The Atlanta Braves used their 11th round selection in the 2021 MLB Draft to go overslot and nab a large (6’6”) prep left-hander with some real promise: Adam Shoemaker. The Canadian hurler debuted in 2021, but only threw five innings after signing — making 2022 his first real taste of pro ball.
Preseason Report Card
Shoemaker ranked the Braves’ 29th-best prospect on our preseason rankings. He was seen as a projectable — yet raw — talented young arm who was still years away, in need of not only fine-tuning his pitching, but also filling in his body with good weight. This wasn’t unexpected for a lanky kid out of a cold-weather area that wouldn’t even turn 20 years old until late in the 2022 season.
What we saw in 2022
We saw exactly what we expected, considering where Shoemaker is in terms of his development. We saw flashes of big-time potential, mixed in with some very tough outings. Overall, Shoemaker made 13 appearances, including ten in the FCL after making his first three in Augusta, and pitched to a 6.87 ERA and 1.66 WHIP over 38 innings. He struck out 37, but also walked 24. The numbers in the FCL were a bit better than his combined line, with a 5.73 ERA, 1.55 WHIP, and 19 walks in 30 innings.
Looking at the stats doesn’t tell the whole story, though. Not only did Shoemaker strike out a batter per inning, but he had flashes like a back-to-back set of outings in late June where he went a combined 10 innings and allowed just one run on five hits and a walk. Overall, in his 10 FCL appearances, Shoemaker allowed zero or one run four times.
Shoemaker should be right back where he opened the 2022 season, in the Augusta rotation, to begin the year. Honestly, it was surprising to see a pitcher this raw make the jump to full-season ball to open the 2022 season, and it was clear Shoemaker was in over his head at the level after just three outings. That’s fine, though. Shoemaker was always going to be a multiyear project with both physical and pitching development needed, and arms like that tend to have bumps in the road as they go through this kind of development process.
It shouldn’t surprise anyone to see Shoemaker open some eyes in 2023, as he will still be 20 years old for the bulk of the season. Despite his 2022 struggles, he still managed to strike out a batter an inning. By the time spring rolls around, it will have been another year for him to have put more weight on his frame and add a little more onto his stuff. This time, he should also be more ready for the jump up to full-season ball as well.