The Atlanta Braves are full of young, talented players. We take a look at individuals who made their major-league debuts last season for the Braves.
The Atlanta Braves have one of the top farm systems in the league, so it's always interesting to see when a player gets the call to make their major-league debut for this team.
The Braves had nine players make their major-league debuts in 2019.
Debuting Braves in 2019
- Huascar Ynoa - Jun 16
- Jacob Webb - Apr 16
- Jeremy Walker - Jul 26
- Austin Riley - May 15
- Alex Jackson - Apr 7
Next, you will find a breakdown in order of total rWAR for the 2019 season for the Braves who made their major-league debuts.
5. Atlanta Braves Debut 2019 - Alex Jackson
Once upon a time, Alex Jackson was ranked as the 20th best prospect in the game by Baseball America. That was 2015, enter 2020 and he's debatably the third-best catching prospect in the Braves' system.
It didn't take long for the Braves to require his services in 2019 after an early injury to Brian McCann forced the Braves to bring Jackson to the big leagues. Ultimately, he was unable to get one hit in his 13 at-bats and struck out five times.
It was a small sample size for the prospect but it left him with a -0.3 rWAR in his debut season. On the bright side, he did go back down to Gwinnett where he hit 28 homers in just 85 games.
4. Atlanta Braves Debut 2019 - Huascar Ynoa
Mid-way through June to replace the struggling Dan Winkler. Ynoa was only used in 3.0 innings, giving up six earned runs. His limited usage and poor results led to a -0.2 rWAR in his debut season.
3. Atlanta Braves Debut 2019 - Austin Riley
After his first month in the big leagues, you never would have guessed that Austin Riley would finish third out of five debuting players in total rWAR for the season. However, we all remember how the season broke down (literally) for Riley.
His propensity for striking out combined with the ability of major league pitchers to adapt and learn the holes in his swing led to a meltdown of epic proportions. Riley was one of the best and one of the worst stories of the 2019 Braves.
He teased us with his potential, hosting us up into the clouds and it was glorious. Then he grabbed us by the throats and choke-slammed us down to his floor, which was a long way down. It hurt.
Hopefully, Riley and the Braves will be able to make the necessary adjustments in upcoming seasons so we can all enjoy the power he brings to the plate.
Here's how good Riley was last season, bear with me here. In the second half of last season, Riley had a .161 batting average with 39 strikeouts in 87 at-bats with only two homers and eight RBI, and he still finished with a positive rWAR for the year.
That's how good he was in May and June. He hit 14 homers in just 165 at-bats. At the time of his call-up, he already had 15 homers through 37 games in Gwinnett. By mid-June, he had people asking if he had the clutch-gene.
By the end of the season, he finished with a 0.1 rWAR, which was good for third-best on the team among debuting players in 2019.
2. Atlanta Braves Debut 2019 - Jeremy Walker
After struggling in 2017 and 2018 as a starter, the Braves moved him to the bullpen in 2019 where he made the Southern League All-Star team. He was called up on July 26. He pitched in 9.1 innings for the Braves, striking out six and finishing with a 1.93 ERA on the season. The positive performance in a small sample size was enough for Walker to finish with the second-highest rWAR on the season among debuting players in 2019.
1. Atlanta Braves Debut 2019 - Jacob Webb
Jacob Webb was the obvious call from last season. He burst onto the scene looking like a future closer. He finished the season with a 4-0 record in 36 games. He pitched in 32.1 innings, struck out 28 batters, saved two games, and finished with a sparkling 1.39 ERA. That's an ERA+ of 329.
Webb came into the 2019 season having saved 18 games between AA-AAA in 2018, finishing with a 3.13 ERA. In the minors, he had a reputation as an artist of the strikeout, In five seasons he racked up 218 Ks in 177.2 innings pitched.
His ultimate goal is to be a major-league closer and he was off to a great start in his debut season. Don't forget, Snitker wasn't afraid to put the kid in a save situation just 13 days after his debut.
Unfortunately, his spectacular debut season was cut short after he suffered an elbow injury in August. He underwent surgery in September of 2019 but he was healthy and ready to compete this spring before the suspension of the season.
Despite the Braves' loaded bullpen, he's a name to keep your eye on. Should an opportunity arise for the reliever, he could take it and run.