Could any prospects contribute to the Braves in the second half?

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Last season, the Braves had a ton of unexpected contributions from prospects on their way to the World Series. Tucker Davidson, who spent most of the season on the IL, started a World Series game. Kyle Wright, who made two starts for the major-league squad in April, was critical to the Braves World Series triumph. Injuries can force teams to look for answers in unexpected directions, and sometimes, guys do enough to earn an opportunity at the major-league level. So who might have a similar impact in the second half of the season this year?

Huascar Ynoa

The fall of Huascar Ynoa has continued in 2022. After starting last season as well as just about anyone in baseball, he broke his hand following a poor May start in Milwaukee. Ynoa ended up hitting the IL for about three months, and when he returned, he was never the same.

There was hope that with a full offseason, Ynoa would return to form, but he started off 2022 horrifically with the Braves and was quickly optioned back to AAA, where he has continued to scuffle. Through 14 starts with the Stripers, Ynoa has a 5.40 ERA and surrendered 11 homers. It’s evident he’s not ready for the majors right now, but I wouldn’t count out a return at some point. He still has one of the best live arms in the organization, so if he can begin to figure things out in the minors, there’s a chance he will make an impact later in the season.

Tucker Davidson

Davidson is someone I’m still high on moving forward. He flashed better velocity, and we’ve seen him have fantastic success in the minors. But like Ynoa, he’s not exactly showing out with the Stripers. Davidson currently owns a 4.35 ERA and 1.27 WHIP in AAA. I wouldn’t totally count out him making an appearance at some point in the second half, but the Braves will probably have to suffer a couple of injuries for that to happen.

Kyle Muller

Whether there is an injury or not, I fully expect Kyle Muller to get another opportunity at some point this season. He was named the International League Pitcher of the Month for June after posting some ridiculous numbers. 

Muller hasn’t allowed more than two earned runs in a game since May, but most importantly, he’s limiting walks. In his last eight starts, he has handed out just nine free passes. Nobody has ever doubted Muller’s stuff. It’s always been about his control. If this continues, there’s no reason the Braves shouldn’t give him some opportunities in the second half of the season.

Bryce Elder

Elder is another 2020 draftee that has impressed mightily since joining the organization, even making a few starts in Atlanta this season. However, he’s taken his lumps at the AAA level this year, and it’s probably best he continues to develop before receiving another opportunity in the bigs. He’s well down the pecking order, and I don’t expect to see him with the Braves again this season.

Vaughn Grissom

Just because I know many fans are curious, I have to address the elephant in the room. No, Vaughn Grissom will not be contributing to the major-league team this season. There would have to be a slew of injuries, and even then, I think the Braves would keep him in the minors. He’s the hottest thing on the farm right now and is quickly gaining steam as a top 100 prospect in all of baseball, but we won’t see him in Atlanta until 2023 at the earliest.

Photo: Joe Robbins/Icon Sportswire

 

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