9. Vaughn Grissom
Updated Rank: 6
Personal Rank: 6
Updated Personal Rank: 4
Vaughn Grissom comes to the Atlanta Braves out of Paul J. Hagerty High School in Oviedo, Florida. The Braves selected him in the 11th round of the 2019 draft and the returns so far look like a steal.
In 2019, Grissom got in 44 games at rookie ball, hitting .288/.361/.400 3 HR, 22 R, 23 RBI, 3 SB, .366 wOBA, and 120 wRC+. This includes an 8.7% walk rate, and only a 14.7% strikeout rate.
An impressive start. Impressive enough that the Braves brought the 19-year-old to the alternate site during the 2020 season. They saw something in Grissom and made sure he was getting to work with the team despite the lost minor league season.
He rewarded the organization with a stellar 2021 season. Grissom was the main attraction in Augusta, hitting .311/.402/.446 5 HR, 52 R, 33 RBI, 13 SB, .396 wOBA, and 135 wRC+.
Grissom also proved his defensive versatility. He is listed as a shortstop but played several games at both second and third base this year. The ability to play multiple defensive positions makes him much more appealing as a prospect.
The great year at Augusta was rewarded with an end of season promotion to High-A Rome where he played 12 games. In the short stint, he hit .378/.519/.595 2 HR, 12 R, 10 RBI, 3 SB, .478 wOBA, and 196 wRC+. A short sample, but he walked in 21.2% of plate appearances and only struck out five times.
The main thing that pops out for me is the elite plate discipline for a young prospect. He walked 45 times in 380 plate appearances (11.8%)! That is phenomenal for Grissom’s age.
It is possible that the time spent at Gwinnett in 2020 benefitted Grissom’s development at the plate. The Braves have a plethora of talented arms, and Grissom spent months facing them, working on his game.
He appears to have more power than originally anticipated. He is currently listed as 6’3 180 pounds, so he could add more as the frame fills out.
The hit tool is also far more advanced at this age than most projected. He also has the ability to play three defensive positions well.
Combine this with an advanced feel at the plate and at recognizing pitches, and we may be looking at the next special prospect in the Braves system. So much so, that some are wondering if this is the shortstop of the future in Atlanta.
I think he has the ability to be a special prospect and I come in as the highest on Grissom. It would not shock me to see Grissom being ranked inside the Braves top 3 by midseason.
He should start back in Rome, and the Braves may give him a shot in Mississippi this year as well.