. But tonight we got another solid start from my boy Jasseel. De La Cruz tossed six innings of one run ball and struck out six. Young man has the stuff, gonna be a special pitcher.
— Jake Berry (@berrys_baseball) July 3, 2019
Trey Harris, OF
Harris has been written off throughout his career mainly due to his age to competition level. The guy can hit everything that is thrown his way, has proven that he can make adjustments, embraces data and analytics, and shows up ready to play with a great attitude everyday. He has handled himself well at the plate in every level of pro ball after being a late round draft pick out of Missouri and his bat should carry him to the majors at some point. Realistically I see Harris as a fourth outfielder, first pinch hitter of the bench type of player. He has a plus hit tool and has shown more pop so far in pro ball than most were expecting (one of those adjustments we were talking about). He possesses average tools everywhere else and if he were to find himself with regular playing time is a potential 15/10 guy.
Justin Dean, OF
Speed, speed, and more speed. Dean is a well above average runner who has held his own at the plate so far in pro ball. The ceiling is a roto dream as Dean can steal bases almost at will and, like Harris, he has shown more pop than people previously thought he would have. The most likely outcome is a primetime pinch runner, but I am encouraged by the offensive skill set as a whole. His game tends to be more gap power than over the fence power, but that is perfectly fine with a guy that can take the extra base like Dean.
— Jake Berry (@berrys_baseball) August 27, 2019
Stephen Paolini, OF
Paolini was a 5th rounder in the 2019 draft and not a ton was known about the Connecticut native prior to his selection. While the rookie ball debut was nothing to write home about, the tools are. From a fantasy standpoint you have to love the ceiling on Paolini. He is a high level athlete with good wheels and has decent power for a 19-year-old. He is also a solid outfielder with a strong arm and while there is a pretty long road ahead of him to the show, he is definitely a name you need to know.
Vaughn Grissom, SS
Another member of the promising 2019 Braves draft class, Grissom is a strong young man with good athleticism, but like Paolini, there is definitely some work to do. He stands 6’3 at just 19-years-old and while he currently has a bit of power in the bat, it is easy to project more down the road with his frame. This may come at the expense of some run ability, but the bat has the potential to be his carrying tool. Reports indicate he may move to the hot corner down the road.
Jesse Franklin, OF
Franklin put himself on the map thanks to his contributions to Michigan’s College World Series run, but we haven’t seen him on the field much as of late. He didn’t play at all in 2020 due to a collarbone injury, and the shortened season of course, and has had a plethora of other injuries along the way. I will say that when he is on the field, the overall package Franklin presents is promising. He has an advanced plate approach which has been displayed both in high level college ball and on the Cape, plus power, a decent runner, and is solid in the outfield. The skill set gives him a nice floor. The injury history is the only piece that makes him a little more risky.
Bryce Elder, RHP
The 2020 fifth round pick signed for nearly triple his slot value as the Braves loaded up on college arms. Elder isn’t going to be the most exciting player in your FYPD, but there is a lot to like. The 6’2, 220 lb right hander is extremely consistent on the mound and while he won’t blow you away, he has a great feel for all three of his pitches and is excellent at limiting hard contact. Elder is certainly a potential back end starter.
— Longhorn Network (@LonghornNetwork) June 12, 2020
Jared Johnson, RHP
First of all, I love Johnson’s story. It sounds like the beginning to a baseball novel. Not a well-known name from a tiny town in Mississippi who doesn’t pitch in national showcases, but has a prototypical pitcher’s frame and throws absolute gas. Sign me up. Of course his high school stats are gaudy, but Johnson also held his own in a small sample of rookie ball with a 1.24 WHIP and 12 K’s over 15 IP. Get this guy around some strong pitching coaches and this may be an absolute steal for the Braves down the road.
Yoansy Moreno, OF
There hasn’t been a ton to write about in terms of international prospects for the Braves recently, due to obvious reasons, but Moreno is a bright spot. Baseball America describes him as a “physical specimen” due to his 6’3, 225 pound frame. Moreno’s carrying tool will be his power which is well-above average in its raw form. With the likes of Bryce Ball and Mahki Backstrom coming through the system, Moreno is another power threat to watch. It may be a couple of years before we see him stateside, but he is definitely a name you need to know.
I reside in Carrollton, Georgia and love everything baseball. I graduated from the University of West Georgia with a Bachelor’s Degree in Sport Management. I have a passion for the minor leagues and have high hopes of visiting as many minor league parks as I can. I enjoy the statistical side of the game, especially sabermetrics. I am also an avid baseball card collector and fantasy baseball player.