Atlanta Braves Prospect Report: Gwinnett Stripers

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We know how the Atlanta Braves are doing, but how are things going down on the farm? How about we take a look at some of the Braves' minor leaguers, finishing up with the AAA Gwinnett Stripers.

AAA is often a place where organizations will hide their organizational depth, taking up spots from top prospects. However, the Braves do have some fun names to watch in Gwinnett.

As always, rankings are based on MLB Pipeline.

Braden Shewmake

Braden Shewmake currently sits as the Braves' 6th-ranked prospect and joined the organization as their first-round pick back in 2019. It was an interesting flip for Shewmake as he was initially seen as a bat-first guy who would need to move off of short but that is now the exact opposite.

Defensively, Shewmake grades as one of the best shortstops in the minor leagues by the metrics. The offense will be what determines how successful he can be in the majors. So far in AAA, in 152 plate appearances, Shewmake is hitting .217/.283/.420 6 HR, 24 R, 22 RBI, 10 SB with a .308 wOBA & 70 wRC+.

Shewmake did reach the major leagues for a few weeks due to an injury to Ehire Adrainza and Vaughn Grissom's struggles. It was just a cup of coffee though, as he only appeared in 2 games with just 4 plate appearances.

The glove will give him a shot with how elite it appears to be. If he could harness the hitting ability that scouts thought he had coming out of Texas A&M, he could have a successful major league career. Even if he is just an average hitter, he would be valuable with his defensive play.

I do think he is the first call the Braves make if there is an injury to someone in the infield. This also makes me think he might not be used in a trade this deadline because he is the emergency option in AAA.

If he gets the bat going, this conversation around Shewmake becomes a lot more fun.

Darius Vines

Darius Vines joined the Braves in 2019 as their seventh round draft pick and currently sits as their 8th ranked prospect. Unfortunately, Vines suffered an undisclosed injury back during the Spring and has not pitched for Gwinnett. It is a weird situation because there has been almost no information surrounding Vines and when he might return.

He was added to the 40 man roster this past offseason and there was thought he could contribute to the major league roster in 2023.

Vines throw a low 90s fastball that does the job but is nothing special. His calling card is an elite changeup that he commands well and gets plenty of swings and misses. It is described as deceptive with plenty of depth that should be successful at the major league level. He also features a low 80s slider.

One scouting report says Vines will "throw the kitchen sink at you." At his ceiling, he is a backend starter. Personally, I think he could see success in a bullpen. Hopefully whatever Vines is dealing with is nothing of major concern and he will get back to a major league diamond soon.

Dylan Dodd

We know this guy! Dylan Dodd has played a decent role at the major league level although he currently sits in Gwinnett. The third-round pick back in 2021 was a welcomed surprise once he reached the Braves organization. He rose up the rankings quickly and earned a shot with the Braves to begin the year.

In Atlanta, Dodd has started 4 games, pitching 20.1 innings with a 6.64 ERA, 7.84 xERA, 6.38 FIP, 5.94 xFIP, 5.59 SIERA, 10.8% strikeout rate, and 5.4% walk rate. In Gwinnett, he has started 7 games, pitching 30 innings, with a 7.80 ERA, 6.62 FIP, 4.91 xFIP, 22.5% strikeout rate, and 9.4% walk rate.

Not been a good 2023 for Dodd thus far. In my opinion, he will need to figure out how to miss more bats to be successful in the majors. One scouting report says he is the left handed version of fellow prospect Darius Vines. Dodd has the better fastball while Vines sports the better changeup.

Ultimately, Dodd is most likely a fourth starter in the big leagues at his peak. He will need to do a better job of creating swings and misses to get there though. Dodd has been up and down three times already, meaning he can only be optioned twice more this year. Meaning it is likely he will spend the rest of the year in Gwinnett unless an injury changes things.

This will be good for Dodd, who still needs a bit of polishing up. He could be a valuable piece to a major league rotation by 2024. The biggest question is will he be in the Braves organization after the trade deadline.

Roddery Munoz

Roddery Munoz joined the Braves during the international signing period in 2018 and has worked his way up the ranks. He joined the Braves 40 man roster this past offseason.

So far in 2023, he has pitched 21.1 innings, with a 5.06 ERA, 5.74 FIP, 5.50 xFIP, 21.2% strikeout rate, and 16.2% walk rate. He has fully transitioned to the bullpen with Gwinnett which is where he projects long-term anyways.

He is a two-pitch pitcher, with a fastball that can reach 99 but the slider is his elite offering. He has a changeup but does not show it often. Munoz figures out how to cut down on the walks and will find himself in a major league bullpen. He has the ability to be a slider heavy reliever for a long time if all goes well.

Tanner Gordon

Tanner Gordon is a relatively unknown name even as the Braves' 28th ranked prospect. The sixth round pick back in 2019 has been a great development story thus far for the Braves.

He started in AA Mississippi, starting 5 games, pitching 27.2 innings, with a 1.63 ERA, 2.02 FIP, 3.79 xFIP, 24.8% strikeout rate, and 3.7% walk rate. He was promoted to AAA Gwinnett, and has pitched in 4 games, starting 3, pitching 15.1 innings, with a 13.50 ERA, 5.06 FIP, 5.44 xFIP, 16.5% strikeout rate, and 10.1% walk rate.

While the numbers in AAA are not where anyone wants them currently, plus it is a small sample size. The development of the big 6'5 pitcher has been fun to watch. In 2021, the fastball sat at 90.5 mph, it jumped to 93 mph in 2022, and is up to 95 mph now. There is some belief there is another mile or two to add to it as well. The fastball plays up already with great spin rates and carry up in the zone. The biggest question will be the development of a solid secondary pitch. He throws a slider and changeup that are fine and play off the fastball well, but will need to be a touch better down the line.

While he is starting mostly now, he feels more like a reliever in the future.

Vaughn Grissom

I know that Vaughn Grissom is not technically a prospect but he is still a prospect. He had less than 100 plate appearances about A ball before being called up to the majors due to a variety of injuries and a failed Robinson Cano experience.

He performed well enough in Atlanta in 2022 to earn him a shot to win the starting shortstop job in 2023 despite the concerns around his defense. I will not dwell on Grissom's 2023 with the Braves but it was bad. It probably stopped any thoughts of him being the shortstop of the future.

He has played well in Gwinnett though, showing his potential with the bat. In 140 plate appearances in AAA, he is hitting .308/.403/.475 2 HR, 23 R, 12 RBI, 5 SB with a .393 wOBA, and 124 wRC+. Since going back to Gwinnett, Grissom is hitting .278/.374/.418 1 HR, 15 R, 8 RBI, 3 SB with a .363 wOBA and 105 wRC+.

In Gwinnett, he is walking 11.4% of the time while only striking out in 12.1% of his plate appearances. The talent is there offensively. He is only 22 years old, so there is still plenty of room to grow as well.

The issue is where does he play defensively? In Gwinnett, he has only played second base and shortstop. He does not appear to be able to handle shortstop in the majors without a significant improvement and second base is locked up in Atlanta by a guy named Ozzie Albies. The best shot he has in Atlanta is a potential move to the outfield and the Braves have not shown a major interest in doing that.

That brings us to a popular topic around Grissom, a trade. He one of the best trade chips the Braves have. How much trade value he has is up for debate but there will probably be teams interested in Grissom's bat. Will he end up somewhere else by the deadline, or do the Braves play it patiently with Grissom and give him another shot in 2023 or maybe 2024?