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Atlanta Braves 2016 Minor League Review: SS

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A closer look at how the top shortstop prospects in the system looked in 2016.

MLB: Philadelphia Phillies at Atlanta Braves Jason Getz-USA TODAY Sports

This is the fifth the piece of a weekly look, by position, at how the Atlanta Braves prospects fared during the 2016 minor league season. Catcher, first base, second base, and third base have already been covered as we move to short this week.

Please note that this isn't so much a scouting report on these prospects as much as it is a recap of their season that will point out some areas where they excelled and others where they struggled. All prospects will be covered, but this is only a review of guys who are prospects rather than organizational depth. There will be more detailed scouting reports on certain players during the offseason.

Please note that Ozzie Albies was listed with the second basemen for his spot in the series.

Dansby Swanson

Dansby Swanson started the year in Carolina with questions about who ends up as the Braves shortstop of the future and who ends up at second or gets traded. Of course we all know what happened since April, as he reached Atlanta and showed off why he was so highly rated as a prospect while putting himself in the Rookie of the Year race for next year.

Swanson played 21 games in Carolina and hit .333/.441/.526 with 12 doubles, 1 homer, 10 RBI, and 7 of 8 in steals. With Mississippi he posted a .261/.342/.402 line in 84 games with 13 doubles, 5 triples, 8 homers, 45 RBI, and 6 of 8 in steals. Then in Atlanta he played in 38 games and finished just 1 at bat short of losing his rookie eligibility while hitting .302/.361/.442, 7 doubles, 1 triple, 3 homers, 17 RBI, and a perfect 3 for 3 in steals.

Swanson was better against lefties on the year with a .294/.357/.510 line including a 1.019 MLB OPS against them, versus a .279/.363/.411 mark against right handers.

Swanson looked great in Atlanta after a slightly slow start, but his September was a huge part of why the Braves ended the season so hot when he hit .314/.381/.500 with all 3 of his homers in 26 games. That’s why he will be one of the favorites for the Rookie of the Year next year, even though he will need to do a better job of limiting his strikeouts after striking out 34 times in those 129 at bats in Atlanta.

Daniel Castro

Once again Daniel Castro saw big league time in 2016, after making his debut in 2015. The utility infielder known for his glove hit just .257/.279/.346, 3 homers, and 20 RBI in 61 games at the AAA level and .200/.241/.208 with no homers and 7 RBI in 47 games with the Braves.

Castro doesn't offer much with the bat, but he's a solid fielder who can play short, second, or third and that is where his value is tied in.

Omar Obregon

Like Daniel Castro, Omar Obregon is a guy with a light bat and some defensive versatility. He played short and second for Carolina in his 87 games while hitting .247/.298/.311, no homers, 27 RBI, and 12 of 16 in steals- down from his 31 steal 2015.

Obregon was weak against lefties at just .178/.236/.238, but he was pretty decent against right handers with a line of .281/.328/.346.

Anfernee Seymour

The Braves got Anfernee Seymour in the Hunter Cervenka trade, and after hitting .255/.295/.308 with a homer, 26 RBI, and 37 steals in 104 games for the Marlins Sally League affiliate before moving across the league to Rome. With Rome he played in 21 games and hit .266/.298/.278 with 5 RBI and 6 steals. That gave him an overall line of .257/.296/.303 with 14 doubles, 3 triples, 1 homer, 31 RBI, and 43 steals.

Seymour has true 80 grade speed and could play short or even center, but the bat is an issue as it needs plenty of development still as the numbers above show, as does his 118 strikeouts to 26 walks.

His splits are interesting as he hit for a .805 OPS in June, following a .677 May mark, but he posted just a .402 April OPS, .498 July, and .538 August. Seymour hit .259/.302/.302 against right handers while only hitting .252/.276/.306 against lefties. Another interesting stat was that he posted a .758 OPS in 82 plate appearances against younger pitchers.

Seymour is a project for sure, but he's got intriguing tools and it wouldn't be a surprise if he moved up to Carolina or stayed in Rome to start 2017.

Alejandro Salazar

Outside of a two game rehab stint in the GCL, Alejandro Salazar spent his age 19 season in Rome while playing mostly at short, but also second and third. In 87 games he hit .279/.305/.311 with 8 doubles, 1 triple, and 29 RBI. Though he struggled with strikeouts, as he struck out 62 times to just 12 walks, and also on the bases where he was less than 50% in steals at 6 for 13.

Salazar was much better against right handers at .284/.313/.320, while hitting .238/.273/.238 against lefties. Another thing his splits show is how he kept improving after posting a .550 OPS in April, .604 in May, .617 in June, and finally .794 in July before getting hurt. That leaves for some hope that he was just starting to figure things out and that he will be able to continue to make adjustments next year.

Marcus Mooney

Marcus Mooney was taken by the Braves as highly as he was in part because he was a senior sign meant to save money in the bonus pool, but the Braves did love his makeup and success this year for South Carolina. After signing he was sent to Danville and saw 62 games with nearly 300 plate appearances while playing short, second, and third.

Mooney hit .264/.356/.326 with 13 doubles, 16 RBI, and 6 steals. He also did a good job of limiting the strikeouts, as he struck out just 25 times. His splits were mostly unremarkable in comparison, though he was significantly do better at home with a .263/.370/.356 line compared to his road mark of .264/.343/.298.

Mooney doesn't have much power, but he's a grinder who will work hard and be a good presence in the clubhouse. He has a chance to have a bench role in the big leagues and should move up to full season ball in 2017.

Derian Cruz

The Braves 2015 July 2nd class was light on quantity, rather focusing on three quality players. One of those three is Derian Cruz, who at age 17 skipped completely over the Dominican Summer League and right to the Gulf Coast League- an assignment that is widely considered to be pretty aggressive, which shouldn’t be forgotten just because it's becoming routine for Braves prospects.

Cruz wasn't intimidated and in 26 games he hit .309/.336/.445 with 7 doubles, 1 triple, 2 homers, 16 RBI, and 4 of 5 in steals. He may not have walked much, just twice, but he limited the strikeouts to just 16 in 117 plate appearances.

The Braves decided to be even more aggressive and gave him a promotion to Danville, where his youth finally caught up to him a bit. In 25 games he hit .183/.204/.279 with 4 doubles, 3 triples, 5 RBI, and went 3 for 5 in steals. He also saw his strikeouts rise to 28 in 109 plate appearances.

Thats good for an overall line of .248/.272/.364 with 11 doubles, 4 triples, 2 homers, 21 RBI, and 7 for 10 in steals in just 51 games to go with 5 walks and 44 strikeouts over his 226 plate appearances. Nothing short of a successful season for a kid so young and making his debut while living in another country at such a young age.

Cruz had one split worth watching, as he posted a .239/.265/.333 line against right handers while hitting lefties at a .268/.288/.446 mark. He's already become one of the must watch guys in a loaded system.

Nick Shumpert

The son of former big leaguer Terry Shumpert was a bit of a surprise signing after being a late round pick this year, especially considering he likely passed up much more money last year coming out of high school.

The younger Shumpert didn't see much time after signing late and needing some time to shake off a bit of rust following a layoff. He got in just 26 GCL games and hit .189/.238/.297 with 5 doubles, 1 homer, 7 RBI and 3 steals while playing second and short.

One area he really struggled was in strikeouts, as he racked up 25 to just 4 walks in his 80 plate appearances. Another area where he had trouble was against lefties, but that is a very small sample to look at.

Shumpert was a Top 100 draft prospect last year, but he had some ups and downs in JUCO ball and also after making his pro debut. Adjustments are tough and some kids take a little longer, so it's way too early to write off a kid with a talented bat and big league bloodlines.

Juan Morales

The third member of the Braves highly touted 2015 July 2nd class was Juan Morales, though the level of hype he received was far less than Cruz and Pache. Unlike the rest of the class, Morales began his career in the Dominican Summer League.

Unfortunately for Morales, there wasn't much positive to his debut as he hit just .148/.255/.211 with 4 doubles and 2 triples in 36 games before he was shut down for the year. It's certainly not time to write him off, but based on this performance it seems like he may need another season in the DSL before coming over to the US.