Here are the Braves 2023 Organization All-Stars

Smith-Shawver, De Avila headline Atlanta's pitcher-heavy system

December 15th, 2023

Each offseason, goes position by position across each organization and honors the players -- regardless of age or prospect status -- who had the best seasons in each farm system. Next up in our 2023 Organization All-Stars series are the Atlanta Braves.

2023 organization summary:
Triple-A Gwinnett: 70-78
Double-A Mississippi: 62-75
High-A Rome: 64-68
Single-A Augusta: 63-68
DSL Braves: 15-36
FCL Braves: 30-24
Overall record: 304-349 (27th among MLB organizations)
Midseason farm system ranking: 27

Braves 2023 Organization All-Stars:

C: Drake Baldwin (ATL No. 26)
A+/AA/AAA: .270/.384/.460, 109 G, 16 HR, 61 RBI, 63 R, 67 BB
A dual-sport athlete with ice hockey in high school, Baldwin is a great all-around athlete. The 2022 third-rounder can hit anywhere in the park and has shown much improvement finding power in his swing in his first full pro season. The All-South Atlantic League pick advanced twice within the final month of the season, culminating with his first Triple-A home run in his penultimate game.

1B: David McCabe (ATL No. 14)
A/A+: .276/.385/.450, 123 G, 17 HR, 75 RBI, 63 R, 80 BB, 10 SB
The Canadian has been known to wear out pitchers, seeing 4.27 pitches per plate appearance. McCabe tapped into his power in his first full season in the pros, improving his OPS by almost 200 points from last year. “We really like what David brings to the table,” Braves assistant general manager of player development Ben Sestanovich said. “His combination of power and patience at the plate is terrific.”

2B: Keshawn Ogans (ATL No. 30)
A+: .265/.360/.397, 113 G, 9 HR, 67 RBI, 43 R, 46 BB, 10 SB
Ogans is another steady force, putting together a series of clutch hits to place him within the organization’s top five in RBIs. He’s picky with his pitches with a 19.2 swing-and-miss rate, a recipe for wearing down pitchers. Though second base is likely his best position, he can play anywhere in the infield. Sestanovich mentioned that the California native is, “A guy you want on your team based on what he brings to the table on both sides of the ball.”

3B: Luke Waddell
AA/AAA: .275/.384/.376, 130 G, 8 HR, 74 RBI, 73 R, 85 BB, 29 SB
Waddell has the proper tools in all aspects of the game. “He makes a ton of contact, doesn’t strike out and plays a solid defense,” Sestanovich said of the 2021 fifth-rounder out of Georgia Tech. He has started to take more chances on the basepaths this year, putting up almost 30 steals this year. He had a combined five steals in his past two seasons.

SS: Ignacio Alvarez (ATL No. 7)
A+: .284/.395/.391, 116 G, 7 HR, 66 RBI, 62 R, 66 BB, 16 SB
Alvarez can produce offense with his contact-first approach, but he’s also a defensive force. The 20-year-old made himself at home after moving from third to short. “He’s got really good hands and good feet. And as a group, we decided that we wanted to send him out as a shortstop, and he has really run with the opportunity,” Sestanovich said.

OF: Jesse Franklin V (ATL No. 20)
AA: .232/.315/.419, 94 G, 15 HR, 46 RBI, 55 R, 32 BB, 21 SB
Atlanta’s 2020 third-round pick sat out for the '22 recovering from Tommy John surgery, leaving himself with much to prove in ‘23. With 33 extra-base hits and 21 steals to his name, Franklin’s performance was more than solid in his comeback.

“I think he did a really nice job in Double-A this year,” Sestanovich said. “The power for Jesse has always been above average, and seeing him go out and perform well this past year was definitely encouraging.”

OF: Forrest Wall
AAA: .280/.372/.427, 90 G, 8 HR, 43 RBI, 62 R, 52 BB, 52 SB
Forrest Wall does not fit the speedster stereotype as a 28-year-old farmhand. However, he broke 50 steals for the second straight year, with 52 in 90 games with Gwinnett, by far the most in the Braves' farm system. Wall finally got his chance in The Show after nine years in the Minor Leagues. In 15 games, he put together a 1.379 OPS and swiped five bases.

OF: Ethan Workinger
A/A+: .258/.325/.414, 113 G, 12 HR, 57 RBI, 56 R, 40 BB, 5 SB
Workinger’s path to pro ball was anything but traditional. He played in local leagues instead of standard high school ball and was picked up as an undrafted free agent in 2020 out of junior college. The grittiness that came with his upbringing has made him into a hard-hitting competitor. “His work ethic is terrific,” Sestanovich said. “He’s taken the opportunity and run with it.”

RHP: AJ Smith-Shawver (ATL No. 1, MLB No. 53)
A+/AA/AAA: 4-2, 2.76 ERA, 62 IP, 79 K, 33 BB, .169 BAA, 1.13 WHIP
Leaping from High-A to The Show in the span of six starts, Smith-Shawver is no joke. He relies on his fastball and slider -- which reach the high 90s and high 80s, respectively -- while peppering in a changeup and curveball. The curve, was added to his toolbox this past season, has an above-average drop at 59.5 inches. In six appearances (five starts) with Atlanta, Smith-Shawver limited batters to a .183 average while maintaining a 1.11 WHIP.

LHP: Luis De Avila (ATL No. 13)
AA/AAA: 6-10, 3.26 ERA, 127 IP, 128 K, 65 BB, .224 BAA, 1.32 WHIP
De Avila has come a long way since joining the Braves' system during the Rule 5 Draft ahead of the 2022 season. De Avila is aggressive from the bump, boasting a sinking fastball, curve and changeup in his arsenal. Sestanovich recalled that De Avila has a great “ability to compete on the mound as he gets a lot of ground balls. He’s that rare, lefty ground-balls guy.” Forcing easy outs on top of a 9.12 K/9 with Mississippi landed him a spot on the All-Southern League team.

RP: Grant Holmes
AAA: 7-3, 3.54 ERA, 61 IP, 74 K, 26 BB, .232 BAA, 1.30 WHIP
With 13 saves and four holds, the 27-year-old farmhand made a steady impact in Gwinnett's bullpen. His 3.54 ERA was his best since 2019 and the third lowest in his nine-year Minor League career.

“[Holmes has] had a really solid year pitching important innings for [Gwinnett],” Sestanovich said. “He’s an example of a guy who has come into our system and worked really hard and gotten himself better.”