Atlanta Braves Prospect Report: Augusta Greenjackets Edition
Remember Spencer Schwellenbach? The 2021 second-round pick finally made his organizational debut this year. After being drafted, it was revealed he would miss time due to surgery.
It is nice to finally see Schwellenbach (7th-ranked prospect) get in some game action. After 7 starts, 20.2 IP, he sports a 1.74 ERA, 3.65 FIP, and 4.42 xFIP. He is only striking out 19.0% of batters and walking 9.5%, which is not ideal.
There is some concern that he is not missing many bats, especially considering he is 23 and much older than a lot of his competition in A-ball. On the other hand, he is working his way back from a lengthy injury and might not be fully comfortable.
I imagine the Braves will want to get him to a higher level soon seeing as he is older but they also probably will not want to rush him due to the recent injury. He is one to keep an eye on and we might want to ignore some of the stats as he continues to work his way back.
Shortstop is still a fun topic for discussion around the Atlanta Braves, right? While Orlando Arcia has won the job and doing a tremendous job in 2023, there is still a question of who will be the long-term shortstop in Atlanta.
Ambioris Tavarez, currently the Braves 9th ranked prospect, is one of the few in-house options that could potentially take over at short in a few years with the right development. Defensively, he looks like he could stick at the position as he continues to age. Some describe his game as "smooth." Shortstop is not an easy position defensively, so hopefully this holds true and he can stick there defensively.
The most significant question mark is going to be his bat. He will have to show something with the stick and that has just not happened yet. Over 163 plate appearances, Tavarez is hitting .184/.288/.284 1 HR, 12 R, 11 RBI, 6 SB, .290 wOBA, & 70 wRC+. This includes an 8.6% walk rate and 42.9% strikeout rate.
Not ideal. Now, Tavarez is still only 19, so there is time for the bat to come around. The Braves can be patient with him and let him work through the kinks in Augusta for all of 2023.
The sixth-round pick in the 2022 draft, Seth Keller currently ranks as the Braves 20th prospect. Keller is pitching well in Augusta, through 6 games (2 starts), he has pitched to a 1.17 ERA, 3.02 FIP, and 3.76 xFIP over 23 IP. While Keller has not started every game, it is important to note that he has pitched 3 innings in every outing. So he is getting a good bit of work with each appearance.
Keller is currently striking out 25.6% and walking 3.5%. He is showing solid potential and justifying the Braves' decision to go well over-slot for him in the sixth round. He has a fastball that can reach the mid-90s, with a solid changeup as well. There is hope his slider will continue to develop as well.
There is questions on if he will be able to handle a full starters workload in the future, but the Braves can be patient with the young pitcher and bring him along at his pace. The hope is he could continue to add strength and athleticism as he ages, meaning the potential is there for him to turn into a steal in the 6th round.
My best guess is he will likely spend most, if not all, of the year in Augusta.