Freddy Tarnok Offers Tantalizing Upside

The Braves added four players to their 40-man roster at the Nov. 19 reserve roster deadline, thus shielding them from the Rule 5 draft.

Outfielder Drew Waters was the highest profile addition, along with hard-throwing righthander William Woods. Joining them were righties Brooks Wilson and Freddy Tarnok, both of whom could make their MLB debuts in 2022.

Wilson finished last season in Triple-A Gwinnett, where he allowed one run in six innings. Purely a reliever, the 25-year-old Wilson was sensational in Double-A Mississippi, posting a 2.45 ERA in 33 relief appearances. He struck out 73 in 44 innings.

Tarnok, meanwhile, possesses intriguing upside as a player who wasn’t pitching until his sophomore year at Riverview (Fla.) High. The 2017 third-round pick finished the season with Mississippi, where he had a 2.60 ERA in nine starts.

Over two levels, the 23-year-old Tarnok fanned 109 hitters while limiting opponents to a .209 average in 73.1 innings.

There’s no doubt Tarnok has major league caliber stuff, but he has battled injuries throughout his minor league career. He could transition to the bullpen, but his base traits give hope he could eventually become a mid-rotation starter.

Tarnok’s fastball velocity sits in the mid-to-upper 90s. He has three additional pitches, including a dangerous curveball that is the system’s best. While still raw, his mix makes him one of the most fascinating prospects in the farm.

Braves manager Brian Snitker commended Tarnok on several occasions during 2021 spring training.

The win-now Braves are willing to give young players opportunities. Lefthander Dylan Lee made Atlanta’s postseason rosters despite just two career appearances, both of which came the last weekend of the regular season.

Righty Spencer Strider, who likewise debuted in early October, was considered for a postseason roster spot.

Expect Wilson and Tarnok to get their first big league opportunities in 2022.


— Spencer Strider will be among the most exciting young arms in spring training. The 2020 fourth-rounder from Clemson made two relief appearances in Atlanta’s final regular season series against the Mets. Strider made a seismic leap in 2021, pitching at four minor league levels before joining the Braves.


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