Will Braden Shewmake Make the Braves Opening Day Roster?
Can the former first-round pick make it on the Braves?
After what has been a strong couple of weeks for top prospect Braden Shewmake, Braves manager Brian Snitker told reporters that the battle for shortstop is between the former Texas A&M star and Vaughn Grissom. With Shewmake under consideration for a spot on the Opening Day roster, here’s a closer look at the Braves infielder.
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A Look at Shewmake
It would be an interesting development if Braves infield prospect Braden Shewmake were to sneak on to the Opening Day roster to start 2023. A former first-round pick in 2019, Shewmake hit his way into the top of the draft after a strong junior year with Texas A&M. Shewmake did quite well in his first taste of the Minors in 2019, as he hit .300/.371/.425 with three home runs, 23 extra base hits and 25 walks over 65 games.
The 25-year-old struggled in 2021 when Minor League play resumed, but did see a slight uptick in production last year with Gwinnett (AAA). Shewmake hit .259/.316/.399 with seven home runs and 23 extra base hits over 76 games.
A 6’4” shortstop with decent pop and good plate discipline, Shewamke didn’t appear to be a likely member of the Opening Day roster for Atlanta to start the 2023 season. But, a strong spring has put one of the team’s top prospects on the radar. Through his first 13 games, Shewmake has hit .323/.382/.452 with 10 hits over 31 at-bats.
A Look at the Braves
There’ve been a lot of questions surrounding Vaughn Grissom and his ability to play short — we documented those in our fantasy overview of Grissom earlier this year. Shewmake has been well-regarded as a good defensive shortstop, which would make him an appealing option for Atlanta.
It’s hard, however, to see Shewmake win the starting job out of camp. For one, Grissom has performed well in Spring Training, as well. Much like the former Texas A&M star, Grissom has also hit .323 in Grapefruit League action. On top of that, Grissom does have the higher offensive upside than Shewmake.
We also need to mention that utilityman Eli White has put up a very strong camp of his own. The former Rangers infielder/outfielder, acquired from Texas this past winter, has hit .429 with three home runs this spring. The speedy White has primarily been an outfielder with Texas and Atlanta this spring, but does have some experience in the infield. White’s hot spring could affect Shewmake’s chances of making a roster that will include Matt Olson, Austin Riley, Ozzie Albies, and presumably Orlando Arcia.
UPDATE (3/20): Both Grissom and Shewmake were demoted on March 20. Orlando Arcia is reportedly the presumptive starting shortstop for the Atlanta Braves.