Justyn-Henry Malloy and Austin Smith are headed to the AFL All-Star Game

While it is sometimes overshadowed by the World Series, football, and the start of basketball, the Arizona Fall League can provide some exciting times for those baseball fans that crave all the baseball content they can handle. The AFL is also a great time for prospects to get some extra development and hopefully take that next step. It is always exciting to see our team’s favorite players put together a strong showing during the fall and get our hopes up for the following year.

Atlanta Braves fans are fortunate as several players have put together a strong showing. Austin Smith has already earned a spot on the All-Star roster for the National League. Smith is a reliever drafted in the 18th round of the 2021 draft from the University of Arizona. Smith has pitched 8.2 innings with a 3.12 ERA and 1.154 WHIP. Through 36 batters faced, he has shown a strong strikeout ability with 12 strikeouts (33.3% K rate). Reliever prospects are always tricky to predict but a team can never have too much pitching depth. Hopefully, this is a sign that he could become a weapon out of the bullpen in Atlanta soon.

The Braves have also received strong showing from both Cal Conley and Justyn-Henry Malloy. Strong enough, that they both were on the final vote for the “Final 2 Vote.” It is an honor, and an encouraging sign for Braves country to see two more guys perform well. However, only one of the two could win, and that honor went to Justyn-Henry Malloy.

Braves prospects have been showing out in the AFL

Malloy is a name that Braves fans started to hear more and more of throughout 2022. Figured by most to be the “next man up” in terms of Braves position prospects, Malloy certainly helped his case this fall. The 6th round pick in the 2021 draft from Georgia Tech hit .281/.423/.386 over 71 plate appearances with 7 runs and 4 RBI. The power may not be there just yet, but Malloy does show an advanced feel for the plate with 13 walks (18.3% walk rate). Now, Malloy needs to carry this over into a strong 2023 with Gwinnett.

Cal Conley is a name several in Braves country are keeping their eyes on anyways due to him being a shortstop prospect within the system and with there being a big question mark at the shortstop position this winter. Now, Conley will almost certainly not factor into that shortstop decision, but he is still an intriguing prospect being drafted in the 4th round of the 2021 draft from Texas Tech. In 17 games in the AFL, he has 72 plate appearances and hit .259/.403/.500 with 2 HR, 10 R, 13 RBI, and 9 SB. This includes 4 doubles and 2 triples, so he has put together a strong performance this fall. Should be a fun prospect to track at Rome and/or Mississippi in 2023.

Congratulations to all three prospects for their great showings this fall. Rewarding the Braves for sending them to the AFL. Hopefully, this is not the last time we mention the three names in good light on this site.