Baseball is right around the corner, and Battery Power is certainly ready for its return. The minor league crew is bringing you the first preview of 2023 by unveiling out list of top Atlanta Braves prospects for the upcoming season. We’ll be rolling out our list of 25 of the best names to know in the minor league system but we’ll start with five names that just missed the list.
Mahki Backstrom - 1B
Backstrom has been a staple on our top prospect list for a couple of years, but he just missed this one after a tough year at Low A Augusta. Backstrom’s calling card is his tremendous raw power and he showed that this season, though at this stage it only comes in spurts. Backstrom had more extra base hits (30) than singles (24) in 2022 and made hard contact, but wasn’t able to make that contact consistently enough, striking out 38.3% of the time. Backstrom hit only .205, but due to his power output and 17.3% walk rate still had a .355 on base percentage and 117 wRC+. Backstrom is still young and will go into the 2023 at 21 years old, but the hang up has been his lack of offensive development. His physical toolset is certainly intriguing, but he needs to make contact more consistently to get back into the conversation as a top prospect in the system.
Tyler Collins - OF
Tyler Collins was poised to be one of the system’s biggest risers in 2022, but an injury-riddled campaign saw him take just 12 at bats. Collins was one of the more impressive draftees from the 2021 class, coming straight out of high school as an eighth round pick to post an .877 OPS in the Florida Complex League. With a solid bat and the athleticism to stick in center field and be a menace on the basepaths, Collins gave many hope he could be the latest in a line of late round draftees to impress. Instead he played only four games in 2022 and had a .625 OPS in that span while not making it to full season ball. This is a bit of a set back for Collins and has certainly impacted his stock, but it’s important not to take too much out of the past season. He’ll still be only 20 years old and if he starts in Augusta, will have a chance to immediately right the ship and vault his way back into the top 15 of this list.
Kadon Morton - OF
Morton is one of the system’s best physical talents, but after a slow start to 2022, it became a question of whether he would ever be able to do anything with it. Morton turned his season around in early June and finished his final 63 games at Single-A with a .274/.380/.493 (140 wRC+) line and a renewed confidence in his ability. Strikeouts remained high for Morton, but he was able to cut back and dip into his raw power with 10 home runs over those last 63 games. Still, his numbers were driven by a .383 BABIP and the strikeouts will have to come down for him to continue advancing the levels. He made strides in quieting what was a laborious swing and looks like a player that has the potential to break out in 2023.
Cedric De Grandpre - RHP
The Braves drafted De Grandpre in the 13th round out of Chipola Junior College, and the young pitcher managed to showcase talent despite having a turbulent debut. He spent just two games in rookie ball before getting pulled up to Augusta where he gave us a not-so-stellar outing by allowing five runs while recording just one out. He bounced back with a strong outing with 3 2/3 scoreless innings and five strikeouts before finishing off with a rocky final outing. Overall De Grandpre struck out 12 batters over 8 2/3 innings while walking four, though his command is significantly worse than those walk figures would suggest. De Grandpre has a low-90s fastball that grades out as average with his best pitch being a curveball that flashes above average potential. There is certainly reason to keep an eye on De Grandpre going into 2023, but he will be a project for the Braves who will need to help him make major command improvements while refining his arsenal.
Geraldo Quintero - IF
Geraldo Quintero had a sneaky good season in 2022, posting a 118 wRC+ in Single-A before putting up a league average 100 wRC+ in High-A Rome. Those are good numbers for a 20 year old infielder, and there is certainly something to work with in Quintero. He makes consistent line drive contact to all fields and draws his share of walks, traits which allowed him to post high on base percentages last season. His numbers were not completely empty either with him putting in a .160 isolated power at Augusta, but he is also a player who is maxed out physically with his limitation being his power and low exit velocities. He doesn’t have a particularly good arm either and committed 24 errors in 64 games at third base last season. Thus, Quintero is a player with little utility as he’ll be locked defensively at second base (where he is a solid defender) and doesn’t project to produce the power necessary to be an above average hitter there. Quintero’s ceiling is likely as a low-end starter or bench bat, but his hit tool is worth mentioning and is among the better ones in the system