25. Freddy Tarnok, LHP
Age: 19 | Throws: L
2.57 ERA | 2.85 FIP | 8 G, 8 GS | 14 IP | 1.93 BB/9 | 6.43 K/9
Current Assignment: Rookie League – GCL
Acquired: Draft, 2017 – 3rd Round
Midseason 2017 OFR Ranking : 35
History: Tarnok was somewhat of a surprise pick in the 3rd round of the 2017 draft by the Braves, but he fits the profile of a talented prep pitcher with relatively low mileage on his arm the Braves have gravitated towards during the rebuild. Tarnok had primarily been a shortstop up until his junior year of high school. By his senior year, he was throwing regularly in the low ’90s and showing a promising curveball.
Tarnok was brought along slowly after signing with the Braves. Tarnok didn’t make his pro debut until a month after the GCL season had started, and he only pitched in 8 games all season, though with good success.
Pitching: Tarnok has a 6′-3″, 185 pound frame that has room for growth and filling out, and from a relatively uncomplicated delivery can generate fairly easy 92-94 gas with natural sink. Tarnok compliments the fastball with a solid curveball offering that has nice late break when he can snap it off properly and has the potential to be an above average swing-and-miss pitch. Tarnok is also working on a change-up that also has potential.
What’s Next: The Braves will likely take it slowly with Tarnok given his relative inexperience with pitching, but the raw ingredients are extremely promising. Tarnok will likely start the season in extended spring training awaiting an assignment to Danville.
(Ed. note: the following write-up on Yefri Del Rosario was completed prior to MLB sanctioning the Braves for violating international signing rules. Part of those sanctions was making Del Rosario a free agent, and he is no longer part of the Braves organization. He originally was #27 on this list.)
Yefri Del Rosario, RHP
Age: 18 | Throws: R
3.62 ERA | 3.11 FIP | 13 G, 8 GS | 37.1 IP | 3.38 BB/9 | 8.68 K/9
Current Assignment: Rookie League – GCL
Acquired: International Amateur Free Agent – 2016
Midseason 2017 OFR Ranking: 36
Superlatives: OFR GCL Starting Pitcher of the Year, Baseball America’s #16 GCL Prospect
History: Del Rosario was a late July signing for the Braves, who reportedly faced heavy competition from the Cleveland Indians for his services. He eventually signed for a $1 million bonus. As an amateur, Del Rosario was noted as having an advanced breaking ball and change-up for someone so young. After he signed with the Braves and his body started filling out — he’s now listed as 6′-2″, 180 pounds, two inches taller and fifteen pounds heavier than when he signed — he saw better fastball velocity as well. After a brief 5-day stint with the Dominican Summer League Braves to start his season, Del Rosario was assigned to the GCL Braves, where he pitched the rest of the season with a 3.90 ERA/3.15 FIP.
Pitching: What’s interesting about Del Rosario is how much movement he gets with all of his pitches. His four-seam fastball sits in the low ’90s with natural sink, but he has also has reportedly run the pitch up to 97. Del Rosario’s curveball is a late-break pitch that can be a true strikeout weapon when he finishes it off properly; when he doesn’t it takes on a more slider shape and will hang. Finally, Del Rosario throws a rapidly improving change-up that also has shown good movement. Control can come and go, but the repertoire will keep him in the starting rotation for now. He will need to work to clean up mechanically to stay there as he moves up through the organization, but the building blocks are very promising.
What’s Next: Del Rosario is very talented but also still extremely raw. He will likely remain in extended spring training when the full-season teams start playing in April, with an assignment to Danville likely in June. There is a chance that if he continues to progress at the rapid pace he’s demonstrated so far he could see Rome before the end of the season, but there’s no real reason to rush him. Overall, Del Rosario is the most promising international pitching prospect the Braves have had perhaps since Julio Teheran.