Drake Baldwin, C, Atlanta Braves
The Atlanta Braves don't have a current opening at catcher — nor will they for the next several seasons. Sean Murphy signed a six-year, $73 million contract last offseason, and Travis d'Arnaud is their backup player at the position for the next two seasons.
Drake Baldwin has shown his talent playing for the club's minor-league affiliates over the last two seasons. In 2023, he had a .260/.385/.466 slash line in 92 games with Atlanta's High-A ball club, the Rome Braves. At catcher, he had a .989 fielding percentage in 63 games at the position. He had seven errors during his time behind home plate with Rome.
Baldwin didn't commit any errors in nine games playing catcher with Atlanta's Double-A ball club, the Mississippi Braves. He had a .321/.390/.396 line in 14 contests hitting with Mississippi. He had a .333/.333/.583 slash line in three games along with a perfect fielding percentage in two contests at catcher with the Triple-A Gwinnett Stripers.
The 22-year-old will likely begin 2024 playing at either the Double-A or Triple-A level.
J.T. Realmuto has two years remaining on his deal and will be in his mid-30s when the contract expires. The Phillies' top player at catcher in their minor league system, Caleb Ricketts' estimated time to arrive in the majors is in 2025. If Philadelphia wants more competition at the position in the future, it should consider acquiring other players such as Baldwin.