The Tomahawk Take Top 20 Atlanta Braves Prospects: 6-10

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Braxton Davidson

with a python. Source: BD’s twitter feed.

#8:  OF/1B Braxton Davidson

Yes, the Braves newly-modeled farm system is now so good that a 2014 first round draft pick only barely breaks the top 10.  The interesting part, though, is that of all the prospects we are profiling in the Top 20, Davidson is the only one here because of his hitting tool.

Braxton Davidson is still so young that the signing of his first professional contract was delayed until he turned 18 (last June 18th).  He hails from T.C. Roberson High School in Asheville, NC – a place firmly in Braves Country.  He was ranked 31st entering the draft and taken 32nd.  Oddly enough, he was also a part-time pitcher in high school, showing velocity up to 87 mph.

In the field, he profiles as a first baseman, but for obvious reasons, the Braves will be working him into a corner outfield spot for his early development years, a position that he’s also played often.

Davidson is a patient hitter – working counts, trying to keep walk rates high and strikeout rates low.  He certainly has power potential, hammering 3 home runs in 4 games as a Tournament of the Stars event… one of those guessed to be 500 feet (yeah – that from a kid just turning 18).  He features an advanced, quick stroke and likes to use the whole field.  All of those qualities are things the Braves would love to have in a middle-of-the-lineup hitter.

All that said, Davidson’s first professional foray with wood bats was a bit rough.  Low average (.243, 167 in the GCL and Danville), but the other features were present:  very high walk rates, very high OBP.

He has continued to work consistently on his hitting in the off-season… in fact, he’s had a pretty eventful “off-season” of work, it would seem:

That instagram link?  Yeah:  he’s working on hitting with Albert Pujols.

Projection:  scouting reports place him at a ’60’ score for projected power.  That’s probably Matt Holliday, Todd Helton kind of territory, which likely also matches his future spaces on the field.  Should be an above-average defender as well.  Should start in the outfield and could move to first base when Freddie Freeman‘s contract runs out.

ETA to Majors:  This is a kid who is obviously willing to work hard.  He will still need a couple of years to fill out physically (he’s already 6’2″-3″/210-ish, so he’s got a good start), but once that happens, I would expect a rapid progression.  He could start again in Danville this year, perhaps moving to Carolina at some point.  From there I could see AA in 2016, AAA in 2017, and the majors in 2018 if he is able to hit for average, as his profile suggests.