Braves: Bryce Elder continues to impress down on the farm

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The Braves strategically used their money during the five-round 2020 MLB draft so they could take Bryce Elder in the fifth round, signing him well over slot value, and so far, the gamble has paid off. The former Texas Longhorn has been brilliant in his first taste of professional baseball, dominating high-A Rome and now holding his own in AA Mississippi.

Elder has been far from flawless in his transition to the upper minors, but he’s quickly making a reputation for himself as a guy who can consistently go deep into games. Last night was Elder’s fifth consecutive start in which he went seven innings, and he’s yet to have an outing in which he’s thrown more than 95 pitches. Over those five starts, Elder has posted a very respectable 3.34 ERA, as opponents have managed to hit just .182 against him. He’s also averaging just a hair under a strikeout per inning.

There was a lot of hype early on surrounding Spencer Strider — another 2020 draft pick — for his insane strikeout ability and run prevention at the lower levels, but it’s actually Elder who has held his own better in AA. That’s not a knock on Strider, who I still believe has a ton of major-league potential, but more of a testament to Elder, who looks like a savvy veteran on the mound early in his professional career. If he keeps it up, he could be the first pitcher from the 2020 draft class to arrive in the bigs.

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