The Braves made a few more minor league moves on Thursday, this time impacting two talented middle-infielders — shortstop Luke Waddell and shortstop/third baseman Vaughn Grissom.
Waddell — the Braves’ fifth-round pick in this year’s MLB Draft — has certainly enjoyed his first taste of pro ball. The 23-year-old, former Georgia Tech star, has hit .304 with six home runs and 13 RBI in just his first 21 games with High-A Rome — good enough for a well above average 148 wRC+. If you recall, I recently wrote about the kid following a stint earlier this week in which he slugged six homers in just six games for the R-Braves. I didn’t rank Waddell in my Midseason Braves Top 30, but at this rate, he’s definitely on his way to making the next list.
Either way, with prospect Braden Shewmake holding down shortstop for the M-Braves all this season, it’ll be interesting to see how the Mississippi roster is set up with Waddell in the mix. The lefty-hitter has experience at other positions in the infield as he also played both third and second base in college.
For Grissom (currently ranked 13th on my Top 30), the High-A assignment is sort of a long time coming. The 20-year-old has been one of the better Single-A hitters in 2021, and when healthy, he’s undoubtedly led the Augusta lineup. Grissom entered Thursday with a .311/.402/.446 slash-line, to go with 24 XBH and 13 stolen bases in 75 games with the GreenJackets. And it didn’t take long for the former 11th-round pick to make an impact for the R-Braves, either, as he finished his first High-A game last night 1 for 2 with a run, two walks, and a stolen base. The sky is the limit for Grissom, who I think could easily become a top 5 prospect in the Braves system once he starts developing a bit more power with his bat. We have to remember, though, this kid is only 20.
Congrats to both players, and hopefully, each of Waddell and Grissom can put a nice bow on what’s already been impressive seasons for the two.