The 2019 MLB Draft was the most-recent “normal” draft, and for the Braves it was a good one. Today we profile Atlanta’s second pick from that draft, shortstop Braden Shewmake.
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.
- 2021 Braves Top 30 Prospect Rankings
- Potential risers and under-the-radar prospects for 2021
- Braves 2021 Prospect Profile: No. 9 Michael Harris
- Braves 2021 Prospect Profile: No. 26 Tyler Owens
- Braves 2021 Prospect Profile: No. 12 Bryce Ball
- Braves 2021 Prospect Profile: No. 8 Tucker Davidson
- Braves 2021 Prospect Profile: No. 24 Alex Jackson
No. 7 Braden Shewmake, SS
- 6’4″, 190 lbs.
- 1st RD / 2019 MLB Draft
Given the significance of the position that he plays and just how light the Braves organization is at said position as a whole, not to mention the incredible tools he possesses, Shewmake could wind up as one of the more intriguing prospects in the system by season’s end.
What has Shewmake done so far?
For the Braves to take another hitter in the 1st round — even after selecting Baylor catcher Shea Langeliers — instead of a top-notch arm, spoke volumes to just how talented Shewmake was coming into the draft two years ago. Although it didn’t take a genius to realize how special he was, given his track record as a collegiate player. In 2017, Shewmake won the SEC’s Freshman of the Year award with Texas A&M, after hitting .328 with 11 home runs and 69 RBI in 64 games, instantly making a name for himself as a teenager in one of the top conferences in NCAA baseball. As a result, once a pro Shewmake’s advanced offensive profile made rookie ball unnecessary, for after he was drafted Atlanta shipped him straight to Single-A Rome. He never missed a beat.
In 51 games at Rome in 2019, Shewmake produced a 151 wRC+, stemming from a .318 AVG, 23 XBH and very strong peripherals (9.3 BB%, 12.8 K%). By August he had done all there was to do there, and to round out his time in Single-A, Shewmake hit .400 and slugged an impressive .700 over his final five games. On to the next level.
With just a month left in the 2019 season, Shewmake was given a short stint in Double-A Mississippi. And though his overall performance there did take a dip (53 wRC+ in 14 total games), Shewmake finished out the year strong by hitting .281 in his final 10 games with the M-Braves. His overall line in ’19 stood at .300/.371/.425 — good for a 102 wRC+ overall across the two levels. And even though Double-A pitching gave the former Texas A&M star some trouble, his strong approach at the plate remained, giving hope that he should progress with another opportunity in 2021.
What to expect from Shewmake?
The ceiling appears ultra-high for Shewmake. Standing 6-foot-4 and just under 200 pounds on draft day, many believe he’ll develop some nice power as he grows into his body, making him an even more attractive prospect considering he already possesses both plus-hit and plus-speed tools.
And the positive speculation isn’t just limited to his long-term potential, either. On Wednesday I wrote about Steamer 600‘s 2021 projections regarding Atlanta’s prospects, and Shewmake led the way in projected WAR for the upcoming season (even beating out Cristian Pache and Drew Waters). That’s not an attempt to argue that Shewmake is better than those two, but it does show just how valuable a shortstop can be when he wields the ability to hit for a high average, slug homers, steal bases AND play great defense.
Like for all of the Braves top tier prospects still lacking much time in the upper-minors, of course there’s also still a ton of wait-and-see when it comes to Shewmake’s future. Although, in terms of 2021, I wouldn’t be surprised if he’s starting at shortstop for Triple-A Gwinnett by the end of the season, with a realistic big league ETA of August 2022. Even a potential Dansby Swanson extension wouldn’t necessarily block Shewmake from contributing in Atlanta as the latter would certainly make for a great super-utility player if needed. Either way, Shewmake is already proving worth the investment. And if he continues on this trajectory he’ll be in the majors real soon.