The Braves announced a series of roster moves today, reinstating right-hander Raisel Iglesias from the injured list while optioning left-hander Dylan Dodd in a corresponding move. They also recalled infielder Braden Shewmake to take the roster spot of infielder Ehire Adrianza, who has been placed on the 10-day injured list, retroactive to May 2, with right elbow inflammation. In addition, catcher Travis d’Arnaud will begin a rehab assignment with Triple-A Gwinnett tonight after spending the past four weeks on the concussion-related injured list.
Shewmake, 25, will be making his major league debut as soon as he gets into a game. Selected 21st overall in 2019, he’s generally been considered one of the club’s top 10 or so prospects since then, but mostly due to his defense. He spent 2021 in Double-A, walking in just 4.9% of his plate appearances and hitting .228/.271/.401 for a wRC+ of 84. He was promoted to Triple-A last year and improved his walk rate to 7.5% but still produced a tepid slash of .259/.316/.399 and an 89 wRC+.
Despite the still-developing bat, Atlanta added him to their 40-man roster in November to protect him from being selected in the Rule 5 draft. He then became a surprising entrant in the club’s shortstop battle this spring, as they had a question mark at the position for the first time in years. With Dansby Swanson having departed for the Cubs in free agency, the plan was for prospect Vaughn Grissom and veteran Orlando Arcia to duke it out for the job. Shewmake had a strong spring and seemed to get himself into consideration alongside those two, but Arcia eventually won the gig on Opening Day.
Shewmake returned to Triple-A and has a .243/.282/.456 batting line through 110 plate appearances this year for a 79 wRC+. His walk rate is down again to just 5.5% but he does have five home runs, almost matching the seven he hit last year. Four of those five have come in the past two weeks, as he’s hitting a much stronger .271/.333/.583 since April 20. That perhaps indicates he’s getting into a groove but it’s also a small sample size after a few years of lesser production.
Though Arcia won the job out of camp, and got a contract extension as well, he’s been on the injured list for the past three weeks due to a microfracture in his left wrist. Grissom got the first shot at replacing him but is hitting just .258/.299/.274 this year and hasn’t looked great on defense. He’s made five errors already and is getting poor grades from the advanced defensive metrics. Adrianza has been serving in the backup role behind Grissom and Ozzie Albies in the middle infield, but with him now out of action as well, Shewmake will factor into the mix.
Atlanta is off to a tremendous 22-10 start this year but the shortstop situation is the least certain spot on the roster and it seems like it will take time before there’s any clarity. Grissom is struggling on both sides of the ball and Shewmake is just getting his first crack in the bigs with very little offensive success in the minors. They will likely be battling each other for future playing time until Arcia or Adrianza return. The former isn’t yet close as he’s only recently started swinging a bat, per David O’Brien of The Athletic, and likely won’t be available for a few more weeks.
As for Iglesias, he will be making his season debut whenever he gets into a game as he was diagnosed with shoulder inflammation in March and has been on the injured list all year so far. Acquired from the Angels at the deadline last year, he’s been one of the better relievers in the game in recent years. Since moving to relief work full-time in 2017, he has 151 saves and a 2.80 ERA in 370 innings, striking out 31.8% of batters faced.