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Battery Power 2024 Preseason Top 30 Braves Prospects: 13-18

We move forward with our list as we are well into the teens

Salt River Rafters v. Peoria Javelinas Photo by Norm Hall/MLB Photos via Getty Images

The Atlanta Braves have been aggressive with the movement of their prospect both through the minor leagues and in trades, and as such it’s become a trend that much of this list is made of fresh faces to the system. The Braves have had some success with these recent inundations of talent and have started to build a deeper system throughout. The middle third of our top 30 list represents the transition into players that have serious potential to make a major league impact, and those who could well find themselves working into the top ten in the near future.

ICYMI: 19-24 | 25-30

18. Douglas Glod - OF

How he got to the Braves: 2022 International signee — $1.3 million bonus

Diego Benitez was the crown jewel of Atlanta’s 2022 international class. However, Glod has the chance to be right up there with Benitez in terms of hype in the coming years. Early reports on Glod as a 5’9, 185-pound outfielder were that he didn’t really possess any one significant tool. However, scouts praised his solid play across the board, giving him decent potential to develop a plus tool or two down the road given where his skill set already was. Glod’s pro career got off to a bit of a slow start. In 32 games in the Dominican Summer League, the outfielder posted a .707 OPS with a pair of homers. But Glod did post a wRC+ of 100 in addition to a solid 17.2 percent walk rate during his stint in the DSL.

As he made the move stateside, Glod’s offensive profile began to trend in a positive direction. Across 47 games, Glod sported a .784 OPS while improving his walk rate to a very solid 18.4 percent. He did, however, see his strikeout rate tick up a bit, going down on strikes in a third of his plate appearances. All in all, it’s a bit too soon to say what the Braves have in Glod at the moment. The tool are certainly there, even if they’re not flashy, and his offensive numbers have improved. The real test will come this season when he faces much better pitching and competition as he makes his way up the MiLB ladder. Glod just turned 19 a few days ago and will most likely make the transition to Low-A at some point this season — if not straight out of the gate — barring any unforeseen setbacks.

17. Dylan Dodd - LHP

How he got to the Braves: 2021 MLB Draft, 3rd round

Dylan Dodd had an easy ride through the system to his major league debut last season. After being drafted in the third round in 2021 he made the minor leagues look like light work, dominating in his first full season in 2022. Dodd struck out 153 batters across three levels of the minor leagues, had a 3.11 FIP and walked only 5.3% of batters faced. Dodd came into 2023 as a dark horse for the major league starting rotation and early in spring training it became clear that he and fellow lefty Jared Shuster would be in a battle for a fifth starter role. Dodd ultimately debuted in Atlanta on April 4th, but his time was short-lived and he spent the season bouncing between Gwinnett and Atlanta. Dodd’s strikeout rates took a concerning nose dive at the major league level and he struggled to make hitters swing-and-miss at any sort of decent rate. He ended up being one of the worst pitchers in the major leagues and continued to show regression with poor performances in Gwinnett.

Dodd’s pitch quality was not as good as it had been in his first full professional season, but the biggest issue that plagued him was a regression in command. Dodd previously had no issue controlling the zone and locating all of his pitches effectively, but his fastball was left too often in hittable locations and his changeup which had previously been his best pitch wasn’t getting the same response from right handed hitters. Dodd still has the potentially to round into a #4 or 5 starter at the major league level, but the starting point for him will be getting back to the form he showed in 2022. There he was the most impressive lefty in the system at the time, and showed no trouble getting outs at a high level. Dodd’s lack of location and elite stuff showed up with a drastic bump in his home run rates as well, and that carried even into the Arizona Fall League where he was significantly older than the average competition but still allowed five in 19 innings. Dodd’s projection based on his 2023 season isn’t optimistic, but he has shown the potential for major league success in the past and still has the same toolset he used to put up those good performances.

16. Seth Keller - RHP

How he got to the Braves: 6th round pick, 2022 MLB Draft

Don’t let Keller’s size fool you. He’s as athletic of a pitching prospect you’ll find in the Braves system. A two-way standout of Hanover High School in Virginia, the 5’10, 180-pound righty has battled injuries over his first two seasons as a pro which has put question marks on just how good of a prospect he can be. After being drafted in 2022, Keller tossed just two innings for the FCL squad before being shut down with an injury. Fast-forward to 2023, and things appeared to be off and running for the righty, as he spun three scoreless starts for Low-A Augusta. He followed that up with three more solid starts, giving him a 1.17 ERA — a 2.83 FIP — and struck out 22 batters while walking only three in six starts. But shortly after that sixth start, the wheels fell off.

Keller hit the injured list and when he came back, the command was no longer there as he issued 24 walks in 23 innings in his last ten appearances. Keller’s velocity was also down, indicating he was still suffering from some type of injury. When healthy, Keller’s fastball sits consistently in the mid-90’s and he flashes a slider that needed some work coming into the season but made strides. But the real moneymaker for Keller is his split changeup which was labeled as one of the best secondary pitches in the entire 2022 MLB Draft. Slated to start 2024 in Rome, the key to Keller’s success is simple: remain healthy. If he can do that, there’s no reason the 19-year-old can’t rocket up our prospect list later on this year.

15. Cade Kuehler - RHP

How he got to the Braves: 2023 MLB Draft, 2nd round

Cade Kuehler was another in the Braves list of college arms, and it’s clear to see what the Braves are seeing with him in terms of how they approach player acquisition. Kuehler had a dominant junior season for the Campbell Camels, striking out 91 batters over 73 innings at the top of their staff. He allowed only one hit and struck out eight batters in seven innings in a debut with Augusta, and the flashes of talent certainly have intrigue. Kuehler is an undersized pitcher with a flat vertical approach angle, mid 90’s fastball, and high spin rates which fits perfectly with what Atlanta has looked for in this range of the draft with college pitchers. His primary secondary offering is a high-velocity vertical slider, another staple of the development staff in Atlanta, and he is working on developing a changeup which he has shown a feel for.

Overall Kuehler’s arsenal is major league starter quality, but there is a reason he slipped into the second round. Kuehler has poor present command and below average projections for command, as his violent and jerky deliver doesn’t get him much chance to repeat his mechanics. It does add a level of deception to his delivery, but the bigger risk is that his effort combined with his frame gives him a particularly high reliever risk. That mix of pitches would certainly play out of the bullpen, but given the Braves selection in the second round it’s obvious they feel they can maximize his command and keep him in a starting rotation long term. The Braves banked on arm talent with this pick, and will work to make adjustments to his delivery in the coming season to try to improve the command of all of his pitches.

14. Sabin Ceballos - INF

How he got to the Braves: 3rd round pick, 2023 MLB Draft

After taking a trio of college arms with their first three picks in the 2023 draft, Atlanta opted to take a bat in Ceballos out of Oregon University. Ceballos raked at San Jacinto Junior College before transferring to Oregon where he posted a 1.069 OPS with the Ducks. Much like Keller, injuries prevented us from getting an advanced look at Ceballos in pro ball after being drafted. The 21-year-old, 6’3, 225-pound third baseman appeared in five games for the FCL squad, posting a 1.042 OPS. He was then placed on the injured list for nearly a month which almost tanked his season altogether.

After getting promoted to Low-A Augusta, Ceballos made just 35 plate appearances, sporting a .718 OPS with one extra-base hit which was a home run. Lauded for his bat, there are question marks about where Ceballos will end up defensively long-term. The Braves announced him as a shortstop when they drafted him, but have so far only played him at third base, albeit in ten games. Ultimately, the Braves feel like they found a solid player who is just beginning to tap into his full potential playing baseball at a higher level. Ceballos figured to repeat Low-A Augusta but he’ll probably be on the fast-track to Rome if he puts up solid numbers. And it’s not out of the realm of possibility for him to make the High-A opening day roster if he has a solid spring training.

13. Diego Benitez - INF

How he got to the Braves: International free agent, January 2022

Diego Benitez was the headliner of the Braves 2022 international class, with the Venezuelan shortstop getting $2.5M from the club. Benitez debuted that summer in the DSL and had some normal ups and downs while making his pro debut. This season would be our first look at him stateside. Benitez went on to hit .261/.332/.392 in 196 plate appearances for the FSL club, collecting a pair of homers among his 16 extra base hits and drawing 17 walks to 44 strikeouts. It is worth noting that he finished the year with an OPS of .879 and both of his homers in the month of August.

Benitez is a player known for his bat with great bat speed, some feel got hitting, and some power potential in his 6’0, 180-pound frame - though power is never going to be his biggest strength. Benitez is a guy who should stick at short and has plenty of athleticism, but he is going to need to refine his approach to cut down on the strikeouts and be able to tap into the power he does have.

Benitez is ticketed for Low-A this year and that will give Braves fans their first chance to get a closer look at him. He hasn’t quite lived up to his pre-signing hype and signing bonus, but it is important to remember that he didn’t turn 19 until November and the last two years were spent making his pro debut and US debut, so there is still plenty of time for him to turn things around

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