For years we’ve been clamoring for the Braves to add speed. Since Rafael Furcal stole 46 bases in 2005 only three Bravos have stolen more than 20 bases: Michael Bourn (22 in 2011; 42 in ’12), Jay Hey (21 in ’12, 20 in ’14) and Melvin Jr. (20 in ’14).
This year’s team is equally plodding, with only Cameron Maybin on pace to steal 20 or more. But that should soon change.
Three of the Braves’ top prospects are on pace to steal well above 50 bases this year: SS Ozhaino Albies (19 SB, 6 CS at Rome), 2B Jose Peraza (14 SB, 1 CS at Gwinnett) and CF Mallex Smith (16 SB, 2 CS at Mississippi).
They all have room to develop: Peraza has only 9 walks and a .334 OBP while Smith has 32 Ks in 38 games (but a .396 OBP). Albies, meanwhile, is only 18 but his plate discipline (17 BB, 26 Ks) suggests he may ready for the bigs before he can legally drink.
It wouldn’t be surprising if one of them is dealt for a power bat, the organization’s biggest need. Rio Ruiz has 0 homers and a .165 BA while Braxton Davidson (.370 slugging) remains a work in progress. Telling, then, that his four homers in 2015 are tied for most in the organization.