The Atlanta Braves sent four position players to the Arizona Fall League to gain more experience. Kade Scivicque, Travis Demeritte, Dylan Moore, and Dustin Peterson competed for the Salt River Rafters alongside other top prospects from around the league. Each Braves prospect performed admirably for the Rafters in the short season. David O’Brien of the Atlanta Journal-Constitution reported that Atlanta’s prospects led their team in OPS.
4 #Braves position-player prospects in AFL (Moore, Scivicque, Demeritte, DPeterson) had the top 4 OPS of 16 hitters on Salt River Rafters
— David O'Brien (@DOBrienAJC) November 22, 2016
Atlanta Braves Prospects Shine in AFL
Second baseman Travis Demeritte was the top Braves performer in the AFL. He appeared in 22 games for the Rafters and displayed the potential to change games with his bat. Demeritte posted a slash line of .261/.333/.522 with an OPS of .855 over 92 at-bats. His OPS ranked 12th of all qualified AFL hitters and his slugging percentage ranked fifth. Demeritte led the AFL in at-bats (92), triples (four), and total bases (48). He also finished with top-ten marks in runs (23), hits (24), home runs (four), and RBI (14).
Demeritte’s strong performance was enough to see him named to the All-AFL Team. The converted shortstop also displayed a formidable glove at second base and made appearances at third base. His immediate future remains unclear, but he will likely begin 2017 with Double-A Mississippi. Demeritte will continue to primarily play second base, though his ability to play multiple positions will be utilized.
Outfielder Dustin Peterson stayed hot in the AFL after an incredible regular season. Peterson was named Atlanta’s Organizational Player of the Year in September. He followed that up with a slash line of .324/.352/.471 and an OPS of 823. Peterson appeared in 18 games for the Rafters and posted the eighth-best batting average among qualifying hitters. He had 22 hits with five doubles, a triple, a home run, and nine RBI.
Peterson has established himself as a legitimate outfield prospect with a strong bat after an impressive 2016. He does, however, face an uphill battle to make it to Atlanta. The Braves currently have four strong outfielders in Matt Kemp, Ender Inciarte, Nick Markakis, and young speedster Mallex Smith. Markakis will be the first free agent of this group, and he is set to hit the market following the 2018 season. Peterson should utilize the next year-and-a-half to put himself in a strong position for a promotion to the big leagues.
Catcher Kade Scivicque was acquired from the Detroit Tigers this August. Atlanta traded veteran shortstop Erick Aybar to obtain the former LSU backstop. Scivicque only appeared in 10 games for the rafters. He did, however, impress in the action he saw. Scivicque did not accumulate enough at-bats to qualify for the league leaderboards, but his .378 batting average was tops for the Rafters. He posted a slash line of .378/.410/.486 with an OPS of .897. Scivicque posted 14 hits, four doubles, and four RBI in 37 at-bats.
Scivicque’s offensive output in the AFL was unexpected. He had not been known for his bat and posted a .273 batting average and .680 OPS across two minor league levels in 2016. Scivicque still has a lot to prove, but the door to Atlanta is wide open for catchers. As of today, the Braves have Tyler Flowers, Anthony Recker, and Tuffy Gosewisch as backstop options. Flowers stands to be the Opening Day starter, which is not a bad thing, but is already 30 years old. Recker and Gosewisch are both 33 and have never contributed significantly at the major league level. Atlanta is still looking for their catcher of the future. Scivicque should have a legitimate shot to develop into that guy.
Infielder Dylan Moore was another August trade acquisition for Atlanta. The Braves acquired Moore by sending Jeff Francoeur to the Miami Marlins and an International Bonus Pool Slot to the Texas Rangers. Moore is listed as a shortstop, but appeared at every position but catcher in 2016. He even logged one inning on the mound for the Hickory Crawdads.
Moore appeared in 11 games for the Rafters and boosted his value with a strong performance. He posted a slash line of .317/.378/.537 and an OPS of .914. Moore had 13 hits, three doubles, two home runs, and six RBI in 41 at-bats. The 24-year-old utility player will hope to build off of his first full professional season with a strong 2017.