Friday, December 10, 2021
Organizational prospect lists may vary from site to site, but most can probably agree that the Braves big international free agent signing last year was one that’s destined to pay off. With still a 50-perecent reduction in international spending still hanging over Atlanta’s proverbial head, the team spent nearly all its pool on one kid. His name is Ambioris Tavarez, and according to MLB.com on Friday, right now he’s the organization’s youngest top position prospect.
Back in January of this year, the Braves signed Tavarez for $1.5 million, accounting for 96% of the team’s international pool, of which was already shrunken even further following the signing of Marcell Ozuna (who had declined a qualifying offer from the Cardinals). Per Baseball America’s 2020-21 international prospect rankings, Tavarez was the 25th best player in the class, and the writing was already on the wall: with the $10,000-spending limit now gone, Atlanta was going after the 6-2, 175-pound shortstop.
Now Tavarez hasn’t played pro ball as of yet, which admittedly makes it difficult to completely jump on board with BA’s best title. However, the evaluations are pretty amazing. According to scouts, the only aspect of Tavarez’s game that you could even remotely critique is his defense long-term, which many have already indicated will most likely feature him moving over to third. A potential top-100 prospect at shortstop is better than one at the hot corner, given the value of the position, but we’re splitting hairs here. I will say, though, his over-hand release does seem like it could cause a bit of a delay on his throws from short to first (though his arm speed could very well make up for that).
At the plate, from the video I’ve seen, Tavarez is an explosive right-handed swinger who incorporates a pretty big leg kick but is able to still remain consistent with his mechanics and stay in control. He takes some big hacks, but there doesn’t seem to be anything wild about it, and there’s definitely some power. All in all, this is a guy MLB.com and BA really like a lot; the former has Tavarez ranked 25th on its 2021 Braves Top 30 (which is a bit high in my opinion). I’m holding off on too much writing until he plays some pro games. But if the scouts are right, this 18-year-old kid could be a fast riser in the Braves system.