This season has always been a rebuilding one for the Atlanta Braves. With September fast approaching, many fans are eagerly anticipating the call-ups of some of Atlanta’s top young prospects. Here’s a look at some of the prospects that could see the most playing time down the stretch.
2B Ozzie Albies
Of all the prospects the Atlanta Braves will be calling up, Ozzie Albies will almost certainly see the field the most.
He is widely regarded as one of Atlanta’s top prospects. The Curacao native is also viewed as the long-term double play partner of fellow top prospect Dansby Swanson, who has already been called up to play shortstop. Albies has hit .325 in 67 games at Mississippi, but only .248 in 56 games at triple-A Gwinnett.
But, he is still only 19 and one of the cornerstones of the future of the franchise. He will likely get most of the starts at second in September in order to get he and Swanson ready for Opening Day 2017.
3B Rio Ruiz
The first three months of Rio Ruiz‘s season were hit or miss. His .310 averages in April and June were sandwiched around a .198 average in May. He’s leveled out a bit since, hitting .267 in July and .281 so far in August. With Adonis Garcia currently holding down third base for the big club, Ruiz will probably get at least a shot at playing some hot corner in September.
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Against left-handed pitching the lefty is hitting only .210, so a platoon with Garcia may be in the works. The Atlanta Braves may also use September to see if Ruiz could play a corner outfield spot. Power hitting third base prospect Austin Riley is currently in Rome, so Atlanta may see if Ruiz could move to the outfield when Riley arrives in Atlanta.
OF Dustin Peterson
In the warmest months of the season in Mississippi, Dustin Peterson‘s bat was as hot as the weather.
He hit at a .320 clip in June, and elevated that to a .345 mark in July. He’s back down to hitting .271 in August, but his season has nonetheless been impressive. This has been his first season above A ball, so he is still a bit of an unproven commodity. But given his solid production at double-A, the Braves may very well call him up and give him a chance to earn a roster spot in 2017.
LHP A.J. Minter
A.J. Minter has arguably been the most dominant of any prospect in the Atlanta Braves’ system this year. He has made stops at low-A Rome, high-A Carolina and double-A Mississippi. In 31 innings of work, the 2015 second round pick has allowed just 14 hits and a grand total of one earned run. He is coming back from Tommy John surgery, so he’s been getting at least a couple of days of rest in between appearances. But with sparkling numbers like these, the Braves would be foolish not to call him up for some appearances in September with the hopes of him being a key piece of the 2017 bullpen.
RHP Shae Simmons
Shae Simmons is the only player on this list to have enjoyed his first cappuccino in the Majors. He appeared in 26 games for Atlanta in 2014, pitching to a 2.91 ERA with 23 strikeouts in 21.2 innings. Then he had Tommy John surgery in February of 2015. His comeback attempt has had some setbacks, but now he appears to be nearly ready to return to Atlanta.
With his electric fastball and devastating curveball, his stuff has drawn comparisons to Craig Kimbrel. If he can stay healthy, look for him to get a lot of work in September to prepare for a setup or closer role in 2017.