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2023 Minor League Player Reviews: Sabin Ceballos

The Braves used their third round pick on an interesting college bat in Sabin Ceballos.

NCAA BASEBALL: JUN 03 Nashville Regional - Vanderbilt vs Oregon
Sabin Ceballos
Photo by Matthew Maxey/Icon Sportswire via Getty Images

The biggest bat the Atlanta Braves took in the 2023 MLB Draft was intriguing University of Oregon product Sabin Ceballos.

How Acquired

The Braves selected Ceballos in the third round of the 2023 MLB Draft. The Puerto Rico native was given a signing bonus of $597,500, slightly under the $714,000 slot value.

Preseason report card

Ceballos wasn’t ranked preseason as he was still playing college ball at that point. While he was on the radar for the draft, and had been for multiple years already, it was an offensive breakout that boosted him into his early Day 2 selection. Ceballos brings both some questions and some intrigue with his defensive profile, and is also regarded as being an excellent character/makeup player.

What we saw in 2023

Ceballos mashed at UO, hitting 18 homers with a 1.069 OPS in 256 plate appearances, with almost as many walks as strikeouts (34 to 36). This was his lone year playing major college baseball, as he was previously at JUCO powerhouse San Jacinto JC through the 2022 season, after which he was drafted by the Angels in the 14th round of the 2022 MLB Draft.

After signing, Ceballos made his debut in the FCL and played five games there, in addition to nine with Low-A Augusta. He dealt with a minor injury that kept him out from July 31st all the way until August 25th, and likely would have been promoted to Augusta much sooner for quite a bit of additional experience had he remained healthy. Still, he got 50 combined plate appearances and put together a total slash line of .300/.440/.375 between the two levels, with a 1.042 OPS in the FCL and .718 mark in Low-A. Overall he did just have one extra base hit, a homer in Low-A. Defensively, he played 10 games, all of them coming at third base.

2024 outlook

Ceballos will get a chance to either earn his way to High-A with a strong showing in Spring Training, or get sent back to Low-A with a shot to quickly earn a promotion. With just one year of PAC-12 experience and only 50 professional plate appearances, where he starts will very likely be determined in the spring. The bat should play, as he is expected to be able to hit for both a solid average and some power — but the real question is where he will end up defensively. Ceballos is a former high school shortstop who moved to third in college, and while he could potentially be playable there defensively, there were teams looking at him as a potential catcher in the draft — though much work would need to be done there due to limited experience at the position at a high level. The main question about his defense stems from his considerably below-average speed, so despite solid actions and a strong arm, there are questions about how much range he will have at third as he continues to mature.

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