Word has spread that the National League could adopt the DH as early as 2021, and I’m finally ready. No more Mike Foltynewicz, and say hello to Bryce Ball. It seems universal throughout conversations from Atlanta Braves prospect gurus that the Braves committed highway robbery when they drafted Ball in the 24th round. Granted, Ball is a remarkably limited baseball player and that’s why national media hasn’t been in on him quite yet. At 6’6, 235 (and most people that have seen him in person think that it’s more like 6’7 250), there’s likely only 1 spot of which he’ll be able to play on the diamond. Unfortunately for him, that’s the spot which houses what most would consider the Braves franchise player, Freddie Freeman.
Breaking down Bryce Ball’s Stat-line
There are 2 players in the Braves system that has 70 grade raw power and that is Alex Jackson and Bryce Ball. For comparison’s sake, Ronald Acuna Jr’s raw power is 65. As of now, Ball’s game power is well below that according to Fangraphs, but a repeat of 2019 at a higher level, and no one will be able to argue that 2019 was a fluke because of age vs. level.
Between Danville and Rome, the 21 year old put up some eye popping numbers:
- 263 Plate Appearances
- 76 Hits
- 18 Doubles
- 17 Home Runs
- 50! Walks
- .329/.385/.628/1.023 slash line
And while it may change going forward against tougher competition, Ball’s K-rate is quite bearable for a power hitter of his magnitude, hovering around 20%.
Breaking Down Bryce Ball’s Contact-Type
Looking at his spray chart, one could see that he, like Freddie Freeman, uses all parts of the field. However, after talking to David Lee, it was apparent that Ball’s opposite field (~30%) connections were more to do with not clearing his wrists and it’s something that he’s going to have to work on as he progresses through the system. Generally speaking, power hitters like Acuna, who can hit for power from pole to pole, are few and far between and it’s best for guys like Ball to be middle/pull types to maximize their in-game power.
Speaking of David Lee, I asked him what he’d like to see from Bryce Ball going forward:
Regarding Ball, it’s all about how he handles advanced pitching. He tracks well, knows the zone and adjusts, but getting to velo off advanced sequencing will be the big test. I’m confident he can handle it. He also needs to make significant strides at 1B.David Lee (find his stuff at BravesProspects.com)
Video of Bryce Ball Discussing Being Drafted by the Braves
Now…for fun, let’s see Bryce Ball hitting things.
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