names the Braves biggest rising prospect

Braves roster moves recently picked one prospect from each of the 30 teams that have made the most significant jump in 2023.

When I first opened this piece, I thought the answer was going to be a no-brainer for the Braves. AJ Smith-Shawver began the year in high-A and has made five appearances in the big leagues at just 20-years-old. That’s one of the biggest jumps you’ll ever see from such a young prospect. He’s also worked his way up almost every top 100 prospect list, sometimes as far as the top 50. However, Smith-Shawver is not who selected. They went with Luis De Avila, the 22-year-old Colombian southpaw.

Braves: Luis De Avila, LHP
It’s been quite a journey for a guy who was released by the Rockies, signed by the Royals and then taken in the Minor League phase of the Rule 5 Draft by the Braves. Given a chance to start in 2022, he’s run with it, leading the South Atlantic League in ERA last year. The move up to Double-A hasn’t slowed him down as his 2.95 ERA was third lowest in the Southern League, and he’s fourth in WHIP and BAA.

It’s nice to see the folks over at avoiding the easy way out. I still think AJ Smith-Shawver is the obvious answer, but De Avila is an intriguing candidate. He features a sinker in the low 90s that can occasionally run up to about 95, pairing it with a good changeup and developing curveball.

A 2.95 ERA in the Southern League is no joke. De Avila is also striking out over nine batters per nine innings, but he’s going to need to cut down on his walks if he’s going to make it at the major-league level. He’s surrendering 4.3 free passes per nine this season, up from 3.2 last season.

The move to a full-time starter for the Braves has proved beneficial, and it’s possible there’s a promotion in his near future. In De Avila’s last start on August 5th, he tossed six scoreless innings with five strikeouts.

Photo: David J. Griffin/Icon Sportswire


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