Kevin Kilpatrick Jr. entered the Atlanta Braves organization as a bit of a fan favorite, considering he is a local player with great makeup. Despite being a late-round pick, the toolsy outfielder has the potential to outperform his draft position as a player who can do a little bit of everything.
The Braves used their 17th round pick in the 2022 MLB Draft to take Kilpatrick from a junior college in Central Florida, though he was viewed as more of a local product after having graduated from Redan High School in Stone Mountain, Georgia.
Preseason Report Card
Kilpatrick did not make our preseason Top 25 prospect list last year despite posting a .788 OPS between 32 games across the FCL and Augusta after signing following the 2022 Draft. He was seen as a guy who had speed, some on-base ability, and the versatility to play all over the outfield. However, he was also a guy who fans were hoping would show a little more power in 2023.
What we saw in 2023
Kilpatrick spent his entire 2023 as a 22-year-old in High-A Rome. In 551 plate appearances, he hit .226/.333/.333 (89 wRC+) with 21 doubles, seven triples, and five homers. He also added 32 steals in 37 attempts and played every game in the field in center.
The power didn’t really come for Kilpatrick and the hit tool was a little less than what Braves fans were hoping to see, as that .333 OBP came despite drawing 68 walks and he struck out 140 times in those 551 plate appearances.
Kilpatrick likely did enough to move up to the upper levels in the minors in 2024, especially when you consider he will be entering his age-23 season. The main things for him to watch for this year are to see if he can tap into a little more power and make a little more consistent contact at the plate. If he is unable to do those things, his ceiling probably is more of a fourth outfielder with speed and defensive versatility. He’s a guy with great makeup that does everything well, but isn’t one of the guys with plus tools, so the fourth outfielder ceiling is seeming to be his most likely outcome.