Coming into 2021, few Braves prospects were as hyped up as Bryce Ball, and for a good reason. The 24th pick of the 2019 draft burst onto the scene with absolutely ridiculous numbers in his first taste of professional ball. With Danville, Ball mashed 13 homers and 12 doubles to go along with his .324 batting average in 41 games, quickly earning a promotion to Rome, where his hot streak continued. In his first 21 games of A-ball, he had four homers and six doubles with an even better .337 average.
The year off was devastating for most prospects, but at least Ball was invited to the team’s alternate training site during the shortened season. This year, he began the season in Rome again, but remember, Rome is now the Braves high-A affiliate. So what kind of start is he off to in his first full professional campaign?
Well, he hasn’t exactly picked up where he left off, batting .202 in his first 28 games. However, he does have three dingers, and he’s shown an exquisite ability to take his walks. Ball has already racked up 20 free passes, leading to a much more palatable .342 on-base percentage.
If I had to put an arrow for the direction that Ball is trending thus far in 2020, it would be sideways. It’s certainly possible that we all overhyped him a bit for dominating at the lower levels, but he still possesses a lot of potential, and his plate discipline is promising. His first 28 games at the high-A level shouldn’t be enough to discourage anyone just yet.