The 2021 MLB Draft was an important one for the Braves, as it was around the time their farm system really started to thin out from trades and prospects graduating to the majors. Some of the guys in this class have been key contributors, some have been crucial trade pieces, and others are still developing. Let’s take a look at the class as a whole. This will be a three-part series, with 2022 and 2023 coming later this week.
Round 1, Pick 24: RHP Ryan Cusick, Wake Forest
Status: Traded to the Oakland Athletics (Athletics #23 Prospect via Baseball America).
Cusick was traded to the A’s as part of the package that brought Matt Olson to the Braves. He is currently in AA, but has struggled in the minors since leaving the Braves.
Round 2, Pick 59: RHP/SS Spencer Schwellenbach, Nebraska
Status: Braves #6 Prospect via Baseball America
Schwellenbach had Tommy John surgery after being drafted by the Braves, but he has had a fantastic 2023 season. Schwellenbach currently sports a 2.63 ERA over 51.1 innings pitched (13 starts).
Round 3, Pick 96: LHP Dylan Dodd, Southeastern Missouri State
Status: Braves #11 Prospect via Baseball America
Dodd has actually reached the majors, but he didn’t pitch enough to exhaust his prospect status. He has struggled a bit, even outside of the majors, but he’s still young and developing.
Round 4, Pick 126: SS Cal Conley, Texas Tech
Status: AA Mississippi
Conley has had a rough year at the plate in 2023, and the new Braves draft class has pushed him out of Baseball America’s Top 30 for the organization.
Round 5, Pick 157: SS Luke Waddell, Georgia Tech
Status: AA Mississippi
Waddell earned a promotion to Gwinnett, but struggled at the plate before returning to AA Mississippi. He has a .827 OPS in AA, so he could still have some potential.
Round 6, Pick 187: 3B Justyn-Henry Malloy, Georgia Tech
Status: Traded to the Detroit Tigers (Tigers #10 Prospect via Baseball America).
Malloy was traded to the Tigers for Joe Jiménez. He has had a really strong season in AAA Toledo.
Round 7, Pick 217: RHP AJ Smith-Shawver, Colleyville Heritage HS (TX)
Status: Braves #1 Prospect via Baseball America
Smith-Shawver has been the crown jewel of this class, making it to the majors and impressing over some short stints. He’s still a raw player, but he has frontline starter potential and could be a big part of Atlanta’s future.
Round 8, Pick 247: OF Tyler Collins, McKinney Boyd HS (TX)
Status: A- Augusta
Collins was one of the youngest players selected in this group, as he is still only 20 years old. He has struggled so far at the plate during his short career, but he has the tools to be a solid prospect.
Round 9, Pick 277: C Liam McGill, Bryant University
McGill retired in March of 2022.
Round 10, Pick 307: RHP Dylan Spain, University of Hawai’i at Hilo
Status: Traded to the Colorado Rockies
Spain was traded to the Rockies for Sam Hilliard in November of 2022. He is in AA Hartford and is not featured on Colorado’s Top 30 Prospects via Baseball America.
Other Notable Class Members:
N/A. Baseball America does not have any players selected in Rounds 11-20 on their Top 30 prospects for the Braves.
This class doesn’t have a ton of quantity, but it does feature some quality prospects. Furthermore, plenty of these guys have been used to acquire contributors in Atlanta.
Photographer: Zac BonDurant/Icon Sportswire