2020 Braves Top 30 Prospect List

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It may not feel like it, but pitchers and catchers are scheduled to report in less than three weeks, and the Braves’ first spring training game is in less than a month. Which means it is about time for another Braves Top-30 Prospect List. Atlanta is one of the only teams set up to compete for a championship now with a farm system that is hovering around the top five in baseball. It’s a talented bunch, featuring several familiar faces and many more that will become household names among Braves fans in the near future.

Prospects 30-21

 

30. Hayden Deal

29. Beau Phillip

28. Tyler Owens

27. Jefrey Ramos

26. Thomas Burrows

25. Kasey Kalich

24. Victor Vodnik

23. Ricky DeVito

22. Jusin Dean

21. Bryce Ball

 

Hayden Deal is an older prospect (25) and has yet to reach AA Mississipi, but that’s where he should begin 2020 after he backed up a remarkable 2018 in Rome with a more than respectable 2019 with the Florida Fire Frogs. Beau Phillip was the Braves’ second-round pick in 2019. The shortstop out of Oregon State struggled in 55 games with the Danville Braves, but we won’t put too much stock into his numbers until after this season. Tyler Owens is a 19-year-old 13th round pick out of Trinity Catholic High School in Florida. He impressed over two levels of rookie-ball, flashing high 90s heat. Owens should start 2020 in Rome. Jefrey Ramos continued to showcase some pop with the Fire Frogs, but his inability to become a better all-around hitter has him falling a few spots. Thomas Burrows is a 25-year-old prospect out of the University of Alabama that was actually eligible for the Rule-5 draft, but nobody selected him. He’s a lefty reliever that has a non-roster invite to spring training. He’ll probably begin the season in AAA Gwinnett, and depending on how things go, he could make his major league debut in 2020.

The top half of the 20s starts with Kasey Kalich out of Texas A&M. Harrison Coburn recently did a piece on Kalich, where he discusses his potential as a back-end relief arm. He posesses a high-90s fastball with a slider as his out pitch, and after dominating SEC hitters, he was electric in 13 appearances for the Rome Braves. Victor Vodnik is another hard-throwing arm that could fit in the Braves bullpen down the road. Ricky DeVito was also drafted in 2019 and had a fantastic first stint as a professional. In four starts for Rome, he posted a 3.78 ERA. Justin Dean was stellar in his first full season with Rome, recording a .817 OPS. Rounding out prospects 30-21 is friend of the Podcast, Bryce Ball. He was drafted out of Dallas Baptist and absolutely crushed the lower levels of the minors. Even though it was a short stint, Ball has shown he has the potential to be a fast riser in the Braves system.

 

Prospects 20-11

 

20. Patrick Weigel

19. Freddy Tarnok

.18. CJ Alexander

17. Daysbel Hernandez

16. Greyson Jenista

15. Jasseel De La Cruz

14. Alex Jackson

13. Trey Harris

12. Huascar Ynoa

11. Jeremy Walker

 

The last prospect in the 20s is Patrick Weigel. Now 25, he’s been in the minors for a while, and injuries have held him back. However, he was stellar at both the AA and AAA levels last season while under an innings restriction. Hopefully, that trend continues as he’s able to pitch deeper into games, or perhaps they will turn him into a full-time reliever. The Braves still believe Freddy Tarnok – a third-round pick back in 2017 – has a lot of potential, but he struggled as a 20-year-old with the Florida Fire Frogs. Injuries prevented CJ Alexander from building off of a 2018 that was out of this world, but we will have to see him take a step back while he is healthy before moving him too far down this list. Daysbel Hernandez is a 23-year-old reliever, but his numbers were eye-popping for the Florida Fire Frogs last season, posting a 1.71 ERA and 70 strikeouts in just 52.2 innings. In a recent post, Clint Manry outlined Greyson Jenista as a prospect in desperate need of a breakout 2020. He’s not wrong. If Jenista doesn’t show signs of improvements this season, he might find himself on the outside of this list altogether.

Promising pitcher Jasseel De La Cruz starts the top half of the teens. He’s been in the Braves system since 2015 but is beginning to gain some traction after a fantastic 2019. Over three levels (A-AA), De La Cruz had a 3.25 ERA in 24 starts. A lot of people might not think of Alex Jackson as a prospect, but he is, and he hit 28 homers in just 85 games for Gwinnett last year. Don’t sleep on him. Another friend of the podcast, Trey Harris, won the Braves Minor League Player of the Year in 2019 after an incredible campaign. He’s one of the hardest workers you will find and a true underdog story. Now, we will see if he can carry his success to the upper levels of the minors in 2020. Huascar Ynoa is a hard-throwing righty that made his MLB debut last season. He has a ton of potential as a relief arm, but there is still a lot of polishing that needs to be done before he is a major-league regular. The final member of this group is Jeremy Walker. Now, I have Walker way higher than any list I’ve seen, but every time I ask a minor leaguer which prospect is flying under the radar, Jeremy Walker is the first name that comes up. Then we got to see him in the majors last season, and I’m sold. I think Walker will be an integral part of the Braves bullpen as early as this year.

Prospects 10-1

 

10. William Contreras

9. Kyle Muller

8. Braden Shewmake

7. Bryse Wilson

6. Shea Langeliers

5. Tucker Davidson

4. Kyle Wright

3. Ian Anderson

2. Drew Waters

1. Cristian Pache

 

I’m not as impressed with William Contreras as most. He just hasn’t shown enough ability with the stick yet, and I think he gets the benefit of the doubt because his brother is an All-Star catcher. I still have him cracking the top ten, but I want to see a jump in 2020, or he will be much further down this list. Kyle Muller, who will be on the podcast next week, just finished off another spectacular year for AA Mississippi, posting a 3.14 ERA. The only things holding him back from being higher on this list are his walks and the ability to go deep into ball games. Braden Shewmake was one of the Braves two first-round selections last year. Atlanta received some grief for the pick, but he was a force to be reckoned with in Rome and immediately jumped to AA Mississippi in his first year of professional baseball. Bryse Wilson is starting to lose some ground on this list but not for lack of performance. He struggled while in the majors last season but was still electric in AAA. Shea Langilers was the 9th overall pick in last year’s draft by the Braves. He’s already the best defensive catcher in the system; we just hope the bat can catch up.

Our final five starts with Tucker Davidson, an arm too many people are sleeping on. Davidson, who sat in the low-90s for most of his career and had plenty of success, is now touching triple digits on the radar. He could have a career as a starter or a reliever, but I wouldn’t be surprised if the Braves used him out of the pen as early as this year. Like Bryse Wilson, Kyle Wright was not effective in the majors, but he still posesses a four-pitch mix that projects well in the MLB. If he doesn’t turn the corner this season, there is cause for concern. But until then, I still see him as one of the Braves’ very best prospects. The top pitcher on this list is Ian Anderson. Anderson is probably the best pitching prospect the Braves have had throughout this entire rebuild, and I expect him to make his major league debut in 2020. Atlanta’s top two prospects are both outfielders – Drew Waters and Cristian Pache. Waters is a little more advanced with the bat but still needs to grow into some power; Pache might be the best defensive prospect in baseball and filled out nicely over the last couple of seasons. There’s a great chance we see both in the majors in 2020, but with such a talented roster, the Braves don’t have to rush anybody.

 

 

 

 

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