A year ago today, the Braves made a trade that would eventually turn their entire season around, leading to their first World Series since 1995. That trade, of course, was for Joc Pederson, who was acquired from the Cubs in return for slugging left-handed first baseman Bryce Ball. Now, even if Ball turns into the next Freddie Freeman, there’s no way the Braves can be looked at as losers in this trade. They won the damn World Series after all, but it’s always fun to look at how former top prospects that were traded away are faring with their new organizations.
Ball was one of my favorite Braves prospects, so I was a little disappointed when we moved him. Not only was he a super talented individual, but he was also kind enough to be one of my first guests on the SportsTalkATL Podcast (shameless plug, but we just recorded a new episode that you should totally check out).
New episode of the Podcast is up!
We recap the series with the Mets, talk Austin Riley’s All-Star snub, Kyle Wright’s maturity, the Hawks offseason, John Collins, Desmond Ridder and more! https://t.co/HiCtgQnFKr
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A super nice guy and a stud on the field, so I’m glad to see him having a very respectable year in AA.
So far in 2022, Ball is hitting .272 with eight homers and 15 doubles — good for a .778 OPS over 81 games. If you’re a Chicago fan, that’s a very encouraging slash line because it’s actually his slugging percentage (.409) that is bringing his OPS down. That will rise with time; if there’s one tool Bryce Ball has in the bag, it’s power. More importantly, he’s getting on-base at a .370 clip in his first season of AA ball. If that continues, I wouldn’t be surprised to see him in AAA before the end of the year.
Like a lot of minor-leaguers, Bryce Ball has had a difficult couple of years. COVID cost him all of 2020, and he didn’t return like the same guy in 2021, hitting just .206 over 107 games in High-A ball. So it’s nice to see him bounce back in 2022; this could end up being one of those trades where both sides got what they were looking for.
Photo: Larry Radloff/Icon Sportswire