Alan Rangel had his much-awaited breakthrough season in 2021. The long-time Atlanta Braves farmhand had a solid season across two levels and looks to have taken the step from low minors organizational depth to a pitcher with a possible big-league future.
Midseason report card: Rangel has never been a highly regarded prospect, but there has always been something about him that has kept him in the conversation. He was not part of the Talking Chop midseason top-30 list.
2021 stats (across two levels): 7-7, 3.87 ERA,1.03 WHIP, 136 strikeouts and 26 walks in 104.2 innings pitched
What we saw in 2021: What we saw was the Mayor of Rome finally earning his long-awaited promotion. Alan Rangel toiled in Rome, spending time in the rotation and bullpen since 2017. He has always been able to get people out thanks to his curveball and a low-90s fastball that had just enough movement to keep opposing hitters guessing. He was never a big strikeout guy, but with a propensity for ground balls and good command, he bided his time until it all came together.
Well, it all came together in 2021. His fastball saw a slight uptick in velocity and the curve, which sometimes betrayed him when he hung it, was sharper. His once below-average changeup became a serviceable pitch and the hitters at High-A Rome had a tough time hitting him. He struck out 12.1 per nine while walking just 2.7 per nine in 70.2 innings before he got the call, packed his bags and left Rome for Mississippi. Reunited with M-Braves manager/pitching coach Dan Meyer, his strikeout rate remained strong (10.9 per nine) but his walk rate (1.3 per nine) and WHIP (0.97) came down in 34 innings of Double-A work.
Rangel concluded the season on the bump in the decisive Game 5 of the Double-A South championship series, tossing six innings while allowing one unearned run and striking out eight as the winning pitcher the night the M-Braves won the crown.
What the future holds: The Atlanta Braves saw enough to guarantee Rangel sticks around. He was added to the Braves 40-man roster on Nov. 6 so minor-league free agency or the Rule 5 Draft is no longer an option. Is Rangel ever going to be a top pitching prospect in the system? Not likely, but at least this year he showed that he is definitely something. As the headline read in my first scouting profile way back in 2017 on him, “there’s just something to like about Alan Rangel.”