First Base Prospect Spotlight: Bryce Ball
Welcome to a continuation of our new Prospect Spotlight series, where we pair our prospect rankings with a deep dive on one of the players in that ranking. Here, we’ll dive deeper into the prospect’s fantasy profile, highlighting their background, skill set, and what we see for them coming down the pipeline. Prospects are the lifeblood of any dynasty league and we hope to bring you more great info on these rising stars in 2021 than ever before.
Demanding to be Noticed
The 6’6″, 240-pound 22-year-old masher may have been an absolute steal for the Braves in the 24th round of the 2018 draft. Ball came on like gangbusters in his final college season, split between Northern Iowa Community College and Dallas Baptists. Ball has 70-grade power and has shown tremendous control of the strike zone. Thus far, he’s been able to square up both fastballs and breaking balls. Combine that with a 1.023 OPS split between Rookie ball and A-ball, and Ball might have the bat to matter at first base.
At the moment, it’s a bit tough to say how Ball’s hit tool is going to play out. At Dallas Baptist, he displayed a keen eye as he took a not-insignificant amount of walks. However, he struck out at a 23% clip against competition that was younger than him. The worry is that his long limbs may make it harder for him to get to the ball, and thus as he begins to see more advanced pitching, the swing and miss will need watching. The bat needs to be everything we dream it to be for him to matter in fantasy.
The Devil is in the Details… Where are the Details?
The Braves seem to be taking an aggressive approach with Ball. Only getting a glimpse of A-ball in 2019, he was invited to Spring Training in 2020. Spring Training was cut short, and so he only received a handful at-bat there as well. He went 3 for 16 with a homer and only walked three times will striking out eight, all while posting a .697 OPS. Still, the Braves liked him enough to send him over to the alternate site even though he’d only played one season and had a poor showing in the Spring. My guess is Ball starts the year in Double-A this year, and I wouldn’t be surprised if he made his debut sometime in 2022, the same year Freddie Freeman’s contract ends.
The picture with Ball is murky. We know for sure that he has a tremendous amount of thunder in the bat and an organization eager to see what he can do. Next, we know that he likely won’t be playing another position other than first or designated hitter. Yet, we don’t know the amount of contact Ball will make, which looms over his potential at a position that demands a special bat.
Time to Take Action
Dynasty, however, is a game of gambles. Though we spend much of our time scouring for an information edge over those we compete against, we’re all trying to do something impossible. Predict the unpredictable. Thus with guys like Ball getting in on them now, when things remain unclear, is necessary. In our rankings, Ball ranked 10th among first base prospects. That’s likely a getable player in most leagues, and he may even be out there on waivers in a few leagues. Well worth rostering in 12 teams or deeper, and if you act soon, you might have yourself a steal.