None of the 4 Braves’ affiliates are off to a torrid start. With a combined 106-101 record through the top 4 levels of the system, the Braves’ minor league teams have some work to do to reach the postseason. The High-A Rome Braves have the best record at 31-24, which places them 3rd in the South Atlantic League’s South division. I wanted to take a few moments to showcase a select group of players that have had a great month of baseball!
I present to you, the Braves’ 2022 Prospects of the Month for May!
Pitcher of the Month:
R.J. Alaniz, P, AAA Gwinnett
11.1 IP, 2.38 ERA, 0.79 WHIP, 1 BB, 20 K
Mr. Alaniz is no spring chicken. He has been playing professional baseball since 2010, when he was a rookie in the Astros organization. He also had previous stops in the Tigers, Rays, Reds and Mariners systems. Prior to the 2022 season, the Braves signed him to a minor league deal, and he hasn’t disappointed. He has increased his K/9 rate by 4.3, to a total of 14.7. The walk rate has dipped slightly to 3.2 BB/9. Major league teams always need bullpen depth. Should an injury occur, I can envision him punching his ticket to Atlanta for some key games as the Braves try to climb their way back to the top of the NL East.
Hitter of the Month:
Landon Stephens, OF, High-A Rome
17 R, 23 H, 7 HR, 23 RBI, 1 SB, .277/.396/.602
Stephens is beginning to generate a small bit of fantasy buzz within the industry. A CI/OF prospect out of Miami (OH), he is on a 40-homerun pace at High-A Rome. He has sacrificed some batting average for that power, but I’m sure the Braves’ front office is just fine with him doing so. He will undoubtedly need to be promoted to AA to see if he can replicate his success at a more challenging level. Should he meet that challenge, we could be looking at a spot starter at the big league level.
Landon Stephens doing Landon Stephens things.
Longball got all of that one and we’re out in front over the Renegades. pic.twitter.com/WnbRcdbnAv
— Rome Braves (@TheRomeBraves) May 25, 2022
Other Performances of Note:
Alan Rangel, RHP, AA Mississippi
25 IP, 3.24 ERA, 1.12 WHIP, 9 BB, 34 K
Jared Shuster, LHP, AA Mississippi
24 IP, 2.25 ERA, 0.92 WHIP, 6 BB, 23 K
Andrew Hoffmann, RHP, High-A Rome
24 IP, 3.00 ERA, 1.29 WHIP, 10 BB, 27 K
J.J. Niekro, RHP, Low-A Augusta
23 IP, 3.52 ERA, 1.26 WHIP, 5 BB, 27 K
Shuster and Niekro make it onto the other Performances of Note section for the second time in two months. Both are off to excellent starts, and both should see a promotion in the near future. Rangel is an organizational depth right-hander that may compete for a role in the bullpen, but is more likely to spend his career in the minors. Hoffmann, on the other hand, is one to take note of. He’s a Chicagoland kid that finished his college career at the University of Illinois. He has the size you’d want in a starter and so far the results have been more than satisfactory.
Phil Gosselin, Util, AAA Gwinnett
11 R, 24 H, 4 HR, 11 RBI, .320/.346/.600
CJ Alexander, 3B, AA Mississippi
17 R, 24 H, 8 HR, 20 RBI, 5 SB, .255/.304/.532
Michael Harris, OF, AA Mississippi
19 R, 26 H, 3 HR, 16 RBI, 2 SB, .280/.349/484
Brandol Mezquita, OF, Low-A Augusta
13 R, 28 H, 2 HR, 11 RBi, 5 SB, .311/.361/.456
He didn’t miss it this time! Brandol Mezquita crushes a home run to left field to make it a one-run game! pic.twitter.com/YmAshbLr30
— Augusta GreenJackets (@GreenJackets) May 6, 2022
Much like Pat Valaika from last month, Gosselin has played several seasons in the majors and should be expected to put up good numbers in AAA. Alexander put on a power display in May. He is repeating the level and will need to continue to work on cutting down his strikeout rate. Most of you are aware that Harris was called up to Atlanta in May, as he continued to display his five-tool talent prior to the call. Mezquita is an intriguing 20-year-old outfielder from the Dominican Republic. His strikeouts are reasonable, he can definitely take a walk and has some decent speed. He hasn’t displayed much home run power, but that’s the only blemish to this point.
Outside of Stephens, most of these players won’t need to be on your radar from a fantasy perspective. Mezquita could be rostered in very deep leagues, but for now, I’d put watch flag/star on him.
Born in Arizona. Raised in the Midwest, and with lots of baseball. When I’m not writing about baseball or purchasing my next baseball card, I can be seen coasting down the highway to yet another travel baseball tournament with my wife and son. I love the Braves, bat flips and outfield assists.