It is fairly well-documented at this point that the Atlanta Braves farm system is pretty thin these days. The big reason for that is pretty positive: they’ve been graduating players to the major leagues at a high rate. However, position player depth, in particular is at or near an all-time low because of the sanctions that were placed on the Braves (along with banning former General Manager John Coppolella for life from baseball). When those sanctions started to ease a bit, the first high profile international prospect the Braves signed was shortstop Ambioris Tavarez.
Preseason Report Card
Coming into the 2022 season, we had Tavarez as the 19th-ranked prospect in the Braves organization. The raw talent is better than that (and he has likely moved up solely because of trades and promotions since then), but with the Braves not fielding a DSL team last year, we just needed to seem in in pro ball for an extended period before placing him any higher.
What we saw in 2022
In short, not a lot, although what action he did see was pretty positive. After not playing in the Dominican Summer League like most internationally-acquired prospects because the Braves couldn’t (or didn’t) field a team, Tavarez only played in August this past season (17 games) as he was previously placed on the temporarily inactive list in June. No, we don’t know why that was the case.
Despite the lack of playing time over the past couple of years, Tavarez played respectably down in Rookie ball with a .277/.304/.385 line. That said, 28 strikeouts in less than 70 plate appearances was certainly a non-great rate, and we didn’t see much power output from him either.
Our outlook on Tavarez honestly hasn’t really changed from last year, other than a little bit more concern that these lags in playing time could hurt his development. We think he will grow into some power and possesses strong, but raw, hitting skills. We still don’t know if he will stick at shortstop long-term given our lack of in-person looks at him, but if he does move over to third because he grows out of short, that will put more pressure on his power showing up. Our guess is that he starts the season either in Extended Spring Training or Low-A next year. We do think he will get to full-season ball over the course of the year, though, and from there it will be interesting to see where he stands as a hitter.