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Dylan Dodd headlines Braves prospects headed to the Arizona Fall League

Seven Braves are headed to Salt River, including Dodd and top prospect David McCabe

MLB: Game Two-Atlanta Braves at Detroit Tigers Rick Osentoski-USA TODAY Sports

It’s been a long wait for the Arizona Fall League rosters, and on Friday morning we finally found out which Atlanta Braves were going to be heading out this November. Among them were seven total prospects, two of which fell in our top 25 in the preseason.

The roster

Dylan Dodd is the most well-known name from the list that will be headed out to Salt River, and it’s a bit of an oddity as it’s not often that players with major league experience end up in the AFL. However, the Braves feel there is work to be done that could allow Dodd to play a more effective major league role in 2023, and is the case with many players in the league he missed time this year due to injury. Because of this he fell four starts and 40 innings short of his 2022 total, and in his time he was not nearly as effective as he was last season.

David McCabe is by far the biggest among the prospects heading to Arizona, and after splitting time across the A levels this past season the 23 year old is in need of a bigger challenge. McCabe was the fourth round pick for Atlanta in 2022, however he got off to a bit of a slow start as he struggled with strikeouts in Augusta. Following the first month he ended the season with a 144 wRC+ and played 81 games in Rome where he struck out less than 20% of the time and had a 128 wRC+. McCabe has had a long season, already playing 123 games, but that’s less of a concern with infielders especially those who don’t play a premium position. As a somewhat older draftee quick advancement could be key for McCabe, who currently plays third base but projects as a 1B/DH type at the next level.

Brooks Wilson has had a long battle to get back ready to make a splash in the major leagues. Back in 2021 Wilson had a breakout season in Mississippi, then ended the season with six appearances in Gwinnett across which he allowed only one run. Wilson earned a spot on the 40 man roster going into 2022, however he underwent Tommy John surgery following an injury in spring training and has since spent his time recovering. Wilson briefly returned in the middle of the season, but went down again with an injury after just a couple of innings of rehab and didn’t reappear until late August. Wilson once again excelled in Double-A with a 1.08 ERA over 8 13 innings, and he is currently pitching with the Gwinnett Stripers. Wilson is far from an impact arm, but has solid middle relief potential. Still, he has only pitched 13 13 innings in the past two seasons, and at 27 years old he needs to get on track for a debut soon.

Keshawn Ogans was the final pick of the 2022 draft, and in his age 21 season he had a solid season as a utility infielder in Rome. Ogans posted a 112 wRC+, and showed off a solid approach at the plate, decent contact skills, and more power than you would expect from his 5’8 frame. His defense at shortstop is fringy, but he is overall a solid gamer-type prospect who could have a utility future. He does a lot of things right in the game, showing a good understanding of his abilities on both sides of the ball, and he should be ready to make the leap to Double-A next season.

Tyler Tolve has struggled to find consistent playing time in his career, and spent most of 2023 injured and only played in 50 Double-A games. He struggled in that time with an 84 wRC+ and his issues have always been with making contact. Tolve struck out over 30% of the time in A ball and struck out 27.2% of the time this season, but the talent he does possess still makes him an interesting prospect. Tolve is a solid all-around receiver, though his arm is fringy and will be his weakness behind the plate. Beyond that Tolve has serious raw power, in quantities rare for a catcher. This alone gives him appeal, and him needing more time for development makes him an obvious choice to head to Salt River.

Jake McSteen was picked up as an undrafted free agent out of Nebraska in 2021, and since he has put up mediocre numbers. McSteen is 27 years old and his stuff is uninspiring, though he throws a lot of strikes and can give you innings in long relief. He’s not much of a prospect, but those Arizona Fall League teams need to fill innings at times.

Patrick Halligan was drafted in the 13th round by the Royals in 2021, however after a season and a half of mediocre relief work he was released by Kansas City. The Braves scooped him up in free agency this offseason, and he had a solid season in relief for Rome. Halligan’s overall numbers don’t look good, but when pitching in relief he made 12 appearances and posted a 2.38 ERA with 39 strikeouts in 34 innings. In nine innings with Mississippi to finish out the year Halligan dominated, striking out 11 batters and posting a 1.80 FIP. Halligan is a bit older at 23, but still has time to develop and has solid stuff which gives him a middle relief ceiling.

The Arizona Fall League kicks off on October 2nd and will run through the championship on November 11th. The Braves representatives will be playing with the Salt River Rafters this year, and in the meantime we will have weekly recaps of the performances for them. There will also be the Fall Stars game on November 5th which we will have individual coverage of if any Braves make the team, and we will cover the playoff games should the Rafters play well enough to end up there.

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