Atlanta Braves: Why Yariel Gonzalez is a player to watch in 2022
By Matt Melton
Despite being in a lockout, the Atlanta Braves have made multiple minor league moves in recent weeks, a few of which could prove to be impactful in 2022.
The Atlanta Braves have made multiple minor league signings so far this offseason, with the most notable undoubtedly being veteran reliever Darren O’Day, a right-hander who posted a combined 1.25 ERA across 21.2 IP during the 2019-20 seasons.
While the former Braves reliever will likely see time at the major league level with Atlanta in 2022, there is another notable minor league signing that is worth watching as we approach the eventual 2022 campaign, one who could potentially see time with the major league club as well.
Atlanta Braves minor leaguer Yariel Gonzalez is a player to watch in 2022
Signed by the Braves to a minor league deal and assigned to Triple-A Gwinnett back on December 15, 2021, Yariel Gonzalez is a name to know entering the 2022 season.
An original free agent signing by the St. Louis Cardinals back in 2016, Gonzalez made his professional debut that year as a 22-year-old and went on to spend from 2016-19 in the Cardinals organization.
Released in March of 2020, Gonzalez would spend the 2021 season in the Tigers organization, which turned out to be one of the better years of his career slashing .276/.346/.473 with a career-high 17 home runs.
Spending a majority of last season at the Triple-A level, the 27-year-old could be set for a potential major league call-up in 2022, one that could happen with the Braves. As for what potential role it would be in, look no further than the role former Braves utility man Johan Camargo has played with the Braves in recent years.
Similar to Camargo, Gonzalez is a switch-hitting infielder who has seen extensive time at every infield spot (most notably at third base in 2021), as well as being a strong fielder with similar numbers across the board.
Offensively, Gonzalez’s strikeout totals are a tad bit higher compared to Camargo’s, but the 27-year-old showcases a little more speed on the base paths, as well as similar power.
While it remains to be seen if a major league call-up even happens for Gonzalez in 2022, the switch-hitting infielder’s versatility could be impactful for the Atlanta Braves, especially if injuries were to occur at the major league level.
Regardless of a potential call-up happening or not, Gonzalez is a player to keep an eye on in 2022, especially for the early part of the season.