The Atlanta Braves certainly could use a position player or three to have breakout seasons in 2023, as things are looking pretty thin in the minor leagues when it comes to guys that swing bats. One player that is mildly interesting, although with some real issues, is infield prospect Geraldo Quintero.
Preseason Report Card
We did not have Quintero ranked as a top 30 prospect in the Braves farm system before the season. A .585 OPS in the Gulf Coast League doesn’t exactly give us the most confidence in a player, even when adjusting for the fact that guys were coming off the COVID-prompted layoff. We were aware of Quintero, but it is fair to say that we didn’t have high hopes before the season.
What we saw in 2022
We joke a lot about Quintero among ourselves given his batted ball profile which involves a lot of grounders getting through, but he honestly put together a really good year. Across two levels of the minor leagues in 2022, the switch-hitter slashed .258/.356/.412. His exit velos leave a lot to be desired, so we were pleasantly surprised when he got 43 extra base hits last year. His numbers were better against righty pitchers (.830 OPS vs. .620 OPS against lefties) and that passes the eye test as well.
However, one thing to note about Quintero is his defense... which can be rough. Quintero split time in 2022 between third and second base and in his 105 games in the field, he made 29 errors. In fairness to him, the bulk of those errors were when he was playing third base, so moving him off of the hot corner may be wise.
Quintero is a tough one to peg because in terms of profiles, we are not big fans. He has some athleticism, but we aren’t as bullish that he can turn that athleticism into big-time production as at least one national site is. He can hit reasonably well, but the power production is not something we are confident is going to be an every season occurrence (or even that it will ever happen again at 2022 levels for that matter). As a second base/utility guy that can make contact and draw walks, the Braves can do a lot worse, and he should start the season at High-A with a chance at Double-A. However, we think his ceiling is limited and him turning into an everyday big leaguer would be a pretty big surprise.