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2023 Minor League Review: Drake Baldwin

Baldwin kept hitting and flew up the minor league ranks in his first full season as a professional

Atlanta Braves v Washington Nationals - Game One Photo by Brandon Sloter/Image Of Sport/Getty Images

Arguably the best catcher on the Atlanta Braves’ farm, Drake Baldwin is coming off of a stock-improving season in his first full year as a pro.

How Acquired

Baldwin was selected by the Braves with their third-round pick (96th overall) in the 2022 MLB Draft.

Preseason report card

In our mid-season prospect rankings on Battery Power, Baldwin came in as the teams 15th-best prospect, the same rank he had after the 2022 season.

Coming into the year, there was still some question marks surrounding Baldwin’s game. Despite being a three-year college player, Baldwin posted a 22.5 percent strikeout rate in his 111 PAs after being drafted, with most of those coming in A-ball. On the flip side, he walked a ton in those 111 PAs (18.8 percent of the time), and there was power potential to dream on, even if he failed to show it in a small sample at Augusta.

What we saw in 2023

Sometimes, dreams become reality. After picking up just five extra-base hits in his debut season, Baldwin hit 16 homers and 26 doubles in 109 games across three minor league levels in 2023. His slugging percentage skyrocketed from a lowly .315 in 2022 to .460 in 2023.

Concerns about his strikeout rate also abated, as he struck out 20.5 percent of the time across High-A, Double-A, and Triple-A, with most of his exposure coming at the High-A level.

In the end, Baldwin destroyed High-A to the tune of a 135 wRC+, managed a 117 wRC+ in 59 PAs at Double-A, and had a 122 wRC+ in his teeny-tiny sample of 12 PAs at Triple-A.

2024 outlook

The Braves’ aggressive promotion of Baldwin in 2023, almost ensures that he will start the year in Triple-A. There is a small possibility that they start him in Double-A, seeing as he only had 59 PAs there last season, but it would be a bit surprising to see them effectively demote him at this point. While Chadwick Tromp is around, it’s possible we could see Baldwin make his MLB debut this season if there’s another surfeit of catching injuries in the organization.

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