Examining the Braves future: Middle Infielders

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In our fourth installment of this series, examining the Braves’ future by each position, we talk about a spot where the Braves are more than well off for the next five years. However, they don’t have much depth in the minors. If you missed any of our previous pieces in this series, click the links below.

Major League Level

Last year, the Braves locked up the best bargain in baseball by signing Ozzie Albies to a seven-year, $35 million extension. That means he will be a Brave until at least 2025, and the team has two $7 million club options on him in 2026 and 2027, which will almost certainly be picked up. Albies is already one of the best second basemen in baseball and is under contract for the next eight seasons. When talking about the future of this position, he is it.

At shortstop, the Braves are nearing a breaking point. They have to decide whether Dansby Swanson is the right guy to man the position for the foreseeable future. He has two more years of arbitration after this year, taking him through the 2022 season. Last season, it looked as if Swanson was turning the corner, showing power to all fields and more patience at the plate. However, a heel injury stopped all of his progress, and he was never the same when he came back. If he can return to that level this year, he may be in line for an extension; but if it’s more of the same, the Braves could decide to move on before his contract is up.

AA Level

The Braves don’t have any middle infielders worth talking about at the AAA level. Their top prospect in the infield right now is Braden Shewmake — a 2019 first-round pick. Last year, in his first taste of professional ball, he hit .318 with 3 homers, 2 triples, and 18 doubles in 51 games, earning him a quick promotion to Mississippi. Shewmake’s currently apart of the Braves 60-man taxi squad. Given his college experience, it might not be but a couple of years before seeing him make his debut in Atlanta.

All Other Levels

As you can see, there’s not much depth in the middle infield for the Braves, which is why Dansby Swanson’s performance over the next year or so is critical. After Shewmake, there are a couple of names to watch for at the lower levels of the minors.

Greg Cullen is a college bat that was taken in the 15th round of the 2018 draft. As a 23-year-old last year, he hit .270 with 9 homers and 58 RBIs in 130 games for the Rome Braves. Missing an entire minor league season is quite the blow for a player like Cullen, but he should continue his career in 2021 with the Mississippi Braves.

Vaughn Grissom is a youngster FanGraphs is exceptionally high on, ranking him as the 15th best prospect in the Braves system. The 19-year-old was an 11th round draft pick out of high school last year and thrived in his first stint of rookie ball. However, it will be a while before we ever see him in Atlanta.



1 thought on “Examining the Braves future: Middle Infielders”

  1. Swanson was “never the same when he came back”? What about his .389/.421/.556 hitting in the playoffs? That performance, although a small sample, is the most recent, and augurs well for 2020.

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