Bryce Ball may have been a 24th round pick, but there is a reason he is already cracking many top 10 Braves prospects lists, and if he hasn’t already, he probably will by the end of the year. The lumbering left-handed bat has done nothing but rake ever since he got to college, recording a 1.057 OPS with 18 homers in just 63 games in his final season for Dallas Baptist, and that continued in his first stint as a professional.
Beginning in rookie ball, Ball smashed 13 homers and 12 doubles — good for a ridiculous 1.086 OPS — in just 41 games, earning a promotion to Rome, where the moonshots continued. In just 21 games, he hit another four homers with six more doubles while boasting a silly .337 average. The Braves were so impressed that they included him on their 60-man taxi squad last season and invited him to Spring Training this year.
After not playing any real games in 2020, thanks to the coronavirus, we finally get to see if Ball is the real deal over an entire season in 2021. That’s the only thing him holding him back from being considered one of the top prospects in the Braves system and one of the top first base prospects overall — sample size. We really don’t know if his 2019 success is sustainable over more at-bats at the higher levels. That will all change this year as Ball is set to begin the year in Rome, which is now the Braves high-A affiliate, but if he continues to rake, I imagine it won’t take long for him to be promoted to Mississippi.
Currently, we have Ball ranked as the 12th best prospect in the Braves organization, and MLB Pipeline has him at 10th among all first base prospects. However, this is the year we could see him skyrocket up prospect lists everywhere. If he can put to bed the thought that 2019 was nothing more than a flash in the pan, he could easily be a top-five prospect in the Braves organization by season’s end.