Braves: Two under the radar prospects to watch

Vaughn Grissom call up

When a team wins a World Series, it oftentimes comes at the cost of their farm system. The Braves have seen a ton of talent graduate in recent years, and they saw even more depart when the team traded for Matt Olson. Because of those two things, most evaluators have ranked Atlanta’s farm system near the bottom of the pack. It’s understandable, but the Braves still have a ton of young talent at the top, some of which we’ve seen this year in the form of Bryce Elder and Spencer Strider. And they also have a couple of diamonds in the rough that have begun 2022 splendidly.

Drew Lugbauer

Lugbauer is a first baseman that played 86 games in Mississippi last season, recording a more than respectable .784 OPS, thanks to 18 home runs. However, he’s on pace to demolish that number this year. Through just 23 games, Lugbauer has a league-leading eight home runs to go along with a .262 batting average — good for a .981 OPS.

Lugbauer has had tremendous power ever since he joined the organization back in 2017. He was originally drafted as a catcher, but the Braves have moved him around the diamond since. And with the universal DH now in place, there will be a spot for him somewhere in Atlanta if he keeps hitting like this. At 25-years-old, he’s a candidate to move up to Gwinnett sooner rather than later, and who knows, a major-league debut might not be too far off in his future.

Tanner Gordon

Gordon was a sixth-round pick out of Indiana in 2019, and like most players from that draft class, his professional experience has been a strange one. He was forced to miss the entire 2020 campaign because of COVID and began 2021 in A-ball, eventually working his way up to High-A Rome by the season’s end, where he started 2022. Gordon was lights out in his first four outings with Rome this season, recording a minuscule 1.64 ERA with 36 strikeouts and ZERO walks over 22 innings.

That is flat-out insane, and it caught the Braves’ eye, who moved him up to Mississippi quickly. Unfortunately, Gordon’s first start in AA was a forgetful one. He walked five and gave up eight runs before even making it out of the second inning. Hopefully, that can be chalked up to nerves, and Gordon bounces back in his second start with Mississippi, but regardless, his performance in Rome was enough to appear on my radar. He’s a prospect to keep an eye on moving forward.

Photo: Larry Radloff/Icon Sportswire



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