SportsTalkATL’s Braves Top 30 Prospects

Posted on Aug 15 2017 - 2:08pm by Harrison Coburn

  1. Ronald Acuna (Prev. Rank: 3)
  2. Kolby Allard
  3. Kevin Maitan (Prev. Rank: 1)
  4. Ozzie Albies
  5. Mike Soroka (Prev. Rank: 6)
  6. Luiz Gohara (Prev. Rank: 8)
  7. Kyle Wright (Prev. Rank: NA)
  8. Joey Wentz (Prev. Rank: 10)
  9. Ian Anderson (Prev. Rank: 7)
  10. Kyle Muller (Prev. Rank: 9)
  11. Alex Jackson
  12. Austin Riley
  13. Bryse Wilson (Prev. Rank: 15)
  14. Lucas Sims (Prev. Rank: 16)
  15. Touki Toussaint (Prev. Rank: 18)
  16. Max Fried (Prev. Rank: 14)
  17. Brett Cumberland (Prev. Rank: 24)
  18. Drew Waters (Prev. Rank: NA)
  19. Cristian Pache (Prev. Rank: 21)
  20. Travis Demeritte (Prev. Rank: 13)
  21. Patrick Weigel (Prev. Rank: 17)
  22. Freddy Tarnok (Prev. Rank: NA)
  23. AJ Minter (Prev. Rank: 22)
  24. Rio Ruiz (Prev. Rank: 20)
  25. Caleb Dirks (Prev. Rank: 28)
  26. Akeel Morris (Prev. Rank: 29)
  27. Drew Lugbauer (Prev. Rank: NA)
  28. William Contreras (Prev. Rank: NA)
  29. Dustin Peterson (Prev. Rank: 19)
  30. Anfernee Seymour (Prev. Rank: 23)

The new guys:

There are some new prospects that have been added to the fold, and some talented ones at that. First, we have Kyle Wright out of Vanderbilt, who was signed to the biggest bonus in team history. The Braves believe he has frontline potential and he is already advanced enough to the point where he is playing A+ ball despite being drafted just months ago. He will look to be the next ace to come out of Vandy. The Braves also added local prospect Drew Waters. The switch hitter was the team’s second round pick out of Etowah High School, and appears to have the tools to become a regular starting outfielder in the bigs. It is too young to tell but Waters could be one of the team’s top prospects soon. How much do the Braves like third rounder Freddy Tarnok? The team signed him to a big time over slot deal, sacrificing talent in the later rounds to ensure he will don a tomahawk across his chest. Tarnok was drafted straight out of a Florida high school and just started pitching his Junior year, so he is extremely raw. Catcher was the Braves’ biggest need heading into the season, but they now have multiple guys in the farm competing to be the backstop of the future. Drew Lugbauer, who was an eleventh round pick by the Braves this year, has absolutely torn up the baseball since beginning his professional career. William Contreras, who is the younger brother of Cubs star catcher Willson, has emerged as the Bravs true dark horse prospect. He actually has very comparable stats to his older brother at the same age, who was a late bloomer. He joins the list.

The risers:

Ronald Acuna has not only become the best prospect in the Braves system, he is arguably the best in baseball. The 19-year old has been an absolute sensation this year. He has been promoted from A+ to AA, and AAA. What is crazy is that he has seemingly hit better at every level. He has posted OPS of .814, .895 and .960, respectively. He will be replacing Nick Markakis in the outfield next season, no doubt about it. Luiz Gohara is another guy who has cemented his status as an elite prospect with the Braves. The southpaw was acquired in the Mallex Smith trade with the Mariners, and has dominated since. Like Acuna, Gohara has already been promoted three times this season. He is one of many arms the Braves currently possess with ace potential, and he will likely be the next one of that group to get the call. Joey Wentz may be the Braves’ most underrated prospect. Wentz would likely be the top pitching prospect on most teams. The 19-year old has been terrific in Rome this year and he is the last chance the Braves have to salvage the oh so terrible Hector Olivera trade two years ago. Bryse Wilson has also been terrific with Rome and while he doesn’t per se have as good of stuff as Wentz, it is still darn good. Lucas Sims finally put it all together and had a terrific year with Gwinnett. He cut down his walks and pitched well, earning him a spot in Atlanta’s rotation. The rest of the season will be a test to see whether Sims can cement a rotation spot for himself next season. Touki Toussaint has had an up and down year but has pitched very well lately, which earned him a promotion to AA Mississippi. He is the biggest boom or bust prospect the Braves have. Brett Cumberland may be the streakiest hitter in the system, but Catchers who can hit do not grow on trees. He has had a nice bounce back season after a disappointing pro debut. I am not as big on Cristian Pache as others, but the team is huge on him. He’s a talented young centerfield prospect with electrifying speed that is worth watching. Caleb Dirks is actually having his worst pro season, but poor performance from others bumps him up here. He hit a bit of a speed bump in AAA, but could be part of an elite bullpen in future years. He has late innings written all over him, and reliever prospects do not get enough love. Another guy who falls into that category is Akeel Morris. He has actually been great at the major league level this season when given a chance, and it is truly perplexing how he does not have a bullpen spot cut out for him given the unit’s struggles. It is only a matter of time.

The fallers:

Kevin Maitan and Ian Anderson moved down a couple spots, but not due to poor performance. Just the way things shuffled out. Max Fried got bumped down a couple spots due to his early struggles in the season. However, he has been great since recovering from a blister issue and has impressed many with his stuff in the big league club’s bullpen lately. The Braves may try to limit his innings this year due to past injuries, but look for him to try to take a rotation spot next spring, or even make a spot start if needed down the stretch. Travis Demeritte has a ton of power, but he may strike out too much to become an MLB regular. He has really struggled to hit for average this year and is now battling injury. Patrick Weigel is a nice prospect and was on the verge of potentially being the next farmhand to get a shot at the big leagues. Unfortunately, Braves Country will have to wait a while to see Weigel. The severe injury bumps him down a tad bit on the list. Rio Ruiz has actually fared worse in his second year in AAA, and failed to really hold his own at the big league level. It is time to start questioning whether he will ever be good enough to become a big league regular. Dustin Peterson‘s power is on a milk carton. Many thought he would grow into his power, but that has not been the case. Peterson does not feature much speed, is a contact hitter, and nothing to write home about in the field. He is still just 22, but the plan at the beginning of the season was to put him in left field when Matt Kemp was injured if he was not injured himself. From what I can tell, that has not even been under consideration during Kemp’s recent absence, it that tells you what the organization thinks.

Honorable mentions: Drew Harrington, Tyler Pike, Husacar Ynoa, Devan Watts, Daniel Winkler

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