Atlanta Braves 2023 Preseason Top 30 Prospects List: 16-20

Jun 6, 2021; Nashville, TN, USA; Georgia Tech Yellow Jackets infielder Luke Waddell (7) throws to first for the final out of the first inning against the Vanderbilt Commodores in the Nashville Regional of the NCAA Baseball Tournament at Hawkins Field. Mandatory Credit: Christopher Hanewinckel-USA TODAY Sports
Jun 6, 2021; Nashville, TN, USA; Georgia Tech Yellow Jackets infielder Luke Waddell (7) throws to first for the final out of the first inning against the Vanderbilt Commodores in the Nashville Regional of the NCAA Baseball Tournament at Hawkins Field. Mandatory Credit: Christopher Hanewinckel-USA TODAY Sports /

Well hello again everyone and welcome to our Atlanta Braves 2023 Preseason Top 30 Prospects List. Ever since I began covering the Braves, the minor leagues have been a labor of love. While the Braves’ system isn’t in the best state after several trades and successful promotions in addition to the usual attrition, there are still a ton of interesting prospects throughout the minors. In case you missed it, here is the list so far

Honorable Mentions

Braves Prospects 26-30

Braves Prospects 21-25

Prospect rankings are, at their core, a very qualitative and subjective thought exercise and nothing more. I do take a lot of data and information from scouts into account, but at the end of the day, a lot of who gets ranked above or below who is based on feel. I take into account proximity to the majors, upside, floors, reliever risk, future defensive homes, available information, and a whole lot of other things.

Saying all of that, it is extraordinarily likely that we will get a whole lot of things wrong and/or change our minds as all positions on the list are fluid. Prospects surprise us in good and bad ways all the time and that is okay. As a general rule of thumb, I wouldn’t get too hung up on small differences in rankings as it is likely that the #12 and #13 (for example) players are very similar in value.

Below you will find our Braves prospects 16-20. Of the course of the next several days, we will be rolling out the entire list. Don’t worry, we’ll make sure to include links to the previous installments in each post so you can catch up if need be. Enjoy!

Atlanta Braves 2023 Top Prospects 16-20

20. Luke Waddell – 2B/SS

5th Round Pick – 2021 MLB Draft

Coming in at number 20 on our list is infielder Luke Waddell who was drafted out of Georgia Tech in 2021. Waddell is another interesting case where if he hit for power consistently, he would most certainly ranked higher…but he also wouldn’t have been available for the Braves to take in the fifth round of the 2021 draft as a senior, either, if that were the case. Waddell ascended to Double-A quickly after being drafted and for stretches, he was one of Mississippi’s best offensive players in 2022 despite his limitations as an impact bat.

While he has a few warts, his pure hitting ability from the left side offsets some of that lost value. However, being 24 years old (again, he was a senior when he was drafted) means the clock is really ticking on getting him through the minor league levels. His age compounded another issue which was that he was injured from the end of May through the end of the season. The rumor is that he was dealing with a back injury, but losing that developmental time and the potential for the after effects to linger into 2023 gives us pause with a player with some issues with his profile already.

19. Douglas Glod – OF

2021/22 IFA signee

While Diego Benitez was the gem of the Braves’ most recent international free agent class, Douglas Glod is no slouch himself. While close to physically maxed out already (assuming what we here from scouts is correct), Glod has a track record of hitting as an amateur and he has the potential to be able to play all three outfield spots. He does have a compact frame, but he does have some pop and the ability to run. His pro debut in the Dominican Summer League was decidedly meh with a .708 OPS, but that wasn’t really out of line one way or the other in terms of how others performed in the DSL last season.

Glod has a chance to ascend the rankings significantly, but its going to require him to really maximize his physical tools. At 5’10, there is a certain lack of physical projection for him, but it isn’t like we haven’t seen smaller guys perform well in the past. We’ll know more this year when he will presumably see time, at the very least, in rookie ball, but we are willing to be a bit optimistic here to start based on known information and his substantial signing bonus as an IFA.

18. David McCabe – 3B

4th Round Pick – 2022 MLB Draft

After going pitcher heavy on day one of the 2022 MLB Draft, day two saw Atlanta start to grab some position players including snagging third baseman David McCabe from the college ranks in the fourth round. While it is fair to wonder if McCabe will stick at third base going forward after a less than great start there as a pro, he has a track record as a power hitter who should hit for decent average as well.

McCabe’s pro debut at the plate went reasonably well in showing his ability to get on base, but he wasn’t really able to show off his power or hitting ability in that 28 game sample. We are still reasonably high on McCabe’s bat and are chalking up his relative struggles to fatigue at the end of a long year combined with adjusting to life as a pro. However, the concerns about him having to move over to first base or even DH are going to put a lot of pressure on his bat, so he doesn’t have forever to figure things out.

17. Seth Keller – RHP

6th Round Pick – 2022 MLB Draft

The Braves were not shy with their bonus pool when it came to adding pitchers from the 2022 draft as Seth Keller was a substantial overslot signing (he signed for $697,500 while his sixth round slot was just $275,100). The prep lefty already has three pitches with a low 90’s fastball that can go a tick higher at times, a decent breaking ball, and a very promising changeup that plays well off of his fastball thanks to consistent arm speed and a good tunnel.

There is some real risk that Keller ends up in the bullpen as he is a smaller guy with some effort in his delivery, but he isn’t a guy that is relying on velo that he gains from bending the laws of physics, so it isn’t a given that he won’t be a starter long-term. He only made a couple short appearances last year as a pro, so its hard to glean much as to where he currently is based on just a couple of innings. As a result, we are going to be relatively cautious with how we rank Keller until we can see how he holds up under a starter workload after a regular offseason.

16. Brandol Mezquita – OF

2017 IFA signee

Finally, we have outfielder Brandol Mezquita who has been in the Braves’ system for a quite a while before finally figuring some things out in 2022. Before nagging injuries starting piling up later in the season and impact his performance, Mezquita was a key piece of Augusta’s offense during the first half and he was showing off an improved hit tool and some pop at times.

We are being a bit bullish here in putting Mezquita firmly in the teens despite his drop off in the second half last year. He hit the ball to all fields and has plenty of physical tools with the ability to run and he has some real raw power. If he can cut down on the strikeouts (which is a real concern with his approach at the plate) and get to his physical talent, he could be a fun guy to watch in 2023 and beyond.