SportsTalkATL’s Top 30 Prospect List

Posted on Aug 2 2015 - 10:52am by Harrison Coburn

Well, July was an interesting month to say the least. There is a lot of movement on our list, and a ton of turnover. International players were signed, and prospects were moved. We decided to extend the list to 30 players due to the depth in our system. Let’s take a look:

  1. Hector Olivera
  2. Matt Wisler
  3. Touki Touissaint
  4. Kolby Allard
  5. Ozhaino Albies
  6. Manny Banuelos
  7. Max Fried
  8. Tyrell Jenkins
  9. Lucas Sims
  10. Arodys Vizcaino
  11. Mallex Smith
  12. Braxton Davidson
  13. Dustin Peterson
  14. Mike Soroka
  15. Austin Riley
  16. Derian Cruz
  17. Rob Whalen
  18. Steve Janas
  19. Andrew Thurman
  20. Ricardo Sanchez
  21. Rio Ruiz
  22. Lucas Herbert
  23. Christian Pache
  24. Caleb Beech
  25. Zachary Bird
  26. Alec Grosser
  27. John Gant
  28. Juan Yepez
  29. Jason Hursh
  30. Daniel Winkler

Trending Up:

Hector Olivera immediately becomes the top prospect in the Atlanta system following the trade that saw Jose Peraza out the door to LA. Yes, he’s 30, but he still hasn’t had an MLB at bat. This should change in the coming weeks. Touki Toussaint moves up to number 3 on the list. The Diamondbacks’ 1st Round selection last year won’t blow you away when you look at his ERA, but this has been inflated by a start in which he gave up 9 runs in 3.1 innings pitched. Only in one other appearance has Touki given up more than 3 runs, and hitters are only hitting .205 against him in Rome. He is a stud, and quite possibly our future top prospect. Kolby Allard moves up a spot simply because I moved Lucas Sims down the list. Sims has some catching up to do, and Allard has all the makings of a future ace. Ozhaino Albies has starred this year for Rome, and is making a name for himself as an elite contact hitter. Many consider him to be our top prospect, and he’s a huge reason why the front office may have considered Jose Peraza to be expendable. He’s hitting .311 for Rome this season. Tyrell Jenkins moves up a couple of spots as he has shined since being called up to AAA this past month. He’s pitching even better than he did for Mississippi, as he has a 2.03 ERA through his first 5 starts. He could be in Atlanta soon. Arodys Vizcaino has been nothing short of sensational since returning from suspension, and he is now Atlanta’s closer. He’s given up just a single earned run in his 11 big league appearances this season, and he really lights up the radar gun. His performance has been good enough to move him up a few spots. Braxton Davidson moves up a couple spots as well. He’s had a nice year for Rome, and although he is hitting just .247 he has a .389 on base percentage. He’s shown some power, and the 19 year old still has a lot of room to grow in this department considering his build. Mike Soroka has been incredible so far since entering the Braves farm system. In his first five starts, he has some INSANE stats. He has a 1.29 ERA and hitters are batting .107 off him. It’s a small sample size, but I clearly underestimated Soroka and I have updated the list accordingly. He shoots 9 spots up the list to number 14. Austin Riley is another 2015 draft pick who has impressed, and he makes his first appearance on the list and immediately come in 15th overall. In a system seriously lacking power bats, Riley has stepped in and already has hit 7 dingers in his first 117 Minor League at bats. He looks to be a promising prospect at the hot corner. Derian Cruz was one of the Braves’ international signings in July, and the speedy switch hitter has received rave reviews from scouts. We haven’t seen him play yet, but I’m estimating he will be in the mid to late teens range, hence me ranking him 16th overall. Rob Whalen was acquired in the deal with the Mets that sent Kelly Johnson and Juan Uribe to the Bronx. Many are down on the trade, but I think Whalen is a promising arm. He’s had two nice starts for the Mudcats since he was acquired, and has a nice track record in the minors. I think this kid will be an MLB starter, and I have him 17th on the list. Steve Janas cracks the list for the first time at number 18 overall. Between A+ and AA ball this season, the KSU product Janas has a 1.93 ERA and a .221 average against in 12 starts. He has never been a highly touted prospect as a 6th round pick, but I’m jumping on the bandwagon. Andrew Thurman, the forgotten man in the Evan Gattis deal, moves up a handful of spots, mostly due to a handful of Braves pitching prospect being moved or struggling. He’s had a nice year so far. Lucas Herbert will unfortunately miss the rest of the season with injury, but moves up a few spots due to all the moves and whatnot. He becomes the Braves’ top Catcher prospect with the struggles of Jose Briceno, who I kicked off the list. Christian Pache is another international signing that I have to estimate before watching play. Some are higher on him than others, but I’m putting him in the 20’s for now. Caleb Beech was selected in the 13th Round this past year, but he looks to be far more valuable than that. He has a 2.87 ERA in 11 appearances (10 starts) for Rome. Zachary Bird and John Gant are young arms that the team recently acquired, but I’m not as high on them as many are. They both have high ERAs this season, and they have a lot to prove to move up this list. Juan Yepez cracks the list, and is perhaps the most under the radar prospect in the system. He was a 2014 international signing, and he is hitting .306 so far for the GCL Braves. If he can make a name for himself, he is a guy who can fly up this list. Daniel Winkler comes in at number 30 on the list. Yes, he’s older and yes he’s sitting the year out with injuries, but he has a proven Minor League track record and I think he has a future as a solid reliever for the Braves.

Trending Down:

Matt Wisler moves down a spot due to the acquisition of Hector Olivera, but he is still a stud. Enough said. I still hold him in high regard, and he has been great as a rookie for the Braves. I love the movement on this kid’s stuff. Lucas Sims moves down a handful of spots as he hasn’t lived up to expectations. He did get promoted to Mississippi, but isn’t exactly blowing anybody away by any means. Mallex Smith moves down a bit as he had a rough time transitioning to AAA. He has hit just .231 so far at this level. He will have to step up his game in the second half, but he seems to gradually be getting a hold of the higher level. Dustin Peterson moves down a couple of spots, but it really wasn’t due to any type of declining play. Ricardo Sanchez is still young and full of potential, but the left-hander has a 5.45 and a bad walk-to-strikeout ratio so far in 10 starts for Rome. He has battled injuries this season, but hopefully he can stay healthy and flash his potential in the second half of the season. Rio Ruiz is another prospect who has had a disappointing 2015. Ruiz has hit just .211 with a single homer this season, not good for a guy who is supposed to have pop in his bat. Yes, he’s young for AA but he’s been a huge disappointment regardless. He will undoubtedly have to repeat AA next season. Alec Grosser continues to fall down this list, as he falls five spots down to 26th overall. The good news for Grosser is that ever since he has worked relief for Rome, he has been effective. He has a 3.14 ERA as a reliever in 8 appearances as opposed to a 5.71 ERA in 13 starts. It’s good that Grosser is finding a role, but being a reliever definitely hurts his stock as a prospect. Jason Hursh is another guy who has transitioned to a relief role due to 2015 struggles. Like Grosser, Hursh has been much more effective as a reliever. I moved Hursh back a TON of spots, but he’s going to have to reestablish himself as a starter to really be considered a highly touted prospect in this system. Grosser and Hursh may end up being fine relievers, and that’s fine. It simply hurts their stock when it comes to evaluating prospects.

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