The Braves don’t have the most robust farm system; in fact, most outlets have Atlanta among the league’s worst.
With recent graduation and blockbuster trades in back-to-back offseasons, the Braves have depleted their farm. Still, the club seemingly produces major league talent at a pace few teams can keep up with. And their next crop of prospects has a chance to be impactful in the Braves’ hopes of winning their second World Series in three years. The Athletic believes Braden Shewmake is the most interesting assignment.
Shewmake likely would’ve been brought up last August to play second base for the Braves, but he had a season-ending knee injury days before the Braves had an opening. So, Vaughn Grissom got the call instead. This spring, Shewmake and Grissom staged what most thought was a two-man race to be the Opening Day shortstop, but veteran Orlando Arcia got it, and Shewmake and Grissom were optioned to Triple A to share SS/2B. Grissom will get more shortstop starts because he needs to keep developing there. Shewmake is the best defensive shortstop in the organization and displayed offensive improvement this spring. In Gwinnett’s opener, he had four strikeouts and a walk-off homer. — David O’Brien
Despite Vaughn Grissom playing in Triple-A Gwinnett, he’s lost his prospect eligibility. He would easily be the most interesting assignment because of his offensive pedigree and the impact that he could provide in Atlanta.
Shewmake is interesting, though. He has been a well below average offensive player since the Braves drafted him in the first round of the 2019 MLB draft but lit the Grapefruit League on fire this Spring. It will be intriguing to see if he can maintain that level of production with the Stripers, but there are a pair of prospects that I think deserve more recognition.
Dylan Dodd and Jared Shuster both have a chance to play instrumental roles for the major league club. Shewmake would likely have to have an otherworldly performance in Gwinnett to surpass Vaughn Grissom as the next man up behind Orlando Arcia. He’s just been a poor offensive player, and I don’t see that changing. On the other hand, Dodd and Shuster have a legitimate chance to contribute right now.
Shuster’s debut started off shaky, but he bounced back in a big way. The 2020 first-round pick gave up four runs in the first inning while issuing three walks. However, Shuster would throw 3.2 innings of scoreless ball after that, surrendering just three hits the rest of the way. 4.2 innings and four earned runs isn’t ideal, but it was encouraging to see him handle failure and keep fighting.
Dodd was much more impressive in his debut. The third-round pick out of Missouri State threw five innings while giving up only one run on six hits. He only threw 73 pitches and probably could’ve squeezed out another inning, but Brian Snitker made the right decision of pulling him.
Shuster is currently in Gwinnett and his assignment should be watched closely. Injuries always arise and pitching is volatile. Dodd will likely join him when the Braves staff gets healthier, but both prospects have a chance to make it back to Atlanta and establish themselves as the fifth and final starter in the rotation.
David J. Griffin/Icon Sportswire
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