Braves: A potential DH of the future is emerging on the farm

Drew Lugbauer

Understandably, prospect outlets continue to rank the Braves farm system among the worst. However, as we’ve seen this season, that doesn’t mean star players cannot emerge. I talked yesterday about a couple of guys that could be the next Michael Harris or Vaughn Grissom. Today, I wanted to discuss another name that has taken significant strides this season and could make an impact at the major-league level at some point next year — Drew Lugbauer.

At 26-years-old, Lugbauer is an older prospect that was drafted in the 11th round out of Michigan in 2017. It took him a little while to get acclimated to professional baseball, but his last two seasons at the AA level have been extremely promising.┬áLast year, Lugbauer slugged 18 homers in just 86 games, and this season, he’s tied for the Southern League lead in homers with 24.

There are a couple of issues with Lugbauer, though. Positionally, he’s limited. He’s a first baseman, and Matt Olson is locked up for the next eight years, so if he’s going to make it with the Braves, it’s likely as a DH.

Drew Lugbauer’s power makes him a potentially intriguing option as a designated hitter in Atlanta. He’s also walking nearly 15% of the time, but his primary issue is strikeouts. Lugbauer is striking out an absurd 37.8% of the time this year, and he struck out 37.4% of the time last season. That will undoubtedly hold him back as he continues his way through the minors. He must cut that down, but if he does, there’s a good chance we’ll see him in Atlanta over the next couple of seasons.

 

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