Atlanta Braves to Target in First Year Player Drafts

Braden Shewmake, Rome Braves, June 21, 2019 - Photo credit Jarrod Vickery, @jvickery55 on Twitter

While things may seem quiet on the prospect front to the outside world, we in the fantasy community know this is an exciting time. With first-year player drafts approaching (some have already come and gone) and Prospects1500 organizational Top 50’s dropping next month, I thought what better time to take a look back at the year that was for some first-year newcomers to the Atlanta Braves system?

1.9 Shea Langeliers, C – Baylor Age: 22 ETA: 2021

.255/.310/.343, 2 HR, 55 SO, 17 BB (Single-A)

Langeliers was one of two first-round picks for the Braves in 2019 and he was certainly seen as the highlight of the draft. I won’t spend too much time on the merit of some of these top guys since their scouting reports are readily available, but I do think it is important to give an idea of where their stock is as we close out 2019. Let me say this, the Baylor product is the most promising backstop taken in the draft not named Rutschman. While he doesn’t have the bat the Orioles top prospect does, there are not many barriers along his path to the majors. Langeliers went 26th overall in our Prospects1500 First-Year Player Mock

1.21 Braden Shewmake, SS – Texas A&M Age: 22 ETA: 2022

.300/.371/.425, 3 HR, 13 SB, 40 SO, 25 BB (Single-A/Double-A)

Shewmake’s stock is sky high after not missing a beat in the transition to pro ball either offensively or defensively. After lighting up opponents with Single-A Rome, the Braves promoted Shewmake to Double-A, skipping Florida, where the bat cooled down a bit. In his 14 games, Shewmake had 10 base knocks, but none of them went for extra bases. Still, line that up to just 11 strikeouts and you’ve got a pretty good showing. The hit tool is apparent, but it is important to remember the projectable frame and the likelihood that the Texas A&M product will develop some power in his game as well. Shewmake went 14th overall in our Prospects1500 First-Year Player Mock.

2.60 Beau Philip, SS – Oregon State Age: 21 ETA: 2023

.193/.297/.280, 4 HR, 5 SB, 51 SO, 26 BB (Rookie)

Unlike his shortstop counterpart listed above, Philip’s stock is well down. Coming from an elite college program and struggling in Rookie ball could simply be a sign of fatigue after a long year, but Philip didn’t do much to instill confidence in his brief pro debut. The 21 year old was seen as somewhat of a reach in the draft anyway, but after his struggles, he would have to fall to me pretty low in a FYPD to take him. Philip went 121st overall in our Prospects1500 First-Year Player Mock. 

3.98 Michael Harris, OF – Stockbridge HS (GA) Age: 18 ETA: 2023

.277/.344/.393, 2 HR, 8 SB, 42 SO, 18 BB (Rookie/Single-A)

Michael Harris can pretty much do anything on a baseball diamond. A two-way player coming out of his Georgia high school, the Braves like the switch-hitting power bat from Harris more than his southpaw presence on the mound. It was a great debut for the Georgia native who made the jump from Rookie ball to Single-A. While his stock is up, there are some more prospects in the Braves system that probably have your league mates’ attention. I would hone in on Harris before the mid rounds of your draft if you have the patience to wait on him to develop. Harris went 90th overall in our Prospects1500 First-Year Player Mock. 

4.127 Kasey Kalich, RHP – Texas A&M Age: 21 ETA: 2022

20.2 IP, 22 K, 10 BB, 1.31 ERA, 2.81 FIP (Single-A)

If you’re anything like me, you value relievers that are developed strictly as such. In fact, I highlighted Kalich in a previous piece where I told you to eyeball him if you’re in a deep league with reliever stats. After dominating the SEC, Kalich dominated pro ball following a long college season. You can probably snag Kalich in the final rounds of your FYPD and if he is there towards the end, I recommend you do so.

5.157 Stephen Paolini, OF – St Josephs School (CT) Age: 19 ETA: 2024

.192/.315/.242, 0 HR, 2 SB, 37 SO, 22 BB

Paolini was a little known draft prospect coming into June, but the Braves clearly liked something about the cold weather prep hitter. The 19 year old didn’t show much in his small sample size debut, 35 games, and if you like his skillset, I believe you can get him after your FYPD. The very limited tape I have seen of the young outfielder doesn’t show the fastest hands at the plate, but he seems to be fairly athletic and can scoot around the bases.

6.187 Tanner Gordon, RHP – Indiana Age: 22 ETA: 2022

24.1 IP, 36 K, 12 BB, 2.22 ERA, 3.37 FIP (Rookie)

There is a high floor on Gordon. Strictly a reliever, the former Hoosier has the stuff be in a big league pen. Whether that stuff is featured in high leverage situations or not remains to be seen. For the time being, I would put a middle reliever tag on him and would say you should be able to get him after your FYPD draft if you have faith he can be a late inning guy. I’m not calling him that right now. The 6’5 righty was pretty dominant in his pro debut not allowing much contact and striking out hitters at a rate of 13.32 per nine innings.

7.217 Darius Vines, RHP – CSU Bakersfield Age: 21 ETA: 2023

31.1 IP, 33 K, 10 BB, 6.61 ERA, 4.38 FIP (Rookie)

I’m not expecting top of the line MLB production from Vines by any means. However, he possesses a devastating curveball that could carry him to the upper levels of the minors. The righty is worth keeping tabs on and while I wouldn’t take him in my FYPD, he could be a good post-draft flyer pick up.

8.247 Ricky DeVito, RHP – Seton Hall Age: 21 ETA: 2022

36.2 IP, 35 K, 16 BB, 3.44 ERA, 4.64 FIP (Rookie)

Devito had an up and down career at Seton Hall where he won conference pitcher of the year in 2018 before a 2019 campaign that saw him lose some command. Still, the New York native has a well-polished repertoire highlighted by a developed changeup. There is still some work to do on Devito’s part, but there is a solid foundation for a run to the bigs down the road. Target Devito in the late rounds if you have a very deep FYPD pool.

9.277 Cody Milligan, INF – Cowley County CC (KS) Age: 21 ETA: 2023

.252/.384/.299, 1 HR, 12 SB, 54 SO, 44 BB (Rookie)

Milligan is a prospect not many Braves fans are discussing, but definitely has my attention. He is undersized, so people sleep on his power, but the pop is certainly there and could develop more as he adds size. The 21 year old wreaks havoc on the base paths and even if he adds some more size, it shouldn’t take away from him steals drastically. Plus, he has the versatility to play all over the field. I think Milligan may go undrafted in some FYPD due to his pedigree, but I may reach for him in my drafts.

10.307 Brandon Parker, OF – Mississippi Gulf Coast JC Age: 20 ETA: 2023

.210/.294/.318, 4 HR, 4 SB, 66 SO, 15 BB (Rookie)

Big power bat with a lot of swing and miss in a corner outfield profile. If you like Parker, he will be available for pick up after your draft.

11.337 Vaughn Grissom, SS – Hagerty HS (FL) Age: 18 ETA: 2023

.290/.359/.396, 3 HR, 3 SB, 27 SO, 16 BB (Rookie)

If you’re okay with taking a gamble in your draft, Grissom is your guy. Big, raw, athletic, there is a lot of buzz around Grissom after an impressive pro debut. Your classic low floor, high ceiling prospect, if the 6’3 right handed hitter can put it all together, he can be a major contributor at the plate while manning the hot corner. He is worth a shot in the mid rounds. Grissom went 103rd overall in our Prospects1500 First-Year Player Mock. 

14.427 Jared Johnson, RHP – Smithville HS (MS) Age: 18 ETA: 2024

15.1 IP, 12 K, 4 BB, 3.52 ERA, 2.72 FIP

Perhaps the rawest player taken by the Braves in the draft, Johnson could become something special once he gets around elite coaching. While we are passing in the 2020 draft, you should keep tabs on the small town righty.

18.547 Mahki Backstrom, 1B – Serra HS (CA) Age: 18 ETA: 2023

.304/.396/.443, 2 HR, 1 SB, 30 SO, 12 BB (Rookie)

A towering left handed hitter that stands 6’5, #Braves twitter was dying for the club to sign the California teenager. They made it happen and Backstrom did not disappoint. He put up good numbers in his brief stint with the GCL club, drawing even more attention. A first base only profile, it depends on how much value you place on that skillset, but he is certainly draftable in the mid to late rounds if you have the patience. Backstrom went 95th overall in our Prospects1500 First-Year Player Mock. 

24.727 Bryce Ball, 1B – Dallas Baptist Age: 21 ETA: 2022

.329/.395/.628, 17 HR, 50 SO, 26 BB (Rookie/Single-A)

Few players did more than Ball to improve their stock in the Braves organization. All he did was rake from start to finish and I was lucky enough to catch his Single-A debut on the road as well as several home games in Rome. He stands head and shoulders above everyone else on the diamond and the power bat is legitimate. Perhaps the most impressive aspect of Ball’s debut wasn’t the gaudy power numbers, but how little swing and miss came with it. He will go just before the mid rounds in your FYPD. Ball went 54th overall in our Prospects1500 First-Year Player Mock. 

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.

1 Comment

  1. Ball can flat out rake. I’m sad that he went so early and people are starting to know him. I like getting in on the cheap.

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