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Braves Minor League Player Review: Cedric De Grandpre

De Grandpre led the Braves minor league system in FIP in 2023

MLB: AUG 20 Giants at Braves Photo by Jeff Robinson/Icon Sportswire via Getty Images

Cedric De Grandpre had some of the best overall numbers in the Atlanta Braves’ farm system this past season, and at 21 years old was able to reach High-A Rome in his first professional season. Still, the 2022 draft pick falls under the radar and struggles to crack the top 30 in a weak Braves system.

How acquired

De Grandpre was the Braves’ 13th round pick in 2022. He attended Chipola Junior College and was born in Quebec, Canada.

Preseason Report Card

As a 13th-round pick there were certainly limited expectations placed on De Grandpre’s shoulders headed into the 2023 season, and he was not among our top 25 prospects. He was, however, named as an honorable mention, with our eyes primarily focused on how many whiffs he could generate with his slider. De Grandpre had an impressive showing in the 2022 MLB Draft League which helped lead to his selection by Atlanta, but his professional debut was marred by a particularly bad Single-A stint. While it’s hard to judge any player on a small sample in post-draft play, De Grandpre’s command issues were certainly a glaring weakness. Still, he had a solid arsenal to work with and a fairly simple delivery to hopefully build off of.

What we saw in 2023

De Grandpre made an early statement in 2023, dominating in Single-A and forcing his way up to Rome. After allowing four runs in his season debut, he rattled off an incredible stretch of starts, giving up one run in 23 innings across his next five outings, with a 2.40 FIP to boot. De Grandpre finished his time in Augusta with a 1.95 ERA, striking out 40 batters and walking only seven across 32 13 innings of work. Early in his stint at Rome, he had success as well, putting up a 2.75 ERA and 2.51 FIP in his first five High-A outings. This culminated in a career high nine strikeouts over five innings on June 28th, but that was the end of the good days for De Grandpre.

As the season dragged on, his run prevention blew up, as he allowed three or more runs in each of his final seven starts. This was somewhat a case of poor batted ball luck, but deeper than that he really stopped striking guys out during this span. In his first ten starts De Grandpre had a strikeout rate of 29 percent, and while that dipped upon promotion to High-A he still struck out 24.7 percent of his batters through his first five games. That dropped to just 17 percent across his final seven outings. In those last seven outings, his ERA was 6.49, and his FIP was 4.80.

All in all though, it was a marvelous first full season in the professional ranks. De Grandpre led all Braves minor leaguers with at least 70 innings pitched with a 3.41 FIP and controlled his walks well with just a 6.0 percent walk rate. He finished High-A with a 3.97 FIP overall, which is certainly interesting but nowhere near as impressive as his pitching line through June.

2024 Outlook

When you look forward to next season for De Grandpre, the end of 2023 is what stands out as important for him. De Grandpre lacks an effective third offering, relying primarily on his sinker and slider. This creates issues when attempting to go multiple times through a lineup, and as the season progressed we saw that crop up as he was expected to pitch deeper into games more frequently. De Grandpre controls the bottom of the strike zone well with his two-pitch mix, and is able to force higher ground ball rates and low walk rates, but his ability to remain as a starter will be tested, especially once he reaches Double-A, which will likely happen at some point in 2024.

Hypothetical development of a third pitch would certainly give him the opportunity to stick as a starter given the quality of his sinker and slider, but that growth would need to be massive and right now De Grandpre is likely to see his career move towards a bullpen role. The Braves will keep him in the rotation as long as possible, as they do with any pitcher, but with a low 90s fastball and a slider as his primary strikeout offering, De Grandpre is trending towards being a middle relief prospect. There is athleticism there and we’ve seen development and performance from him in a short window so far, but his average fastball and lack of a third offering are going to hold him back from making waves on prospect lists.

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