Braves: Freddy Tarnok shines in his AAA debut

Drew Lugbauer

It has been a long wait for Freddy Tarnok. Originally drafted in 2017 in the third round, he was always going to be a project. He took one step closer to becoming a finished product yesterday:

In his debut, Tarnok threw six innings, only allowing two hits, one walk, and one earned run off of a solo home run. He struck out four batters on 90 pitches. The Braves need more of this out of Freddy Tarnok, especially in a farm system that is lacking talent around the trade deadline. Here’s what MLBPipeline has to say about Atlanta’s 6th Ranked Prospect:

Scouting grades: Fastball: 60 | Curveball: 50 | Slider: 50 | Changeup: 50 | Control: 45 | Overall: 45

Though Tarnok hadn’t pitched a ton in high school as a two-way player at Riverview High School in Florida, he did have some helium in his senior year on the mound. The Braves liked his projection and athleticism enough to give him double slot and sign him for nearly $1.45 million. He showed glimpses early on, then regressed, both in terms of velocity and effectiveness, in 2019. His home workouts in 2020 seemed to pay off as he reached Double-A and pitched well there, earning a spot on the 40-man roster.

Tarnok gets internal votes for most improved pitcher in the system. All of his stuff ticked back up in 2021, starting with his fastball which sat 95 mph. He’s long had an effective curve and, like many pitchers in the system, he’s more recently added a slider, with positive results. His average changeup is effective, especially against left-handed hitters.

While he missed many more bats in 2021, he also found the strike zone with decent regularity. His athleticism should help him continue to repeat his delivery and refine his command. The Braves think he’s still only scratching the surface in terms of harnessing his stuff, with a big up arrow next to his name.


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