Atlanta Braves Prospect Report: Rome Braves Edition

Division Series - Philadelphia Phillies v Atlanta Braves - Game One
Division Series - Philadelphia Phillies v Atlanta Braves - Game One / Kevin D. Liles/Atlanta Braves/GettyImages
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Geraldo Quintero

An international free agent from 2018, there was hope that Geraldo Quintero could be a sneaky signing throughout the dark days of the international signing sanctions. The 19th-ranked prospect is more of a throwback to smaller middle infielders who rely on their speed and good defense to make an impact.

He had an impressive 2022, but it has not carried over to 2023 just yet. In 161 plate appearances, Quintero is hitting .231/.306/.301 1 HR, 19 R, 12 RBI, 10 SB, .290 wOBA, & 70 wRC+. His walk rate has dropped from 10.4% to 8.7% which is problematic. If he cannot find a way on base, it will be tough for him to impact the game long-term because it limits his ability to impact the game with his legs.

There is not much there in terms of exit velocity, meaning he is going to need to develop elite bat to ball skills and learn to draw walks. Currently, it looks like opposing pitching staffs are willing to challenge him because they know he is not going to do much damage at this moment.

Luis Arraez has proven that baseball players can succeed with bat control even if they do not consistently smoke the ball. There is a reason there are not many like Luis Arraez in the game. It is becoming increasingly harder to make it in professional baseball that way.

Drake Baldwin

The 5th-round selection in the 2022 draft, Drake Baldwin comes in as the 23rd-ranked prospect in the system. He is a guy that a lot of metrics really liked, the Braves are hoping they can develop Baldwin into something special.

In 126 plate appearances, he is currently hitting .220/.373/.450 6 HR, 17 R, 23 RBI, .375 wOBA, & 122 wRC+. Love seeing the combination of a patient eye and power from a guy in the minor leagues. Sure, we would like to see the hit tool catch up, but a .239 BABIP could help bring the average up as the BABIP normalizes. Plus, nobody can complain about a guy getting on base 37% of the time with a .230 ISO.

He has really turned it on in May, hitting .255/.391/.608 5 HR, 11 R, 16 RBI, .427 wOBA, & 154 wRC+. This includes walking (17.2%) more than striking out (14.1%) this month. He has gotten hot and hopefully tapping into his true potential.

The power coming around this year is encouraging because he did not hit a home run after being drafted last year. Combined with a 17.5% walk rate, there is reason to be excited about Baldwin's potential at the plate.

Defensively, there is a lot to like about his game. Reports say he receives the ball well and does a good job of blocking behind the plate. Something that stands out in several scouting reports is his leadership behind the dish, several reports make note of that. Something that cannot be taught or quantified by numbers is the ability of a guy to lead. That should be beneficial to his game as he continues to learn how to call and manage a pitching staff. If there is one complaint early, it is his arm, but there is hope this can be corrected.

MLB pipeline projects him as a future backup or timeshare catcher. Time will tell if he has potential to be more long-term. Catchers usually take longer through the minor leagues, so Baldwin will have time to work out the kinks and develop his game.

Adam Zebrowski

It makes sense that the Atlanta Braves would have an impressive catcher tandem down on the minors. Adam Zebrowski joins Blake Baldwin in having good years behind the plate. Unlike Baldwin, Zebrowski is currently not ranked by MLB Pipeline, but does come in at 24 on Fangraphs list.

Zebrowski is hitting .286/.391/.561 6 HR, 15 R, 16 RBI, 1 SB, .423 wOBA, & 152 wRC+ across 115 plate appearances. A 14.8% walk rate and .276 ISO is impressive, no matter the level of baseball. If he continues to hit like this, he will turn more heads and garner more attention as a prospect.

He is having a down May, hitting just .204/.295/.389 with a .313 wOBA & 84 wRC+. So he will need to make some adjustments to get back on track. However, it does not take away that he has been a pleasant surprise so far in 2023.

While Baldwin is looked at as the better defensive catcher, Zebrowski is holding his own defensively. He will have more of an uphill climb through the system. If he finds a way to hit for power consistently, it will give him more opportunities.

Time will tell but he is a name worth monitoring throughout the year. Maybe he becomes a bigger name by the end of the year!