This continues our six-part series where I will attempt to project the Braves’ top 30 prospects’ stats. Again, I’ll also predict where I believe each prospect will begin the season and any promotions. As I said in the first part, it won’t be easy, considering we haven’t seen most of these guys play in nearly two years, but I’m going to give it my best shot. If you missed prospects 30-26 of this series, check it out.
25. Jesse Franklin (OF)
2021 stat predictions: .288, 11 HRs, 68 RBIs
The last time we saw Franklin play was in 2019 for Michigan and in the Cape Cod League. He missed the entire 2020 season with a broken collarbone suffered in a skiing accident, but that didn’t stop the Braves from taking him in the third round of the shortened five-round MLB draft last year. Franklin is an above-average athlete with plus-power. I expect that to show in his first professional season. Given his age, he should begin the year in A-ball, but if he hits as I predict, he will be promoted to Rome (now the Braves A+ affiliate).
24. Alex Jackson (C)
2021 stat predictions: .220, 23 HRs, 61 RBIs
Jackson looks like he might turn into a classic AAAA player — one who thrives in AAA but isn’t quite good enough to make it in the majors. The Braves still haven’t signed a backup catcher behind Travis d’Arnaud, but I don’t think Jackson is the answer — at least not to begin the season. He should start the year in Gwinnett and only move up if he shows the ability to make more contact.
23. Mahki Backstrom (OF/1B)
2021 stat predictions: .267, 8 HRs, 57 RBIs
Backstrom is a youngster we are much higher on than most. He excelled in his first 23 games of Rookie Ball, hitting an even .300 with a couple of homers. Perhaps more impressively, though, his OBP was over .400, resulting in an .860 OPS. Backstrom is still just 19-years-old, so he should begin the year in A-ball and will probably stay there all season, but if he continues to rake this season, he’ll be on a lot of people’s radars heading into 2022.
22. Greyson Jenista (OF)
2021 stat predictions: .251, 14 HRs, 69 RBIs
Jenista is a former second-round pick that might be running out of opportunities. He’s shown off some power during his time in the minors, but if he can’t cut down on the strikeouts in 2021, he may find himself outside of the Braves’ top 30 prospects altogether. I’m going out on a limb here and predicting he figures it out a bit this season, resulting in a significantly higher average and five more home runs than he had in 2019. Jenista begins the year in Mississippi but is eventually promoted to Gwinnett.
21. Vaughn Grissom (SS)
2021 stat predictions: .276, 6 HRs, 55 RBIs
Grissom is the highest-ranked middle infield prospect the Braves have after Braden Shewmake, but there is a lot to like about this kid. In Rookie Ball — as an 18-year-old — he hit for a more than respectable .288 average and showed some pop, smacking three homers in 43 games. After not playing last season, the Braves will likely start him in A-ball, but if he continues to take steps forward as many expect, he should end the season in Rome.