Atlanta Braves Prospect Report: Rome Braves Edition
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, now moving over to High-A Rome!
Now, Rome does not have as many top 30 prospects according to MLB pipeline, but they have some fun names to keep an eye on! How are they performing?
Prospect rankings based on MLB Pipeline.
Starting off hot with a name that is gaining some popularity in Braves country. Ignacio Alvarez was taken in the 5th round of the 2022 draft and currently sits as the Braves' 15th-ranked prospect! The thought during the draft was maybe the Braves found an undercover gem and Alvarez has done nothing but support that claim.
So far in 2023, Alvarez is hitting .307/.463/.386 1 HR, 17 R, 28 RBI, 8 SB, a .412 wOBA, & 145 wRC+ over 149 plate appearances. It is an interesting batting line.
For starters, he has shown a great feel for the plate and is taking walks at an elite rate. This year, he is walking 20.8% of the time while only striking out 12.8%. Since being drafted by the Braves, Alvarez has had 271 plate appearances, he has walked 57 times (21.0%) while only striking out 34 times (12.5%). He is willing to take his walks.
Next, the lack of power is concerning. He will need to improve upon his .079 ISO at some point but I think the power is there. His last year in college he hit .370/.494/.582, and while that may not have been against the toughest competition, it makes me think there is more power we just have not seen from Nacho yet.
It does also draw concern that maybe his current batting average is not sustainable, but his current .358 BABIP is not ridiculously high. I think Alvarez just happens to have a plus hit tool combined with an elite eye. We need the power to show up eventually, but nobody should ever really be too concerned with someone getting on base 46% of the time.
Defensively, there is questions on if he can handle shortstop as he grows and fills out his body. Currently though, he does show a strong enough arm and good instincts to handle the position. He might be better off at third or second base eventually, but the Braves are going to give him every shot to stick at short. Seeing as the Braves still have to figure out that position long-term, it makes perfect sense to give him a long leash to see if he can handle the position.
Brandol Mezquita, the Braves' 17th-ranked prospect, is a bit of an interesting story. He was one of the players who had his deal nullified back in 2017 as a part of the international signing infractions but he stuck with the Braves.
It then took him a while but he really impressed in the complex league in 2021 and then looked really good at Augusta in 2022. However, he has struggled to figure it out at High-A Rome. In 99 plate appearances this year, he is hitting .189/.255/.322 2 HR, 14 R, 8 RBI, 4 SB, .267 wOBA, & 56 wRC+. He is also the opposite of Alvarez in that he is too aggressive at the plate and it has led to a 39.4% strikeout rate.
He is 21, but there are still a lot of raw tools that make Mezquita appealing as a prospect. He just has to figure out how to consistently utilize them. Unfortunately, he also does not look like someone that can play center field long-term (only played right field this year), and that means he will really need the bat to start coming around.
He is also rule 5 eligible, meaning if he ever does start putting it together, he could be at risk each offseason. While the rule-5 draft is mostly used to find pitching, a team might take a shot on a toolsy outfielder. Mezquita has to put it together first though.