One of the Braves’ better prospects, we had Ignacio Alvarez fifth on our mid-season top 25 prospect list. Alvarez has quickly become one of the biggest risers, not only in the Braves’ system, but across the entire minor league landscape. Though unheralded before the draft, he suddenly has a chance to be a Top 100 guy in 2024.
The Braves took Alvarez in the fifth round of the 2022 MLB Draft, giving him a $500,000 signing bonus.
Preseason report card
Alvarez was coming off of an excellent small-sample debut season in 2022 where he posted a triple slash line of .287/.451/.394 with 26 walks to 15 strikeouts. That said, entering the 2023 season, there were reasonable concerns surrounding his game. Relative to other prospects, he was fairly inexperienced for his age, having not played in A-ball and turning 20 in early April.
What we saw in 2023
Alvarez’ initial pro success carried into the 2023 season at High-A. The infielder had a triple slash of .284/.395/.391, racked up 24 doubles, stole 16 bags and walked 66 times compared to 87 strikeouts 501 plate appearances. In total, he managed a 123 wRC+. If you’re looking for warts, Alvarez did only hit seven homers on the season which is a rather disappointing number in today’s day and age. But, with an OBP near .400, you can look past the lack of power.
After a full season at the High-A level, it seems like a foregone conclusion that the Braves will start Alvarez at the Double-A level in 2024. The bat-to-ball skills and eye will almost surely be there for him despite the uptick in competition. However, the power production remains a question. After hitting only seven homers last season, it is fair to wonder if that number will creep up this season or slip down. Sure, the doubles are nice, but if a hitter is connecting with single-digit homers in a season, it is difficult to see them carving out a full-time role at the next level these days. If he can get that number closer to 12-15, his ceiling as a prospect will rise significantly.