Two launch prospects that could be firmly on the Braves’ radar in 2022 are right-handers Indigo Diaz and Joey Estes, who may not be far from Atlanta.
Selected in the 27th round out of the state of Michigan in 2019, Diaz burst onto the scene in 2021 by hitting 83 in 45 innings while posting a 1.20 ERA in 32 relay appearances. The 23-year-old started in High-A Rome before arriving in Double-A Mississippi in mid-July.
The 6-foot 5 and 250-pound right-hander was electric last season. No pitcher with at least 40 innings set a higher batting rate than Diaz, who fanned 16.6 for every nine innings and 47% of batters faced off.
With a fast-paced mid-90s ball and an ongoing breaking throw, Diaz looks like the part of a high-level reliever future. He could earn a spot in the Braves ’bullpen in the middle of summer.
Estes is not as far away as Díaz, but he surpasses him in terms of height.
Chosen in the 16th round in 2019 at high school in Lancaster, California, Estes surprised with an effectiveness of 2.91 in 20 outings at Low-A Augusta. He put up 127 against 29 balls in 99 innings, showing an improved command.
The 20-year-old has a combination of fast, slippery ball and a history of throwing shots that give him hope of becoming at least a major league reliever. These have worked on off-speed terrain that should help speed up their path to the big ones and improve their chances of getting into the rotation.
The Braves are known for pitching development, but their best prospects are now position players. They still have many intriguing young pitchers, although currently the system does not have a top tier arm, such as Mike Soroka or Max Fried.
– The Braves re-signed right-back Jasseel de la Cruz, who was not called up in November. The 24-year-old spent last season in Triple-A, with an effectiveness of 7.03 in 20 games (15 starters). It was most impressive in 2019 when it had an effectiveness of 3.25 on three levels. De la Cruz could still find his way to the majors this season.
– A position player to follow when the field opens is outfielder Jesse Franklin, the 2020 third-round player out of Michigan. Franklin is a bit of a fan of all trades, head teacher. He impressed the organization from his time in the alternate place and looks like the part of a future Major League Player. Will it continue to develop power? Last year he hit 24 homers in a tough Rome High-A park.
Minor League Transactions: November 19, 2021-Jan. 15, 2022
Transactions with minor league players during the period from November 19, 2021 to January. 15, 2022.
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