11. Braden Shewmake
Personal Rank: 16
When the Atlanta Braves used their first-round pick on Braden Shewmake out of Texas A&M back in 2019, the thought would be his hit tool would carry him through the minors. Unfortunately, Shewmake struggled with the hit tool in what was a disappointing 2021 at the plate.
In 83 games at Mississippi, Shewmake hit .228/.271/.401 12 HR, 40 R, 40 RBI, 4 SB, .296 wOBA, and 84 wRC+. This includes a 4.9% walk rate & 21.8% strikeout rate. A disappointing season indeed.
Especially for a prospect whose “calling card” was thought to be his hit tool. The low walk rate becomes a bigger issue if Shewmake struggles to hit.
Looking at a silver lining, his 12 HR is the most in any season, college or professional. Mississippi is known more as a pitcher’s park, so this development was nice to see.
At 6’4, there was hope Shewmake could fill out and add more power as he aged. If the power development is real, then it will help alleviate the pain if the hit tool is not as good as originally thought.
The biggest positive of Shewmake’s 2021 season was his defense. It was thought he would need to move off of shortstop in the future, but he flashed the leather throughout the season that has the most confidence he can handle the position.
The original projection was a solid hit tool with average power for a guy who could play multiple infield positions. A super-utility player that drew a few comparisons to Ben Zobrist in his early years. Now, it looks like he could stick as a major league shortstop defensively.
I come in as the lowest on Shewmake. I view him as a potential major leaguer, but see him as having a limited ceiling. I do think there could be a position for him as a super-utility man in the future. Whether that is with the Braves or another organization remains to be seen.