Braves: Braden Shewmake has caught fire

Braden Shewmake

The Braves’ two 2019 first-round picks, Shea Langeliers and Braden Shewmake, went in opposite directions to start the 2021 campaign — their first full professional season because of COVID. Langeliers rocketed up several Top 100 prospect lists after terrorizing AA pitching. He’s yet to stop; after two more homers a couple of days ago, he’s now up to 17 on the season to go along with his excellent defense behind the plate. If he keeps this up, it shouldn’t be too long before he receives a promotion to AAA, and we could see him in the majors as early as next season. Shewmake, on the other hand, couldn’t have started 2021 any slower.

The 21st pick of the 2019 draft wasn’t just hitting below the Mendoza Line; he was struggling to hit above .100 until the middle of June. Thankfully, that’s changed dramatically over the last month or so. In his past 21 games, he’s hitting .369 with seven homers and 18 RBI, leading to a 1.047 OPS.

Shewmake’s OPS for the season still sits at an underwhelming .672 to go along with his .228 batting average, but there was a point where many thought he might have to be sent back to Rome to gain some confidence, so this is a super promising development. Shewmake is also the Braves’ highest-ranked prospect that can play the middle infield, and they don’t have anybody close to ready behind him. With Swanson’s contract up after next year, Shewmake is next in line to be the shortstop of the future in Atlanta. The reality of that looked bleak a month ago, but this is what everybody expected from him this season after he tore up the lower levels in 2019.

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