(Ed. note: the following write-up on Yunior Severino was completed prior to MLB sanctioning the Braves for violating international signing rules. Part of those sanctions was making Severino a free agent, and he is no longer part of the Braves organization. He originally was #26 on this list.)
Yunior Severino, 2B
Age: 18 | Bats: S
.270/.345/.420 | 121 wRC+ | 3 HR | 0 SB | 9.5% BB | 26.6% K
Current Assignment: Rookie League – GCL
Acquired: International Amateur Free Agent – 2016
Midseason 2017 OFR Ranking: 23
Superlatives: Baseball America’s #15 GCL Prospect
History: Severino was one of the more high-profile international amateurs signed in the Braves 2016 signing blow-out, earning a $1.9 million signing bonus. After a 10-game stint with the DSL Braves to get his feet wet, Severino joined the GCL Braves when their season opened and remained with them the rest of the season, hitting .286/.345/.444 and playing exclusively second base after being touted as a potential shortstop at signing.
Offense: When Severino signed with the Braves, he had a complicated swing that helped generate power but limited contact. The Braves have worked with him to simplify the swing. He still has a strong leg kick, but his naturally quick bat gets to the ball quicker now, allowing him to drive the ball to all fields when he’s got it all together. When he doesn’t, his head comes off the ball and he over-swings, making him a strikeout candidate. Already very strong, he’ll likely develop more over-the-fence power as he continues to fill out. On the bases he demonstrates only rudimentary baserunning technique, but should be at least an average baserunner with time.
Defense: The Braves quickly determined that there are several better defensive shortstops in the 2016 international class and moved Severino to second base. He doesn’t have a good feel for the position, and will occasionally miss his assignment and find himself spectating on a play he should be making. His footwork around the bag is also quite poor. That said, he should have the physical aptitude for the position and should just require repetitions and coaching.
What’s Next: Severino was one of the more exciting GCL performers this past season, despite the rawness of his game. He demonstrates a good attitude and willingness to learn. He will likely stay in extended spring training and await an assignment to Danville for 2018, but he could be a fast riser in the system once he starts transferring his tools to skills.
24. Jacob Lindgren, LHP
Age: 25 | Throws: L
No 2017 Stats: Did Not Play
Current Assignment: MLB – Atlanta
Acquired: Free Agent – 2016
Midseason 2017 OFR Ranking: 45
History: Lindgren was drafted in the 2nd round of the 2014 draft by the Yankess out of Mississippi State. Lindgren flew up the Yankees farm system, a polished lefty reliever that struck out 14.3 per 9 innings in his minor league career. Lindgren got some time with the big league club in 2015 but had to be shelved due to surgery to remove bone spurs. The following spring Lindgren experienced elbow soreness that was eventually diagnosed as a UCL tear. With Lindgren likely to miss the year after Tommy John surgery the Yankees non-tendered him, hoping to re-sign him to a minor league deal. Instead the Braves swooped in and offered Lindgren a $1 million major league contract to sit on the 60-day DL and rehab his elbow. That rehab was completed in October, and Lindgren should be a full participant in spring training for 2018.
Pitching: Lindgren is listed as 5′-10″ and 180 pounds, but probably plays about 10 pounds heavier. Lindgren has a sneaky fastball that sits in the 92-94 mph range but looks faster to hitters thanks the to deception in his wind-up, hiding the ball well before delivery. The fastball also gets impressive movement, coming in tight on right-handers who will often bail on the pitch when Lindgren can locate it properly. Lindgren compliments the fastball with an above average slider that his is primary swing-and-miss pitch against lefties; Lindgren has only allowed five hits versus left-handed batters in his pro career.
The key to being able to maintain this dominance in the big leagues is command, something Lindgren struggled with even before his UCL replacement.
What’s Next: The Braves will likely give Lindgren a long look in spring training, but they have been conservative with how they bring back players from Tommy John surgery. Look for Lindgren to start around the AA level and work his way up as his performance and health dictate. If all goes well, he could be pitching for Atlanta by mid-season.