2022 Offseason Braves Prospect List, 22-26

Three groups down and two more to go. Today I’ll start covering the final nine prospects on my 2022 Braves Prospect List, with this post covering Tier 4, featuring nos. 22-26. Like the third tier, this fourth one is rather small, only including five players, including some you’re probably familiar with, as well as a few that are new to my list. Let’s get started.

#22. Dylan Dodd, LHP

Drafted by ATL: 3rd Round, 2021 from Southeast Missouri State University (MO)

AgeHeight / WeightBats / Throws2021 Midseason rank
23-years-old6’3″ / 210 lbsL/LNR

Coming out of a small school (Southeast Missouri State), I admit, it was a bit surprising when the Braves selected Dodd in the third round of this past summer’s MLB Draft. Although at only a $122,500 signing bonus, Atlanta got him waay under-slot (Pick 96 value was $604,800 in 2021).

Regardless, the lefty was fine in his pro debut this past season. Sure, he only managed a 4.91 ERA in three starts with Single-A Augusta, but Dodd didn’t allow a single home run during that stretch with the GreenJackets as he averaged 11.5 strikeouts per nine and only 2.5 walks. His one start with High-A Rome in September went very poorly (3 IP, 9 H, 8 ER, 4 HR, 6 K), but it was simply one horrid outing.

Given Dodd will turn 24 in early June and he’s coming off four years worth of college ball, I definitely expect him to begin 2022 in High-A Rome, where he’ll be shooting for a mid-season promotion to Double-A. Dodd isn’t a hard thrower, hanging around the low-90s MPH, but reports indicate he has four viable offerings, so as long as he can continue to maintain solid command he should fit in as a potential mid-rotation starter.

#23. Justyn-Henry Malloy, 3B/OF

Drafted by ATL: 6th Round, 2021 from Georgia Institute of Technology (GA)

AgeHeight / WeightBats / Throws2021 Midseason rank
21-years-old6’2″ / 212 lbsR/RNR

This could be an intriguing prospect at third base, and still only entering his age-22 season in 2022, Malloy appears to have a bright future ahead of him, after being selected by the Braves in the sixth round of this past year’s draft. Athleticism, some solid speed, above average contact and plus power are all in play here.

Coming off a three-year collegiate career at both Vanderbilt and Georgia Tech, that featured a career .279 AVG, .931 OPS and 11 homers in 82 games overall, the Braves assigned the kid to Single-A Augusta following the draft. Malloy was impressive with the GreenJackets in 2021, slashing .270/.388/.434 with 10 XBH in 37 games, likely earning himself an opportunity to jump the gun a bit and start 2022 in Mississippi.

#24. William Woods, RHP

Drafted by ATL: 23rd Round, 2018 from Dyersburg State Community College (TN)

AgeHeight / WeightBats / Throws2021 Midseason rank
22-years-old6’3″ / 190 lbsR/R24th

As I’m sure you know, Woods has a chance to be one of the better pitching prospects in the system. Unfortunately, he just hasn’t been able to log many innings yet as a pro, totaling 51 back in 2019 as primarily a reliever and then only 10 2/3 frames this season. The Tennessee native didn’t start his 2021 campaign until August 19 – a one-inning opener with the FCL team. The next four starts never surpassed 42 pitches at a time as the Braves eased him back on the mound during the final month of the season with High-A Rome.

The undisclosed injury that Woods dealt with all this past season is a bit concerning, but all indicators seem to point to him being 100% in 2022. The Braves have always been wowed by his high-90s MPH (sometimes 100-MPH) velocity, and evidently there’s a future regarding his secondaries given the organization decided to transition him to a starter. The missed time has surely hurt Woods, but nearing his 23rd birthday later this month, he’s still at a young enough age that his prospect stock shouldn’t necessarily be impacted. I’ve had him at no. 24 in the system essentially since this past June, but I think by this time next year he’ll be inside the top 15. Woods just needs a full, healthy season to show what he can do.

FYI: Woods had a nice showing in the Arizona Fall League this fall, posting a 4.21 ERA in five starts and one relief appearance (21 IP), to go with 8.6 strikeouts per nine and 4.3 walks.

#25. Drew Lugbauer, 1B/DH

Drafted by ATL: 11th Round, 2017 from University of Michigan (MI)

AgeHeight / WeightBats / Throws2021 Midseason rank
25-years-old6’3″ / 220 lbsL/R27th

Braves Farm may be the only site that lists Lugbauer as a ranked prospect. Most in the industry look at him as more of an honorable mention, and I did too until this past season. He’s always had power, but the big guy could never seem to make enough contact to provide much value as a hitter. That changed with Double-A Mississippi in 2021.

During the first month of this most-recent campaign, Lugbauer’s power-stroke was still getting warmed up but the University of Michigan product hit .308 with a .881 OPS in his first 16 games. Over the next two months (through June and July), Lugbauer would go on to become one of the M-Braves most dangerous bats, slashing .252/.362/.531 with 10 homers and 11 doubles in 42 games during that stint. The first-half performance earned him a spot in my midseason top 30, and even though he cooled off quite a bit during the second-half of the season (.145 AVG, 10 XBH, 33 games), I believe the former 11th round pick has turned a corner.

It’s not all sunshine and rainbows for Lugbauer, though. At 25, he’s getting old for a prospect, and he doesn’t really have a home on defense, only able to man first base or DH. Plus, despite huge offensive numbers in 2021, Lugbauer still struck out at a career-high rate (37.4 K%), which has been an issue for him his entire pro career.

A long stint in Triple-A Gwinnett in 2022 could go a long way in truly determining what kind of player Lugbauer is. Right now I believe his ceiling is a potential bench bat in the majors, but if he can cut down on the whiffs going forward, and maintain his power, he could evolve into the Braves future homegrown designated-hitter when the universal-DH comes along.

#26. Daysbel Hernández, RHP

Signed by ATL: 2017, from Cuba

AgeHeight / WeightBats / Throws2021 Midseason rank
25-years-old5’10” / 220 lbsR/R21st

I’ve been mostly alone on the Hernández hype train for a few years now, but I think more of Braves Country is beginning to come around. If you recall, the righty was absolutely incredible back in 2019 with High-A Florida, putting together a 2.76 ERA in 32 2/3 innings, which included an average of 12.6 strikeouts per nine and 4.4 walks. That performance must have really impressed the Braves. Though 2021 was his age-24 season, Hernández initially skipped Double-A and was given a Triple-A assignment to begin the year. However, unfortunately, it didn’t go very well.

Really it was just one bad appearance in Gwinnett that spoiled Hernández’s stint with the Stripers at the start of this past season. After posting a 3.86 ERA during his first three games with the team, on May 18 he allowed four runs in 2/3 innings, and a week later he found himself demoted to Double-A Mississippi.

But with the M-Braves, Hernández bounced back nicely and morphed into one of the team’s most dominant relievers. He didn’t allow a single run in his first three appearances with the team, and from July 29 through September 12 (10 1/3 innings worth of appearances), Hernández pitched to a 0.87 ERA and struck out 13 batters. Rightfully, the Cuban prospect earned another try with Gwinnett in mid-September, and remained there until the end of the season, posting a 5.40 ERA in five innings during his second stint with the team.

Now coming into his age-25 campaign, the time is now for Hernández. There’s no doubt he has the talent, it’s just a matter of putting it altogether and being more consistent. Given his age, the Braves really have no choice but to start him in Gwinnett in 2022 and see if he can get on a roll. To avoid just becoming minor league bullpen depth, Hernández needs to put up some strong numbers with the Stripers this coming season. We’ll see if he can match what he was able to do in Double-A.

50 thoughts on “2022 Offseason Braves Prospect List, 22-26”

  1. Pretty lean list, Clint. I have some hope for Hernandez. All of these guys are younger than their ages suggest considering the lost 2020 season, so I’m going to be hopeful about a guy like Hernandez.

    Maybe Slugbauer can be a bench bat one day.

  2. @Roger I think you’re right about them rolling with the young SP. Best thing to do with young starters is shorten their outings when they’re shaky. Gotta love what AA is doing.

  3. In AA I trust. Chipper basically said it very bluntly, “Alex was not the problem” for Freddie not being signed. Chipper is blaming this directly on Freddie and his agent.

  4. Phil Gosselin signed. Good INF option. Considering we got Arcia for nothing, I’m sure we can get the infield figured out for cheap. And everybody plays every day anyway.

  5. My personal guess is we give Touki and some of the other guys one last shot to see if someone can stick. If not, you’ll see a trade from the Touki/Wright/Davidson group to get a 5th starter type around the end of spring training.

  6. I know there are very conflicting reports on what our payroll actually is — some as high as $208M and some as low as $155M – but I really don’t think we have another big signing like Soler in us at this point.

  7. Interesting spring training lineup. I know about 90% of the hitters and 10% of the pitchers. I didn’t know we had a catcher named Pabst.

  8. @5 – I didn’t realize the Goose had been around so long. I’m also a little surprised that he batted 345 times last year for the Angels. I guess he won’t kill you with the bat coming off the bench.

  9. @9: Unless we trade Ozuna…

    Am I the only one that thinks Ozuna will have a bigger season at the plate in 2022 than Soler?

  10. @13 No. Soler is a less certain talent, but I do like his potential more than Ozuna’s.

  11. Soler to Miami. Thanks for that Game 6 homer, Jorge. Braves legend.

    3/$36, annual opt-outs. Probably prudent for AA to avoid that.

    Or maybe we trade for him in July? 🙂

  12. If Ozuna really wants to resurrect his career then he better have perfect behavior and a big year at the plate.

  13. About the last thing I want to say about the FF situation, but the Braves don’t do deferrals. He ended up with less actual AAV than the Braves offered. And this is before CA taxes! His agents screwed him, 0.25B in career earnings notwithstanding.

  14. I’m trying to recall a similar deal in which a player screwed himself like Freddie.

    Doyle Alexander was his own agent and didn’t get paid what he should have, but that was all small-time stuff in comparison.

  15. Marlins signing of Soler seems potentially symmetrical. Wonder if there’s a possibility we could flip Ozuna for Soler. We might have to throw in a prospect and some cash, but it’s not like Ozuna is unfamiliar with South Florida.

  16. The Ozuna and Soler contracts aren’t as similar as they look. Each is now a three year deal going forward, but Soler’s is 12 million/year and he has an opt out each year. IIRC, Ozuna is owed 16 mill this year and 18 each of the next two. Even if the Fish wanted Ozuna for Soler, it would likely cost the Braves a good bit in $ and/or prospects.

    For better or for worse, we need to assume that Marcell is part of this Braves team this year.

  17. You can have vastly worse human beings on your baseball team than Marcell Ozuna. Fact.

    I think he will be alright, honestly.

  18. Rosenthal reports that the Braves and Boras had discussions about Correa, and speculates that it could lay the groundwork for a deal should Correa opt out after 2022.

    Dansby Swanson is a FA after 2022 and is represented by Excel, Freeman’s agency. I would imagine that as much as Dansby says he likes Atlanta, he’s going to test free agency.

    Fun to dream about, but I don’t see it. If Correa opts out, it means he had a great year, implying a higher AAV in a new deal. The Braves don’t do opt outs, so to land Correa, you’d probably have to go big on years and dollars. I just can’t envision AA ever doing something like 9/$300+ save a huge jump in payroll from LM.

  19. @25 The Fish signing Soler for 3 years / $36M (with opt-outs every year) smells strongly of a plan to acquire a guy who may be good mid-season trade bait. Assuming Soler comes out of the gate strong this year, he’ll (a) be worth more than his salary and (b) be very likely to opt out after the season, at which point he’d cost more for future years than the Marlins would want to pay. So basically, if he plays well then he’s traded. Maybe we can acquire him just like we got Duvall last year. Sadly, we have but one Alex Jackson to give (FWIW, he batted .157/.260/.278 after being acquired by the Marlins in the Duvall trade).

  20. Also, Ozuna seems healthy (judging from his Dominican League results) and I think we could be in for a .275/.350/.475 year at the plate with 25+ HRs and lots of RBIs.

  21. @29 I wondered the same thing. Wanted to sign Soler but if we need to stash him in MIA until the trade deadline Duvall-style, so be it. :)

  22. Brock Holt just signed. Interesting competition being set up for maybe a 14th roster spot for a player (and 12 pitchers?) (assuming Dickerson is a lock). I hope some of these guys will be willing to be depth at AAA. I’d sure like to see Travis Demeritte get a shot at a utility role. I also still think that Waters should get a shot at being Acuna’s temporary water-boy (assuming the hamstring is OK).

    The Braves could start with a 4-man rotation (Fried, Morton, Anderson, Ynoa) (so typical for early season) and I see 6 locks for the bullpen. Two more from among Thornburg, Newk, Webb, Lee, O’Day, Touki, etc… could easily fill the early season roster. Eventually, there would be a choice from among the 14th hitter and a 13th pitcher with the #5 SP slot rotating among the young guys and one reliever rotating among the availables.

    The rest is depth.

  23. The more I hear, the more I think AA is even more of a genius. Apparently, his first idea was to trade for Kimbrel with the White Sox. When the Sox didn’t pull the trigger fast enough, he pivoted to Jansen. Same exact dollars. And now Jansen says he always wanted to play for the Braves as he was acquainted with the scout who signed Andruw. The scout took him to Braves games as a kid. What a great story.

  24. Ignoring off-the-field stuff, I absolutely do think Ozuna will have a better year at the plate in 2022 than Soler. I think people that were saying “dump Ozuna and sign Soler” were basically saying “let’s make the team worse offensively this year.”

  25. @36 Soler and Ozuna have nearly identical career OPS numbers (.796 and .794 respectively) and are projected for roughly the same level of production for 2022. If Soler can retain some of the plate discipline he showed with Atlanta last year (when he slashed .269/.358/.524) he’ll be quite good. Miami is not a good home park / lineup so if Soler loses focus and starts swinging like he’s going to hit every pitch over the train tracks in Houston that would not be a total surprise.

    Ozuna has had one really good full season (2017) and of course was excellent over 60 games in 2020, but otherwise he’s capped out at an .800 OPS for other years. His batted ball stats were only so-so last year but Fangraphs suggests he hit into some bad luck and (with normal luck) would have hit something like .266/.341 /.457. I think the Braves would take that stat line but are hoping for more.

  26. I know we haven’t played this year yet … but we have alot moola coming off books in 2023 if options are not picked up and they won’t .. Jansen 16 mil
    W Smith 13 mil
    C Morton 20 mil
    D Swanson 10 mil .. free agent

    That’s about 60 mil … Correa looked at Braves before Twins ..he has optouts in contract .if he doesn’t like Twins then he can opt-out of his 3 yr contract .. if we gave him 30 Mil we would still have 30 mil for a starter and whatever else needed .. just something to think about .. I love Dansby but can you imagine below …..

    Acuna, rf
    Albies, 2b
    Correa, ss
    Olsen, 1b
    Riley, 3b
    Rosario. Lf
    Ozuna, dh
    Harris, m -cf
    D’arnaud , c

  27. @38 – I’m still trying to wrap my head around this year’s lineup and it may or may not be complete. You are right that Swanson’s year will be extremely important. If he’s sporting an OPS of around .850 at the All star Break, do we try to extend him? I don’t know the answer yet, but penciling Ozuna, Harris, and possibly even D’Arnaud into the 2023 starting lineup is just too much speculation for me at this point.

  28. Also to note: Riley put up 6.1 (!) WAR last year. I don’t think that’s a fluke, but some kind of regression is probably inevitable. If he can sit in that 3-5 WAR range, he’ll be a keeper.

  29. @39 .. well Ozuna and D’Arnaud are under contract .. I think Dansby is a FA .. so based on who we know is scheduled to be back ..that is why I included Ozuna and Darnaud … its all speculation .. I just asked the question ..can you imagine this lineup ?? Im good with Dansby ..I really like him as a SS and he is big in late innings .. he likes those situations with the bat ….

  30. This is a big year for Dansby. I don’t think the Braves look to decide to extend him before later summer. That gives him time to show if he is the direction they want to take going forward.

  31. Definitely understand on D’Arnaud and Ozuna. I think D’Arnaud will be on the team in 2023. Injuries and if other players step up will be a telling factor. An oft injured 34 year old full time catcher that has batted over 340 times in a season only 3 times may not be likely. With all Ozuna’s problems, I don’t think he’ll have a very long leash. Dansby will be a FA, but we will be evaluating him for a long-term contract as the season progresses. With his agent, who knows? Like I say, I just think at least the first of 2022 has to play out before you can make too many projections for 2023.

  32. I think Dansby is sure to test free agency. With his 1-1 bonus and arbitration salaries, his financial future is pretty darn set. I don’t see any incentive for him to not test the market.

  33. “I didn’t know what was going on. I got one call [from the Braves] the day before the lockout, just checking in, and got one call when the lockout was lifted, just checking in. I didn’t know how to interpret that.”

    Oof. Freeman sounds a bit daft here.

    The Braves made their offers. They were waiting on you since your agent apparently didn’t seem inclined to negotiate.

  34. @47, yea – they were prohibited from calling him during the lockout, and since he is represented they could only call him to “check in” the rest of the time. Not sure how well FF and his agent communicated there.

  35. Trying to be as charitable as possible here, I don’t think Freeman had any idea how any of this worked. And his agents failed to meaningfully walk him through it. They negotiate with your agent, not with you.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published.