It feels good to breathe again – by which I mean identify players to write about based upon who is tearing up minor league ball. While there hasn’t been much action yet, we have many big-name prospects appearing in Triple-A boxscores. Catchers feature prominently this week.
Five Big Hype Prospects
Vaughn Grissom, 22, 2B/SS, ATL (AAA)
16 PA, 1 HR, 2 SB, .417/.563/1.083
One of the top performers of Opening Weekend, Grissom seeks to embarrass the Braves for choosing Orlando Arcia and Ehire Adrianza over him. This is his first exposure to Triple-A after spending most of 2022 in High-A and the Majors. The extra taste of upper-minors action could be designed to avoid a developmental setback related to facing Major League pitching. Grissom appeared overexposed late last season once scouting reports were refined. There are still questions about his shortstop defense – questions that should be answered during the course of 2023.
Matthew Liberatore, 23, SP, STL (AAA)
5 IP, 12.60 K/9, 3.60 BB/9, 0.00 ERA
Of the prospect pitchers in Triple-A, Liberatore posted the best 2023 debut. He allowed six baserunners in five innings of work with seven strikeouts. Liberatore is a complicated player to scout. His individual pitches rate well, especially a visually filthy curve ball. The issue is his curve doesn’t tunnel with any of his other offerings, making it identifiable out of the hand. Last season, Liberatore worked to a 5.17 ERA in Triple-A with a 5.97 ERA in 34.2 Major League innings.
Tyler Soderstrom, 21, C/1B, OAK (AAA)
10 PA, 1 HR, .556/.600/1.222
A first-round pick from the wonky 2020 draft, Soderstrom surged through the minors last season. His bat is his calling card. He’s particularly adept at producing high exit velocities at an ideal launch angle. Defensively, he leaves much to be desired. While he could conceivably stick at catcher with several more years of hard work, his bat is nearly Major League ready and should play at first base. For that reason, as well as the presence of Shea Langeliers, Soderstrom is widely expected to switch to the cold corner on a more permanent basis this season.
Bo Naylor, 23, C, CLE (AAA)
15 PA, 2 HR, .385/.467/.923
Naylor is coming off a huge rebound season in the minors with an aim toward building upon his reputation as a power-hitting backstop. He has above-average speed for a catcher and could potentially move off the position over the long haul. His defensive capability is viewed as below average at this time. For now, the Guardians have rostered a trio of catchers known mainly for their defense. Like Soderstrom, Naylor’s bat is his carrying trait. He is a discipline-forward slugger whose high rate of contact is offset by an unwillingness to swing at pitches he can’t barrel. The result is a high strikeout rate despite a low swinging strike rate.
Chase Silseth, 23, SP, LAA (AAA)
5 IP, 10.80 K/9, 1.80 BB/9, 0.00
Silseth popped up as a standout in Double-A early last season. The pitching-needy Angels brought him directly to the Majors where he posted a 6.59 ERA (4.24 xFIP) in 28.2 innings. Silseth has a five-pitch repertoire. I’ve received mixed notes on his command. While we know he doesn’t issue many free passes, that could be because his stuff plays in the zone against minor league hitters. His best offering is a splitter. Silseth himself blamed the splitter for his poor performance in the Majors, noting that he needed the pitch to be on to succeed. Splitter consistency is a difficult trait to develop, especially for a starting pitcher. Don’t be surprised if he’s inconsistent as he loses and regains feel for his top weapon.
Matt Mervis, CHC (25): Mervis is an odd prospect in that he continues to torch the ball, yet scouts doubt his ability to hold a regular role in the Majors. He has a 1.167 OPS through 15 plate appearances. We should see him tested against Major League pitching before the calendar flips to summer.
Brett Baty, NYM (24): Baty’s strong spring continued into Triple-A. He has two home runs, a stolen base, and a 1.257 OPS through 15 plate appearances. Mets fans on social media are eager to see Baty oust Eduardo Escobar who is currently 1-for-16 with seven strikeouts.
Connor Norby, BAL (22): The Orioles’ impending glut of middle infielders includes Norby. The second baseman consistently outperforms his modest scouting grades. Bear in mind, the Orioles’ minor league venues are far friendlier to right-handed batters than Camden Yards. Norby strikes me as an obvious trade candidate later this summer.
“Embarrass” the Braves for choosing Arcia/Adrianza over him? They weren’t considering him for a back-up role, so they didn’t select Adrianza over him. And he’s never had any AAA ABs, so it’s more refinement that he needed (i.e. late last season) than Arcia’s play.
Also, Grissom has a 1.646 OPS over 3 games not 1.083.
1.083 is his slugging percentage in the above stats, not OPS.
That makes sense now. I guess two triples, double, and a homerun will do that.
Braves fans still coping about Grissom I see.
Also I thought Murphy was an every day player (or as close as you can get as catcher). 4 games in and they’ve only started him in 2 games lmao. Not to mention the ugly at bats in the two he has played. LOVE this trade for the Braves so far.
I know all you backing him will respond “it’s only 4 games dude” and yeah it is so don’t bother posting it. All I’m saying is once again you’re 4 games going in the wrong direction from another Oakland trade. Maybe by midseason you all will admit Murphy isn’t a good offensive player, and moving to the better Braves lineup did nothing to help. Obviously 4 games in I would lose respect for you to cave this early but maybe some of you have the guts to say if he’s still below average by the AS break that you were wrong.
It’s always a never ending moving goal post with this group though. At the break it will be “it’s only half the season” then at seasons end it will be “it’s only the first year of his contract”…. Lol
RunDMC is like the king of Braves cope on this site. I’m sure he will have some excuse ready.
You are a Mets fan Right?
Lol it’s 7 at bats for Murphy
@ MJ I remember when I watched my first few baseball games too.
Speaking as a not-Braves fan, it IS only 4 games in.
@mj-2 a lot of words, not alot of sense; Are you drunk? Asking for a friend.
with the rest of the lineup…just need murphy to be a solid offensive player….they dont need him to be an all star slugger. He has attributions elsewhere. .
Grissom has a 1.646 OPS over 3 games. Please fix this. You figured you would double check these things.
Nothing to fix
Early season stats can look so wonky, the confusion is understandable.
We figured you wouldn’t be too cheap to pay for a membership to support the site you love to whine about but, nope.
Meanwhile, Sal Frelick.
“The cold corner”. Never heard that before in 50 years of watching baseball. Love it!
It’s a pretty new term to me, too, but I like it. Nice counter to the hot corner.
Despite most prospect evaluators saying Soderstrom isn’t a catcher, that’s how the A’s are treating him in AAA.
The other catcher on the Aviators is Kyle McCann, who’s injury-depth replacement. Of the 3 games the Aviators have played this year, Soderstrom has caught 2.
Indeed. When called up he will play 1B/DH regularly and then C every 3rd or 4th game to give Langeliers his rest. No need to waste a roster spot on a backup C with these two around.
I think this could happen as early as May if Rooker continues to stink at the plate.
That’s just not true, Soderstrom is a decent catching prospect. The issue is his glove is -behind- his bat, and the A’s need a bat, and the bat is clearly ready-now. Just because his glove is not ready-now, doesn’t mean he “isn’t a catcher” that’s not a nuanced take.
The ultimate goal for the A’s will be he plays C when Langeliers isn’t, but also plays 1B when Langeliers is starting. Or maybe Soderstrom being Olson’s replacement everyday will be enough.
I gotta say it: the A’s have too many prospects who look like they’re breaking MLB for them to not be a good team within the next 18 months.
All of this reminds me of the A’s insisting Daric Barton was a catcher. How is approach at the plate was so advanced. Somehow everyone but the A’s realized Barton wasn’t a catcher and a swing that needed a calendar to time did not mesh well with a passive approach at the plate.
Stephen Vogt hadn’t ever been a regular catcher in TB’s system, and they had actually moved him to full-time OF when the A’s took him and said “oh your bat is nice, lets ignore how absolutely awful you are at catching the baseball and fail to win a World Series because of this flawed team we kept trying to force into success.”
I have never seen anyone playing the position of catcher not catch a pitched ball more than Vogt. Guy just took pitches off his chest all day. Really bad times but he’s a “fun guy” so the lack of Championship hardware stings like 1% less? Whoop de doo, I wanna title. Shut up about moneyball and f/n WIN for once.
1989 was too long ago, the A’s, Orioles, Blue Jays, Tigers, Twins, Reds and the Mets all deserve to be relegated for their lack of recent titles.
You never watched John Jaso, then.
Tyler Soderstrom should be playing 1B by June. If Jesus Aguilar has an OPS under .700 cut him loose for Tyler.
LIberatore had a pretty good spring. Did he figure something out with the curveball delivery?
Why are the Cubs even messing with Hosmer at this point? He was brought in to compete for the first base job and Mervis has outperformed him at every turn. The Cubs can’t be carrying any dead weight if they want to make the central a three team race.
Valid question. They doing half measures.
The Cubs unlocked something. That’s for sure. Undrafted free agent who didn’t hit for power until last season. Maybe they want him to keep working on development to start the season while ‘league minimum’ Hosmer gives them cheap at bats.
Hosmer has too much power within the game within the union. You are right, he’s not a MLB regular anymore and was the most overrated player in the game for a decade. Maybe Hosmer might hit overseas, but the Cubs can’t afford to carry anyone vs the Cardinals this year. Gomes/Barnhart and Mancini all gotta hit or get off the team too.
Oakland has their own Mervis too btw, his name is Ryan Noda, check him out.
Thank you for helping us that don’t scout to understand why Liberatore’s stuff hasn’t translated to sustained success.
‘The issue is his curve doesn’t tunnel with any of his other offerings, making it identifiable out of the hand.’
Hopefully that’s something that can be fixed.
that doesn’t seem like an easy fix.
Baty over Escobar makes the Mets much worse. Won’t be a popular take with casuals but Escobar’s defense is worth much more than the potential offensive upgrade you get with Baty
The defensive downgrade is not worth the small offensive upgrade you *might* get with Baty
Unstable defense at any infield position would have a dramatic negative effect on the team
Casuals? That’s pretty condescending. First Jankowski, now Escobar, you sure do see things differently. What makes your opinion so special?
Worse? Yeah, I don’t think so. Baty has been average at 3B defensively, and certainly not enough to keep his bat out of the lineup. Meanwhile Escobar is 1-12 and rode the bench. The call up will happen soon.
Why do you think Baty is an awful defender? We dont have 2.3 full seasons of defensive stats on him yet, why are you coming to this conclusion? Much too early to call right now.
Really hope you aren’t using small samples on a rookie. That’s poor analysis.
I think if anything both Shewmake and Grissom won’t be called up till the service time clock gives them that extra year. I also wouldn’t be surprised if AA already offered them team friendly extensions they might have rejected. It’s a good problem to have as a Braves fan.
Grissoms clock has already started and can only be paused!
Come on….a gluten of middle infielders? Who else do they have a second base? Who have they drafted at second base in the last 3 years? Why did they sign Frazier to a one year deal? Norby will be up there in no time and definitely not trade bait…look at the big picture man
Libby’s gotta get the slider working and cut his curveball usage. It’s sad that such a beautiful pitch is borderline unplayable but it just doesn’t mesh well with the rest of his repertoire.
Keep churning them out Braves farm. It takes more than a 25 or 40 man roster. We need all these dudes. Anderson, Soroka,Dodd, etc.. that AAAA roster in Gwinnett will hopefully pay dividends at Truist this year. Boys already looking good so far on the road. Let’s go Braves Country. For The A!
“98 Braves “ Morgan Wallen Pushing this song out to Braves Country if you haven’t heard it. I said in another post, song explains my entire childhood in the early to late 90’s. Like most in Braves Country my age you will understand after listening. Hit up the post after listening and tell me what you think.
Mervis will get his shot, He needs to show he can do it consistently and after an offseason. Hosmer is fine as a stop gap for how. He actually has swung the bat decently the first week