3 reasons why exciting Braves prospect Jhancarlos Lara should be on your radar

Getting to know the Braves #13 prospect
Tampa Bay Rays v Atlanta Braves
Tampa Bay Rays v Atlanta Braves / Matthew Grimes Jr./Atlanta Braves/GettyImages
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The Braves organization added a huge arm back into the foray with the activation of Jhancarlos Lara. Lara, considered the organization's 13th rated prospect according to MLB Pipeline, was signed back during the 2020-21 International Signing Period - when the Braves were still suffering from the international sanctions due to the John Coppolella controversy.

During that signing period, it was Ambioris Tavarez that received the bulk of the pool of money that the Braves had access to, signing for $1,500,000 - essentially all of their budget for the period.

Using the benefit of time travel and traveling back to 2024, the jury is still out on Ambioris Tavarez, who while dynamite in the field, is struggling to hit for the Augusta GreenJackets. However, our focus now turns to a pitcher out of the Dominican who signed during that period for just $10,000 - that pitcher? Jhancarlos Lara.

A big fastball always plays

Not much was known about Lara back in 2020-21, he wasn't heavily scouted, which can be seen by that $10,000 pricetag attached to him, but that didn't stop Lara at all. His career started with a bang - collecting a 1.78 ERA over 10 games (9 starts) in the Dominican Summer League. He limited hitters to just a .182 batting average against, but struggled with consistent command by walking 26 in those 30.1 innings which elevated his WHIP to 1.52.

The following year Jhancarlos Lara really made a name for himself with what he could become. He went 4-7 in 18 games for the Augusta GreenJackets but had a fantastic 12 K/9 in 72 innings pitched before being promoted to the then, Rome Braves where he pitched in a pair of games before the season ended.

Plenty of swing and miss stuff from Lara

So why are prospect people talking about Lara all the time? Again, it's what he can do. Lara is primarily a two pitch pitcher with a fastball that regularly hits 100, and sits 96-99. He combines that with an extremely tight spinning slider that darts away from opposing right handed hitters. When everything is clicking - he's nearly untouchable, especially in the minors.

His two pitch mix is more than enough to stand out, and put himself in some notable territory for Braves prospects. You may know the name that tops the following list.

Steady improvement in command

Lara has quickly risen through the ranks, internally, amongst Braves prospects. Braves officials are closely watching his development, and should he show continued improvement with his command he will definitely be in the fray of potentially making the big league team as early as next year. Arms like these don't grow on trees and the Braves know what they have in him. Jhancarlos Lara is an arm to watch, and a name to keep an eye on.

What Can We Expect from Jhancarlos Lara

It really depends on the route that the Braves take with Jhancarlos. If they want to keep him as a starter there is still a good amount of work to be done. Can Lara throw his, what he describes as a second slider, third secondary to keep hitters at bay? The pitch falls more like a changeup so could potentially be used to help neutralize left handed hitters, but as is, can Lara continually spot both pitches at will?

If switched to a reliever, which I believe is the correct route, he will quickly rise through the system should he show continued health. You can't touch 101-102 MPH fastballs, and combine that with a tight spinning slider and you have the makings of a potential elite reliever. If in this role, there's a legitimate chance that Lara could make the big league team next year and while it's doubtful they would plug him in as closer in his first year in the big leagues, there is a serious case for that exact thing. With Raisel Igleasis becoming a free agent in 2026, the Braves could potentially have their closer of the future.

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