Two position players appeared in a single game for Atlanta in 2022. While Chadwick Tromp had a legendary, Rasheed Wallace-like performance for the Braves in his only appearance, Rylan Bannon’s sole appearance was more Moonlight Graham in nature.
Bannon was an eighth-round draft choice out of Xavier University by the Los Angeles Dodgers in 2017. He was part of the five-player trade that brought Manny Machado to the Dodgers from Baltimore in July 2018.
After making his MLB debut in 2022 with the Orioles, Bannon returned to the Dodgers organization – briefly – when Los Angeles claimed him on waivers on August 8. He did not appear in a game with the Dodgers organization before he was claimed by Atlanta on August 16, after the Dodgers had designated him for assignment.
Between injuries and 40-man roster manipulations, Atlanta made a copious number of transactions in August. Among the infielders who came and went from the active roster for Atlanta that month: Ehire Adrianza, Robinson Cano, Mike Ford, Vaughn Grissom, Orlando Arcia, and Ryan Goins. That doesn’t include the team claiming Bannon or designating Travis Demeritte for assignment (yes, the team still listed Demeritte as an infielder).
Ozzie Albies returned from the 60-day IL on September 16, replacing an injured Adrianza, only to promptly go back on the IL on September 18 with a fractured finger. With little in the way of infield depth, the team called up Bannon to replace the injured Albies and to back up Grissom on the 28-man roster.
What were the expectations?
For Atlanta, the 26-year-old Bannon was infield depth at Gwinnett after the organization cycled through numerous infielders at both the Major League level and Triple-A in August. For Bannon, he came into 2022 looking to rebound from a 2021 season at Triple-A that saw him struggle to a .176/.297/.370 slash line driven by a ludicrous .176 BABIP (81 wRC+).
At the time the Braves acquired him, he had put up a 104 wRC+ in 85 PAs at Triple-A, and a 0 wRC+ in 15 major league PAs with Baltimore. As such, there were likely no expectations other than being able to play the infield in a pinch and provide depth, which is exactly what Bannon ended up doing.
2022 Season Results
Bannon did see his BABIP return to a more normal .292 while maintaining a strong walk rate that has hovered around 13 percent for most of his minor league career. The downside was one of the highest strikeout rates since his first year in professional baseball at 26.7 percent.
Bannon was called up by Baltimore in mid-May, starting four games in a row beginning on May 12 and running through May 16. He picked up a single in each of his first two games but went 2-for-14 overall before heading back to Triple-A. He had one other brief callup by Baltimore in June but did not appear in a game.
Ultimately, his line of .229/.347/.407 at Norfolk wasn’t enough for Baltimore to keep him on its 40-man roster.
After signing with Atlanta, he rode a hot streak with Gwinnett to the tune of a .328/.447/.478 slash line buoyed by a .370 BABIP across 21 games. That included driving in eight runs for the Stripers on August 26 with four hits, including a home run, and a stolen base against Lehigh Valley.
Bannon appeared in only one game for Atlanta, entering the game to play second base in the seventh inning of a 9-1 loss to the Phillies without getting any action on defense nor getting a plate appearance after entering the line-up, replacing Dansby Swanson.
What went right? What went wrong?
Bannon became the 22,654th player to appear in a Major League game when he made his debut for Baltimore. He picked up his first major league hit in that same game.
A silver lining in baseball when that when someone claims you after being designated for assignment, you are still wanted. For Bannon, that happened twice during the 2022 season. Given that he didn’t actually do anything as a Brave, it’s hard to find much else to say here.
While he wasn’t able to stick with Baltimore, and got only a single appearance with Atlanta, Bannon will likely be in Spring Training next February for someone, maybe even Atlanta.
The Braves designated Bannon for assignment after signing free agent pitcher Nick Anderson on November 11, 2022, so Bannon’s path back to MLB might have to go through another organization. It is notable, though, that Bannon has been claimed on waivers in each of past two DFAs, so he can still be outrighted once without his consent. So, another team might claim him, but he’ll likely stay a Brave if no team does.