1.) Shae Simmons – RHRP – Rome Braves
He’s baaaaaack – and he promises to be back with the big club soon. The Braves have been exercising caution with one of their prized pen arms, working Simmons back from Tommy John surgery slowly – exactly as they should in this lost season. He returned to game action last week, and it looks like there’s little chance they’ll be able to keep him down long following three appearances with Gwinnett and Rome. His line in his first three appearances? 3 IP, 2 hits allowed, 0 ER, 7 Ks, 3 BBs. He may get a few more appearances before being activated since the organization will want to see him work on back-to-back days at least once, but he’s well on his way to becoming an important piece of the Braves’ pen in late-game situations.
2.) Dansby Swanson – SS – Mississippi Braves
He’s adjusting to a higher level of competition – and quickly. The first real challenge was his AA promotion, and this week saw him post a slash line of .375/.429/.625/1.054 with 1 3B, 2 HRs, 6 RBIs, 9 runs scored, and 1 SB. His overall line is now .309/.408/.502/.910 with 23 2Bs, 5 3Bs, 5 HRs, 35 RBIs, and 49 runs scored, PLUS a 36/39 K/BB Ratio in his first 249 minor league ABs. He’s also been successful in 10 of his 12 SB attempts. There’s little doubt we’ll see Dansby in Atlanta in 2016 – the question is when?
3.) Max Povse – RHSP – Carolina Mudcats
Povse continues his climb up the Braves’ prospect rankings, and it shouldn’t be much longer before he starts to draw attention from the more well-known media outlets. Max notched his third win of the season yesterday when he beat Wilmington (Royals), delivering 5 shutout innings while allowing 5 hits, no walks, and 6 Ks. His season line is now 3-2 with a 2.66 ERA, 0.99 WHIP, .216 BAA, while allowing only 1 HR (38 total hits) in 47.1 IP with a 47/9 K/BB Ratio.
4.) A. J. Minter – LHRP – Carolina Mudcats
The Braves snagged Minter with the #75 pick in last year’s draft when he slid after having Tommy John surgery in March. After his long rehab process, the big lefty’s showing why he was climbing draft boards before his injury. Following 5 dominant outings in Rome, Minter was promoted to Carolina where he continues to mow opposing hitters down. His season line following 2 appearances in High-A is 8.2 IP, 0.00 ERA, 0.35 WHIP, .071 BAA, only 2 hits allowed, and a 10/1 K/BB Ratio. If A. J. remains a reliever, he could be fast-tracked and could team with Arodys Vizcaino and Shae Simmons as a dominant trio late in games as early as sometime in 2017.
5.) Tyrell Jenkins – RHSP – Gwinnett Braves
Jenkins continues to fly a bit under-the-radar in the mainstream media, but he’s likely going to get his shot at a rotation spot in Atlanta sooner rather than later. The 23 year old “afterthought” in the Jason Heyward-Shelby Miller deal continues to impress following his 4th win of the season against Durham (Rays). His 6 IP, 2 ER, 7 hits, 1 K, 3 BB performance against them Wednesday brings his season line to 4-2 with a 3.02 ERA, 1.50 WHIP, .284 BAA, with a 27/19 K/BB Ratio. He’s still around the plate a little too much (although he’s only allowed 2 HRs) and needs to cut down on the free passes a bit, but he’s showing that he knows how to pitch rather than throw. If the schedule would’ve lined up better, we’d likely have seen him called up to start yesterday instead of Casey Kelly. There will be some point this season that he’ll be needed, and he’s definitely someone to keep an eye on.
6.) Luke Dykstra – 2B – Rome Braves
Another week goes by, and Dykstra just keeps hitting. With only one hitless game this week (Saturday), the youngest Dykstra slashed .300/.429/.433/.862 with 3 2Bs and 3 runs scored. While he’s not as flashy as some of the Braves’ middle infield prospects, he’s quietly been very good, and his season slash line now stands at .313/.358/.381/.739 over 141 ABs with 10 2Bs, 22 RBIs, 16 runs scored, and 5 SBs. Expect to see him challenged at a higher level later this season as the promotions at the higher levels start.