Braves 2021 Prospect Profile: No. 12 Bryce Ball

Ian Mejia

Now to the third installment of this year’s Braves prospect profile series, we turn our attention to perhaps one of the system’s most imposing young hitters, first base prospect, Bryce Ball. 

Check out the site’s updated Top 30 list, as well as my post on the organization’s potential under-the-radar prospects for 2021. Also, catch up on our profile series if you’ve missed the latest write-ups.


14. Bryce Ball, 1B/DH

  • 6’6″, 240 lbs.
  • 22-years-old
  • 24th RD / 2019 MLB Draft 

The cancelation of minor league baseball in 2020 hurt Bryce Ball perhaps more than any other Braves prospect. Given the position he’s in — potentially the team’s future star at first base and possibly Freddie Freeman’s replacement one day, plus the fact that Ball put up such incredible numbers during 2019 — last year was the perfect opportunity for the slugger to prove that his pro debut was no fluke. 

Although, whether you think it WAS a fluke or not, the general opinion of Ball shouldn’t have changed, and it most certainly hasn’t for us as we have him cracking Atlanta’s top 15. For comparison, FanGraphs listed Ball as the Braves no. 24 prospect in their final 2020 rankings last season, and last week Talking Chop had Ball 20th in their 2021 preseason list. Either way you slice it, this is no doubt one of the 20 best prospects in the Braves organization… and I strongly believe he’ll move inside the top 10 before the ’21 campaign concludes. 

Over the years, college first basemen tend to not fare so well in the draft, and in 2019, Ball fell all the way to the 24th round, though signing for $197,500 (money usually given to 7-8th round player). The over-slot was well deserved too, given the 20-year-old lefty-hitter was coming off a collegiate season at Dallas Baptist in which he hit .325 with 18 home runs in 63 games. That type of power allowed Ball to skip the complex-level Gulf Coast League as Atlanta sent him straight to Rookie-Advanced Danville. 

Ball never let up. In Danville, he proceeded to homer in his second game, tallying two hits in each of his first three professional contests, including a .389 AVG and five homers in just his first 10 contests. By August, the Braves had seen enough, and thanks to a .324/.410/.676 slash-line, 13 home runs and 38 RBI in 41 games, Ball was promoted to full-season ball, joining Single-A Rome (which is now High-A). 

Advancing a level didn’t seem to matter to Ball. His first two games in Rome featured a 5 for 10 stretch with 3 doubles, and after a week, his batting line sat at a still-impressive .355/.355/.452. Ball only had time to play 21 games there, but by season’s end, he added four more homers to his 2019 total and ended the year with a .337 AVG at Rome. 

Overall, Ball’s 2019 professional debut was almost identical to his big year at DBU. In 62 total games between Danville and Rome, the Iowa native belted 17 homers, 52 RBI and posted a 1.023 OPS (his OPS in ’19 at DBU was 1.057). It was a near-perfect start to his career, with the only bit of criticism being that Ball walked just 26 times in 263 PA (a walk-rate of roughly 4%). 

Now 22-years-old and coming off a 170 wRC+ campaign two seasons ago, we could see Ball in Rome once again in 2021. However, this time at a level higher (with the Augusta GreenJackets taking over as the Braves Single-A affiliate, Rome will now become the organization’s High-A club, replacing the contracted Florida Fire Frogs). 

Considering Ball’s age and skillset (corner-power type), Atlanta may see exactly what they have in him this coming season, for if Ball continues to hit around .300 with plus-power, you can be certain he’ll move through the system quickly. A perfect scenario for this 70-grade power-hitter is a repeat of 2019, which would most likely result in Ball playing first base for Double-A Mississippi by mid-season. Regardless, you can be sure that when the universal DH comes to stay in the majors, the Braves will look at Ball as a potential homegrown designated-hitter in the future.

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