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Player Reports

  1. 1. Cristian Pache | OF
    Cristian Pache
    Born: Nov 19, 1998
    Bats: R Throws: R
    Ht.: 6'2" Wt.: 215
    Drafted/Signed: Dominican Republic, 2015.
    Signed By: Matias Laureano.

    Hitting: 45. Power: 55. Run: 70. Fielding: 80. Arm: 70.
    Track Record: Signed by the Braves for $1.4 million when he was 16, Pache progressively tapped into more power as he climbed the minor league ladder and, after spending the 2019 season at Double-A and Triple-A, made his big league debut in 2020. Pache had a reserve role during parts of the regular season and saw just four at-bats. He was included on the Braves’ postseason roster and stepped into a starting role in the Championship Series after Adam Duvall suffered an oblique injury. Shortly thereafter he became the seventh major leaguer to hit his first home run in the playoffs—going deep against the Dodgers’ Julio Urias—while showcasing the outstanding defense in center field that has been hyped for years.

    Scouting Report: Pache’s postseason offered the Braves a glimpse of what’s to come. After adding around 30 pounds of muscle over the last three years, Pache is solidly built with enough raw power to keep pitchers honest. His strengths still lie on the defensive side of the ball. Pache has the plus-plus speed to cover enough ground in even the most expansive outfields, and his instincts and arm strength elevate him to the level of potentially one of the best center fielders in baseball. He reads the ball off the bat well, takes efficient routes and has the athleticism and natural timing to make highlight-reel diving catches and jumps at the wall. His plus-plus arm makes runners think twice about taking an extra base. It would be a surprise if he never won a Gold Glove. Pache has upside as a hitter, too. The Braves were happy enough with his growth in 2020 to put him on the big league roster. He has enough bat speed to handle the velocity of the modern game, and he pairs it with solid pitch selection and strike-zone recognition. What could limit him as a hitter is an extreme pull tendency at the plate. He hit between 50% and 59% of his batted balls to his pull side from 2017 to 2019 in the minors. For context, the major league average pull rate in 2020 was 41%. And while Pache does have plus raw power, all of his in-game home runs have gone to the far pull side in left field. Figuring out how to use the opposite field will be necessary for Pache to become an average hitter, and a missed 2020 minor league season might have hampered that development.

    The Future: After more than holding his own for the Braves in short stints in 2020, Pache should become an outfield regular in 2021. He will immediately be one of the game’s most exciting young defensive players.

  2. 2. Drew Waters | OF
    Drew Waters
    Born: Dec 30, 1998
    Bats: B Throws: R
    Ht.: 6'2" Wt.: 185
    Drafted/Signed: HS--Woodstock, Ga., 2017 (2nd round).
    Signed By: Dustin Evans.

    Hitting: 55. Power: 55. Run: 60. Fielding: 60. Arm: 55.
    Track Record: A local Georgia product drafted in the second round in 2016, Waters steadily climbed the minor league ladder and won the Double-A Southern League’s batting title and MVP award in 2019. The switch-hitter finished the year in Triple-A, played for Team USA’s Olympic qualifying team in the fall and spent 2020 at the alternate training site, where he mainly focused on his righthanded swing and improving his plate discipline and approach.

    Scouting Report: Waters is a long, lean athlete with a loose, handsy swing that gives him above-average hitting potential. He shows that potential against righthanders (.866 OPS in 2019) but still has improvements to make against lefties (.644 OPS). Waters is extremely aggressive in his pitch selection and has worked to become a more patient, selective hitter, particularly after his strikeout rate ballooned against upper-level arms. Waters has above-average power potential from both sides, but how much he accesses in games will depend on his pitch selection. His defense is underrated given his proximity to Cristian Pache in the system. He is capable of playing center field as a plus runner with above-average arm strength.

    The Future: The canceled minor league season hurt Waters’ ability to develop his offense against high-level arms. If his 2020 work translates in games, he should become a regular in Atlanta’s outfield.

  3. 3. Michael Harris | OF
    Michael Harris
    Born: Mar 7, 2001
    Bats: L Throws: L
    Ht.: 6'0" Wt.: 195
    Drafted/Signed: HS-- Stockbridge, Ga., 2019 (3rd round).
    Signed By: Kirk Fredriksson.

    TRACK RECORD: An athletic, two-way player out of Stockbridge High just south of Atlanta, Harris preferred hitting and the Braves liked his upside enough to draft him in the third round as a position player. After showing exciting tools in 2019, Harris spent 2020 at the alternate training site working to improve his offensive approach.

    SCOUTING REPORT: Harris faced some of the team's top pitching prospects at the alternate site and impressed with the quality of his at-bats. He has above-average power potential and a chance to be an above-average hitter as well, though he has holes in his swing he will need to close against upper-level pitching. A solid athlete who is an above-average runner underway, Harris has spent most of his time in center and right field. He ultimately projects to be a right fielder with plenty of arm strength for the position.

    THE FUTURE: Harris is one of the organization's most exciting lower-level prospects. He is slated to begin 2021 at one of the Class A levels.

  4. 4. Shea Langeliers | C
    Shea Langeliers
    Born: Nov 18, 1997
    Bats: R Throws: R
    Ht.: 6'0" Wt.: 205
    Drafted/Signed: Baylor, 2019 (1st round).
    Signed By: Darin Vaughan.

    Hitting: 50. Power: 50. Run: 40. Fielding: 60. Arm: 70.
    Track Record: The No. 2 catcher in the 2019 draft behind Adley Rutschman, Langeliers was drafted ninth overall by the Braves and signed for an under-slot $3.9 million. Considered the best defensive backstop in the class, he immediately went to low Class A Rome for his pro debut and was a standout performer at the Braves’ alternate training site in 2020.

    Scouting Report: Langeliers lives up to his reputation as a high-level defender by pairing a standout, 70-grade arm with impressive hands in receiving and a desire to consistently improve. He threw out 41% of basestealers in his pro debut and shows all the traits of at least a plus defender behind the plate. Langeliers has solid offensive tools as well. He impressed Braves officials with his ability to drive the ball with authority to right field at the alternate site, especially after he mostly pulled the ball in his debut. His bat projects more average than above and he still needs more reps against upper-level pitchers. Langeliers puts together quality at-bats and has enough strength to project average power.

    The Future: Langeliers’ defense behind the plate will carry him up the ladder. He has a chance to become a first-division regular as long as his bat continues to develop.

  5. 5. Kyle Muller | LHP
    Kyle Muller
    Born: Oct 7, 1997
    Bats: R Throws: L
    Ht.: 6'7" Wt.: 250
    Drafted/Signed: HS--Dallas, 2016 (2nd round).
    Signed By: Nate Dion.

    Fastball: 70. Curveball: 55. Slider: 50. Changeup: 50. Control: 45.
    Track Record: Muller has come a long way since the Braves drafted him out of high school in 2016. After sitting in the upper 80s in his first full season, Muller filled out his large, 6-foot-7 frame and now has the best fastball in Atlanta’s system. After topping out at 98 mph in 2019, Muller sat 95-97 mph and touched 100 at the Braves’ alternate training site in 2020.

    Scouting Report: Muller’s calling card is his fastball. Its plus-plus velocity plays up even further with high spin rates that generate plenty of whiffs at the top of the zone. The pitch plays especially well with Muller’s extension toward home plate out of his huge frame. Muller has worked hard to refine his secondaries, focusing on improving his curveball and changeup, while also adding a slider to the mix. He has flashed above-average potential with all three but needs to improve his consistency with all of them. Muller will also need to sharpen his fastball control after averaging 5.5 walks per nine innings at Double-A in 2019.

    The Future: The Braves see Muller as a starter and believe he has the athleticism and work ethic to make the necessary gains in control and secondary pitch quality to succeed in that role. If he stalls, his stuff will play in the bullpen.

  6. 6. Spencer Strider | RHP
    Spencer Strider
    Born: Oct 28, 1998
    Bats: R Throws: R
    Ht.: 6'0" Wt.: 195
    Drafted/Signed: Clemson, 2020 (4th round).
    Signed By: Billy Best.

    TRACK RECORD: Strider was a high-profile recruit in high school and led Clemson in strikeouts as a freshman, whiffing 70 batters in just 51 innings. He missed his sophomore season after having Tommy John surgery, but he returned to the mound as a junior and struck out 19 batters in 12 innings before the season shut down. The Braves drafted him in the fourth round and signed him for a $449,300 signing bonus.

    SCOUTING REPORT: Strider is undersized at just 6-feet tall, but he has a big, four-seam fastball that gets into the mid-90s. He also has the feel to spin a breaking ball, but the Braves aren't yet sure if he should focus on developing a hard slider or a curveball. Strider also throws a changeup, but it is well behind his fastball and breaking ball. Strider was at the team's alternate training site, where he tried to adjust to the professional strike zone. It's unlikely Strider ever has average command, but he is athletic enough to repeat his delivery and throw strikes. The Braves love his makeup.

    THE FUTURE: Strider carries plenty of risk given the Tommy John surgery already on his resume. He projects best as a reliever.

  7. 7. Braden Shewmake | SS
    Braden Shewmake
    Born: Nov 19, 1997
    Bats: L Throws: R
    Ht.: 6'4" Wt.: 190
    Drafted/Signed: Texas A&M, 2019 (1st round).
    Signed By: Darin Vaughan.

    Hitting: 55. Power: 50. Run: 60. Fielding: 50. Arm: 50.
    Track Record: Shewmake was one of college baseball’s best hitters during his three years at Texas A&M and was drafted by the Braves in the first round, at No. 21 overall in 2019. He continued proving his hitting prowess by batting .318 at low Class A Rome and earning a promotion to Double-A in his pro debut. He spent the 2020 season at the Braves’ alternate training site.

    Scouting Report: Shewmake is an athletic, 6-foot-4 shortstop who possesses defensive versatility, a high baseball IQ and a natural feel for hitting. He has a solid, contact-oriented swing with above-average bat speed. He gets the most out of his natural abilities with a solid approach at the plate. His power isn’t exceptional, but he has already added about 10 pounds since college and evaluators believe he could grow into 15-20 home runs if he continues to add more strength. The Braves will continue to run Shewmake out at shortstop, where he has solid instincts that make his reliable but unspectacular glove and arm play up. He’s a better runner than expected from a player his height, getting to plus times underway.

    The Future: Shewmake needs more time to acclimate to upper-level pitching, but he’s already moving quickly. He projects as a super utility type for most scouts who can play all over the infield and potentially the outfield, if necessary.

  8. 8. Ryan Cusick | RHP
    Ryan Cusick
    Born: Nov 12, 1999
    Bats: R Throws: R
    Ht.: 6'6" Wt.: 235

    Cusick’s father played college football in Maine, and Cusick himself wouldn’t look out of place on the gridiron with a massive 6-foot-6, 235-pound frame. He has the power stuff to back it up and has been a hard thrower since his high school days, when he sat in the 92-94 mph range and touched 97. After three years at Wake Forest, Cusick now has one of the best fastballs in the country, a pitch that sits around 95 mph and has been up into the 100-102 mph range with solid life. Cusick will also flash a plus breaking ball that averages around 80 mph and has slurvey shape that looks more like a slider at times and more like a downer curve at others, but scouts have noted that the pitch is inconsistent—a critique that dates back to his prep days. The pitch itself shows quality spin, movement and bite at times, but Cusick’s usability of the pitch needs to improve. Cusick also throws a firm, upper-80s changeup that has slight fading action at times, but his usage of the pitch is extremely minimal. Cusick posted a 4.24 ERA this spring through 12 starts and 70 innings, with 108 strikeouts (13.9 K/9) to 32 walks (4.1 BB/9). He’s a control-over-command pitcher who can put the fastball over the plate enough, but some evaluators think he hasn’t made enough adjustments in his strike throwing to safely profile as a starter, and instead think he’ll be a power arm out of the bullpen.

  9. 9. Jared Shuster | LHP
    Jared Shuster
    Born: Aug 3, 1998
    Bats: L Throws: L
    Ht.: 6'3" Wt.: 210
    Drafted/Signed: Wake Forest, 2020 (1st round).
    Signed By: Billy Best.

    Fastball: 50. Slider: 50. Changeup: 60. Control: 55.
    Track Record: Shuster took a giant leap last spring at Wake Forest, going from a middling lefty who sat 88-92 mph to touching 97 while also showing radically improved control. The Braves bought into his improvement and drafted him in the first round, No. 25th overall and signed him for just under $2.2 million, continuing their recent trend of selecting college players with their first picks.

    Scouting Report: A 6-foot-3 lefthander, Shuster stands out for his impressive pitchability. He walked just nine batters in 58.1 innings between Wake Forest and the Cape Cod League, and Braves officials were impressed with his ability to locate both of his secondary offerings. Shuster’s improved fastball now sits 92-95 mph and can reach higher as needed. His best pitch is his changeup. It’s a true plus offering with impressive tumble that he throws with confidence. Shuster’s slider is fringier and can get slurvy at times but has a chance to be average with continued development. He has improved his control enough to be an above-average strike-thrower, though he will need to prove it in pro ball.

    The Future: Shuster’s fastball and changeup give him a solid foundation. He has to show he can hold his improved velocity over a full season and sharpen his slider, which will be his main goals in 2021.

  10. 10. Tucker Davidson | LHP
    Tucker Davidson
    Born: Mar 25, 1996
    Bats: L Throws: L
    Ht.: 6'2" Wt.: 215
    Drafted/Signed: Midland (Texas) JC, 2016 (19th round).
    Signed By: Nate Dion.

    Fastball: 55. Curveball: 50. Slider: 55. Changeup: 45. Control: 50.
    Track Record: An unheralded 19th-round pick, Davidson steadily climbed the minors one level at a time until a breakthrough 2019, when he logged a 2.15 ERA in 25 starts between Double-A and Triple-A. He began 2020 at the alternate training site and earned his first big league callup on Sept. 26, when he pitched 1.2 innings of relief against the Red Sox.

    Scouting Report: Davidson became more efficient in his delivery in 2020, implementing his lower half more effectively to help him hold his top-end velocity. His fastball sits around 92 mph and has been up to 97, and his development should help him maintain an above-average fastball. Formerly a fastball/curveball pitcher, Davidson added a slider to his repertoire and it now looks like his best breaking ball, with above-average potential in the mid-to-upper 80s. Davidson’s curveball has above-average vertical depth and could be an average pitch if he can land it consistently. Davidson throws a changeup, but it’s his fourth-best offering. He walked four batters in 1.2 innings in his big league debut, and his walk rate has been a tick below-average in his minor league career.

    The Future: Questions about Davidson’s durability and control lead opposing scouts to believe he profiles as a reliever in the majors. The Braves haven’t given up on him as a starter.

  11. 11. Spencer Schwellenbach | RHP
    Spencer Schwellenbach
    Born: May 31, 2000
    Ht.: 0'0"

    Schwellenbach is one of the most intriguing draft storylines as a legitimate two-way player who scouts continue to be split on. The 6-foot-1, 200-pound shortstop at Nebraska is solid at the position, though his foot speed limits him defensively. He doesn’t have the athleticism to stay at shortstop long term and could potentially see a future at third base. He hasn’t shown power but he has consistently high exit velocities off the bat and the analytics are promising. Where Schwellenbach has drawn even more interest is with his arm, as a player who rolls in from short and has been up to 99 mph on the mound. He sits 94 to 97 with super easy velocity but generic life. The righthander has an average slider in the mid-80s with good shape, and a changeup he can throw for strikes that will be an average pitch, though he hasn’t showcased it often. Though his delivery could use refining, he throws strikes, commands his secondaries, knows what he is doing, has good feel for the zone, lands everything, and does it easily. He hasn’t pitched a lot, getting into 16 games out of the Huskers’ bullpen and posting a 0.71 ERA over 25.1 innings with 29 strikeouts this year, which might temper some enthusiasm for his starter upside. Schwellenbach has had arm issues in the past, including a non-Tommy John UCL reparation surgery, but the arm strength and strikes are impressive and he gets a higher consensus rank for the pitching profile.

  12. 12. Jesse Franklin | OF
    Jesse Franklin
    Born: Dec 1, 1998
    Bats: L Throws: L
    Ht.: 6'1" Wt.: 215
    Drafted/Signed: Michigan, 2020 (3rd round).
    Signed By: Jeremy Gordon.

    TRACK RECORD: Franklin was the headliner of Michigan's 2017 recruiting class. He led the team in homers, slugging and RBIs as a freshman and carried the team to the College World Series finals as a sophomore. Franklin didn't play in 2020 due to a broken collarbone, but the Braves still drafted him in the third round and signed him for $497,500.

    SCOUTING REPORT: Franklin has a solid all-around game and outstanding baseball instincts. He takes a professional approach at the plate and competes in the box, and Braves officials were happy with how he performed at the alternate training site after signing. He has solid power potential and hit double-digit home runs at Michigan in both of his full seasons. Franklin can play all three outfield positions. He's a slightly above-average runner with an excellent first step and takes good routes to the ball. A fringe-average arm might make him best suited for left field.

    THE FUTURE: Franklin projects a solid contributor in the outfield. His pro debut awaits in 2021.

  13. 13. Jasseel De La Cruz | RHP
    Jasseel De La Cruz
    Born: Jun 26, 1997
    Bats: R Throws: R
    Ht.: 6'1" Wt.: 195
    Drafted/Signed: Dominican Republic, 2015.
    Signed By: Matias Laureano.

    TRACK RECORD: A late-bloomer who signed for a $55,000 bonus out of the Dominican Republic, De la Cruz hit his stride in pro ball and showed he could succeed as a starter against upper-level competition at Double-A Mississippi in 2019. The Braves brought him to the alternate training site in 2020 and called him up to the majors in September, although he didn't appear in a game before being sent back down.

    SCOUTING REPORT: De la Cruz has two loud offerings, including a plus-plus fastball that sat 97 mph and touched 100 mph at the alternate site. He pairs it with a hard, vertical slider that earns above-average to plus grades. De la Cruz will need to improve his fastball command to fully optimize the two-pitch tandem. He throws strikes but doesn't have the command to pinpoint the ball, largely due to his long arm action in the back of his delivery. He has made strides in the control department, giving some hope he could remain a starter. He's made progress with his changeup to give him a usable third offering.

    THE FUTURE: De la Cruz has had success as a starter, but most scouts think he'd be best suited as a reliever. He'll open 2021 in Triple-A.

  14. 14. Bryce Elder | RHP
    Bryce Elder
    Born: May 19, 1999
    Bats: R Throws: R
    Ht.: 6'2" Wt.: 220
    Drafted/Signed: Texas, 2020 (5th round).
    Signed By: Darin Vaughan.

    TRACK RECORD: Elder spent his freshman year as a reliever at Texas before moving into the rotation as a sophomore. He quickly became one of the Longhorns' top starters and was off to a dominant start in 2020 before the season shut down. The Braves drafted him in the fifth round and signed him for an above-slot $847,500 bonus.

    SCOUTING REPORT: Elder has a solid three-pitch mix and throws lots of strikes. He throws his sinking fastball in the 88-93 mph range and his above-average slider is his out pitch. He also mixes in a solid changeup. While other pitchers have more stuff, Elder is a safer bet to remain a starter. He has an advanced feel for pitching and the Braves love his ability to manipulate the baseball. They think he can successfully add a four-seam fastball and curveball to his arsenal to develop a vertical pitch profile in addition to his current horizontal sinker/slider profile. Elder avoids damage by inducing lots of groundouts and is a smart pitcher who knows what to throw in what situations.

    THE FUTURE: Elder has a chance to be back-of-the-rotation starter. His pro debut awaits in 2021.

  15. 15. Vaughn Grissom | SS/3B
    Vaughn Grissom
    Born: Jan 5, 2001
    Bats: R Throws: R
    Ht.: 6'3" Wt.: 180
    Drafted/Signed: HS--Oviedo, Fla., 2019 (11th round).
    Signed By: Jon Bunnell.

    TRACK RECORD: Grissom showed an intriguing set of tools in high school and was seen by scouts frequently as a teammate of eventual Tigers first-round pick Riley Greene. The Braves liked his upside enough to draft him in the 11th round and gave him an above-slot $347,500 bonus. Grissom impressed in a solid pro debut in the Rookie-level Arizona League, and the Braves brought him to the alternate training site in 2020.

    SCOUTING REPORT: Grissom has an advanced offensive game with solid bat-to-ball skills and a good feel for the strike zone. He makes plenty of contact and could develop solid-average or better power as he continues to add strength to his 6-foot-3 frame and learns to elevate the ball. Scouts noted his swing sometimes flattened out in high school and he hit the ball on the ground nearly half the time in his pro debut. Currently a shortstop, Grissom will play both third and second base in 2021 to try and develop some defensive versatility. He has solid hands and arm strength, but his range is stretched at shortstop.

    THE FUTURE: The Braves hope Grissom turns into a contact hitter with some power who can play around the infield. He'll make his full-season debut in 2021.

  16. 16. Freddy Tarnok | RHP
    Freddy Tarnok
    Born: Nov 24, 1998
    Bats: R Throws: R
    Ht.: 6'3" Wt.: 185
    Drafted/Signed: HS--Riverview, Fla., 2017 (3rd round).
    Signed By: Justin Clark.

    TRACK RECORD: Tarnok was a two-way player in high school the Braves drafted as a pitcher. For someone new to pitching full-time, he held his own in his full-season debut at low Class A Rome but hit a wall with a 4.87 ERA in 19 starts at high Class A Florida in 2019. Tarnok spent 2020 working out remotely at a facility in Florida. He did not participate in instructional league after he dropped a weight on his foot and broke a toe.

    SCOUTING REPORT: Tarnok spent the summer working to get a better feel for his delivery. His fastball previously peaked at 95 mph but ran up to 99 mph in bullpen sessions during his remote workouts. His changeup is one of the best in the Braves system and he throws it with confidence to both lefties and righties. Tarnok is still working to settle on a breaking ball. He has toyed with both a curveball and a slider and Braves officials prefer his slider at the moment. Tarnok has steadily improved his control each year, but it's still fringe-average.

    THE FUTURE: Tarnok has progressed but needs to show it will hold. He'll see Double-A in 2021.

  17. 17. Ricky DeVito | RHP
    Ricky DeVito
    Born: Aug 21, 1998
    Bats: B Throws: R
    Ht.: 6'3" Wt.: 195

    Devito is currently on the 7-day injured list but was impressive in his five starts with High-A Rome, posting a 2.66 ERA with 27 strikeouts (12.0 K/9) and seven walks (3.1 BB/9) while showing a power sinker in the mid 90s and a loud split-change that could be an out-pitch for him.

  18. 18. Joey Estes | RHP
    Joey Estes
    Born: Oct 8, 2001
    Bats: R Throws: R
    Ht.: 6'2" Wt.: 190

    Drafted in the 16th round out of high school in 2019, Estes was one of the younger pitchers in Low-A, and he was an impressive strike thrower over 13 starts, with a 2.98 ERA, 79 strikeouts (11.2 K/9) and 16 walks (2.3 BB/9). He throws a three-pitch mix with a fastball that could be a future plus offering, and a solid slider and changeup. Estes is undersized and has some stiffness in his delivery, but it’s hard to not like his advanced feel for pitching.

  19. 19. Indigo Diaz | RHP
    Indigo Diaz
    Born: Oct 14, 1998
    Bats: R Throws: R
    Ht.: 6'5" Wt.: 250

    Diaz posted the best strikeout rate in High-A East (18.0 K/9) before being promoted to Double-A Mississippi, and posted a 0.83 ERA with 63 strikeouts and just nine walks in 32.2 innings at the two levels. Diaz was an unheralded 27th-rounder out of Michigan State but worked on his body and his fastball ticked up in response, with a vertical slider that pairs nicely with it out of the pen.

  20. 20. Darius Vines | RHP
    Darius Vines
    Born: Apr 30, 1998
    Bats: R Throws: R
    Ht.: 6'1" Wt.: 190

    The 2019 draft is shaping up like a strong one for Atlanta, and Vines is another reason why. He was more advanced than the hitters he faced in Low-A and High-A, with a four-pitch mix he showed excellent feel for. His fastball was just average, but his secondaries played up thanks to his ability to land them. Seeing how his stuff plays against more advanced hitters will be telling for the seventh round Cal State Bakersfield product.

  21. 21. Daysbel Hernandez | RHP
    Daysbel Hernandez
    Born: Sep 15, 1996
    Bats: R Throws: R
    Ht.: 5'10" Wt.: 220
    Drafted/Signed: Cuba, 2017.
    Signed By: Rolando Petit.

    TRACK RECORD: Hernandez spent two seasons pitching for Pinar Del Rio in Cuba's major league, Serie Nacional, and signed with the Braves for $190,000 in 2017. He spent 2019 as the closer at high Class A Florida and got back on the field in 2020 during instructional league.

    SCOUTING REPORT: Hernandez has some of the most electric stuff in the Braves system. He pitches with a powerful fastball/slider combination out of the bullpen, with his heater consistently in the 96-99 mph range and his slider a plus weapon. Hernandez had the highest swinging strike rate in the Florida State League among pitchers who threw at least 50 innings and the fifth-highest in all of high Class A. What holds Hernandez back is his control, which was below-average in the FSL and downright troubling when he walked 10 batters in 11.1 innings in the Arizona Fall League. The Braves were impressed with how polished he looked at instructional league, so the hope is he has taken a step forward. He has the demeanor, mentality and stuff to pitch in high-leverage situations.

    THE FUTURE: Hernandez is one of the Braves' better relief prospects. He has late-game potential.

  22. 22. Alex Jackson | C
    Alex Jackson
    Born: Dec 25, 1995
    Bats: R Throws: R
    Ht.: 6'2" Wt.: 215
    Drafted/Signed: HS--San Diego, 2014 (1st round).
    Signed By: Gary Patchett (Mariners).

    TRACK RECORD: Jackson's won BA's High School Player of the Year Award and was the sixth overall pick in 2014, but he flopped in the Mariners' system and was traded to the Braves after the 2016 season for Max Povse and Rob Whalen. The Braves moved Jackson from the outfield to catcher, his original position, and he began to regain his footing. He made his major league debut in 2019 and returned to Atlanta in 2020, albeit for just five games.

    SCOUTING REPORT: Jackson's loudest tool is his raw power. He hits titanic home runs in batting practice and earns the occasional 80 grade, but he doesn't get to it in games. Jackson is a prolific free swinger who strikes out frequently and is a bottom-of-the-scale hitter. He rarely makes contact, but hits the ball hard when he does. Jackson has improved dramatically as a defender over the last few years and now has a chance to be solid-average behind the plate. His framing metrics are good and his plus arm strength allowed him to throw out 50% of basestealers at Triple-A Gwinnett in 2019.

    THE FUTURE: Jackson's improved defense and raw power give him a chance to be a backup catcher. He won't be more unless his hitting ability improves dramatically.

  23. 23. Victor Vodnik | RHP
    Victor Vodnik
    Born: Oct 9, 1999
    Bats: R Throws: R
    Ht.: 6'0" Wt.: 200
    Drafted/Signed: HS--Rialto, Calif., 2018 (4th round).
    Signed By: Kevin Martin.

    TRACK RECORD: Vodnik was the first player drafted out of Rialto (Calif.) High since Ricky Nolasco in 2001. He was plenty raw, but the Braves signed him for an above-slot $200,000 because of his natural arm strength. After a rough pro debut, Vodnik posted a 2.93 ERA in 23 appearances for low Class A Rome in 2019, working mostly in long relief. The Braves brought him to the alternate training site late in 2020 and included him in instructional league.

    SCOUTING REPORT: Vodnik is undersized but strong. He fires an above-average fastball that sits at 94 mph and touches 98. His breaking ball is slurvy, looking more like a slider some days and like a curveball on others. He shows natural ability to spin the ball, but developing a more consistent shape will be key moving forward. Vodnik made progress with a changeup that previously lacked consistency at the alternate site. He'll need a reliable third pitch if he wants to start. His control was a question mark when he was drafted, but he's kept his walks reasonable so far in his pro career.

    THE FUTURE: Vodnik likely ends up a hard-throwing reliever. Some believe he might be able to start.

  24. 24. Cal Conley | SS
    Cal Conley
    Born: Jul 17, 1999
    Ht.: 0'0"

    Conley signed with Miami out of high school and actually was a Hurricane for one semester before transferring to Texas Tech. He was draft-eligible last year as a redshirt freshman, but went unpicked in the abbreviated five-round draft. That won’t happen again this year. He provided consistent offense in the middle of Texas Tech’s lineup while also anchoring the infield defense. He almost single-handedly beat Army in a regional game with three hits and two home runs. As a pro, Conley projects as more of a well-rounded player than one with a lot of clear plus tools. The switch-hitter has pull power from both sides of the plate, and can poke a ball out down the line to the opposite field, but he projects to have fringe-average power with a wood bat. He puts together consistent at-bats and should be an average hitter. Defensively, Conley is athletic and he shows solid range going to his left. It’s when he has to go deep in the hole that his limitations at shortstop become apparent. If his momentum is taking him away from first, he doesn’t have the arm strength to make the play. It sometimes limits his range as well, as he will try to field backhanders to get his feet set for the throw. He has a solid internal clock. He should be able to stay in the dirt because his hands work well, but he probably fits better at second base long term.

  25. 25. William Woods | RHP
    William Woods
    Born: Dec 29, 1998
    Bats: R Throws: R
    Ht.: 6'3" Wt.: 200
    Drafted/Signed: Dyersburg (Tenn.) JC, 2018 (23rd round).
    Signed By: JD French.

    TRACK RECORD: Woods was a low-profile prospect out of Dyersburg (Tenn.) JC in 2018, signing for just $125,000 as a 23rd-round pick. After struggling in his debut in the Rookie-level Gulf Coast League, Woods' velocity ticked up in 2019 and again in 2020, when he impressed Braves officials at the alternate training site.

    SCOUTING REPORT: In a year when it was hard for any prospect to enhance his stock, Woods was one of the biggest risers in Atlanta's system. By filling out a frame that's now 6-foot-3, 200 pounds, Woods' fastball has climbed into the mid-to-high 90s. The pitch has solid carry and plays well alongside a hard slider that has a chance to be above-average. His third pitch is a changeup that is still developing but shows promise Woods will need to improve his control. He's walked 4.9 batters per nine innings over his minor league career and is a below-average strike-thrower overall.

    THE FUTURE: The Braves have split Woods between starting and relieving. With his velocity gains, he's a potential breakout candidate for 2021.

  26. 26. Kasey Kalich | RHP
    Kasey Kalich
    Born: Apr 25, 1998
    Bats: R Throws: R
    Ht.: 6'3" Wt.: 220
    Drafted/Signed: Texas A&M, 2019 (4th round).
    Signed By: Darin Vaughan.

    TRACK RECORD: Kalich transferred to Texas A&M from Blinn (Texas) JC and struck out 13.5 batters per nine in the Aggies' bullpen in 2019. The Braves liked his stuff in relief and drafted him in the fourth round. Kalich posted a 1.31 ERA with 22 strikeouts in 20.2 innings at low Class A Rome in an impressive pro debut.

    SCOUTING REPORT: Kalich overwhelms hitters with a powerful two-pitch combination. His fastball sits in the mid-90s and reaches 98 mph. His slider is firm enough that some evaluators label it a cutter. Both pitches have above-average potential. Kalich has worked on a curveball and changeup, but he doesn't rely much on either of those pitches. He dominated despite below-average control in his pro debut and will need to improve against higher-level hitters.

    THE FUTURE: Kalich has the stuff to pitch in late relief. He'll get there if his control improves.

  27. 27. Jared Johnson | RHP
    Jared Johnson
    Born: Mar 15, 2001
    Bats: R Throws: R
    Ht.: 6'2" Wt.: 225

    The Braves were careful with Johnson’s workload and pitch count, throwing him once a week or so and never letting him throw more than 69 pitches in an outing in 2021. His results were mixed as his command was very much still a work in progress, but when his stuff was over the plate it was impressive, with a fastball in the 95-100 mph range and a hard slider in the 87-92 mph range.

  28. 28. Trey Riley | RHP
    Trey Riley
    Born: Apr 21, 1998
    Bats: L Throws: R
    Ht.: 6'3" Wt.: 205
    Drafted/Signed: John A. Logan (Ill.) JC, 2018 (5th round).
    Signed By: Kevin Barry.

    Riley always showed big pure stuff going back to his time with Logan (Ill.) JC, but this spring he took a step forward with his control in a full-time reliever role. He threw his fastball in the 94-98 mph range with a good slider, but was walking a career-low 2.5 batters per nine over 25.2 innings of work with High-A Rome.

  29. 29. Justin Dean | OF
    Justin Dean
    Born: Dec 6, 1996
    Bats: R Throws: R
    Ht.: 5'6" Wt.: 185
    Drafted/Signed: Lenoir-Rhyne (N.C.), 2018 (17th round).
    Signed By: Billy Best.

    Dean’s strikeout rate ballooned a bit in Double-A, but his speed and solid walk rate at the plate allowed him to get on base at a solid clip (.367) in his first stint at the level, though that was supported by a .403 BABIP. Dean played almost exclusively in center field and is a good defender there.

  30. 30. Trey Harris | OF
    Trey Harris
    Born: Jan 15, 1996
    Bats: R Throws: R
    Ht.: 5'8" Wt.: 215
    Drafted/Signed: Missouri, 2018 (32nd round).
    Signed By: JD French.

    TRACK RECORD: After struggling his first three seasons at Missouri, Harris hit .316/.413/.516 in a breakout senior season in 2018. The Braves drafted him in the 32nd round and gave him a $10,000 bonus. Harris has continued to hit in pro ball. He owns a .317/.395/.480 career slash line in two seasons between the Class A levels and Double-A.

    SCOUTING REPORT: Harris has a fringe-average hit tool and solid power potential. He is an aggressive hitter who doesn't walk much, but he has a great feel to square up fastballs. Most of his power goes to his pull side, though he has the strength to use the opposite field as well. Harris will need to monitor his weight and could slow down to an average or fringy runner. His average arm plays better in left field than right. Braves officials believe he's a better defender than he gets credit for.

    THE FUTURE: Harris is set to start back at Double-A in 2021. It will be a good test to see if he can handle upper-level pitching.

View Players 11-30

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