The list rolls on! If you missed any of our previous entries, check them out below:
Jake Gordon’s List:
15. Bryce Elder (RHP)
Elder became a Texas high school legend when he tossed two no-hitters in the state playoffs, and he was the ace of the Texas Longhorns before Atlanta scooped him up in the 5th and final round of last year’s draft. Elder is a bit of a “Jack of All Trades, Master of None” type pitcher. He has a pretty solid mix of a sinker, slider, changeup, and curveball. They’re all above average, but he’s still missing that X-Factor go-to pitch. Elder could be a fast riser if he continues to build a solid repertoire, similar to another Bryse/Bryce — Wilson.
14. Jared Shuster (LHP)
This is going to be way lower than where Chase has him slotted, but I need to see more out of Jared Shuster before moving him up any higher. This pick was puzzling to me, but I trust Alex Anthopoulos. His box score is… ugly, but he’s a power lefty that was much better in the highly competitive Cape Cod League than he was in college. It is no shock that he was picked below slot, but he could make a substantial impact early in the lower levels of Atlanta’s minor league system.
13. Jeremy Walker (RHP)
I’m a little higher on a friend of the podcast — Jeremy Walker — than Chase, but I’m basing this on what I’ve seen from him in Atlanta. In six appearances and 9.1 innings, Jeremy only gave up two earned runs while striking out six batters. Injury cut his time in Atlanta short, but I think his super high floor is going to make an impact at the Major League level in 2021.
12. Jasseel De La Cruz (RHP)
De La Cruz came out of nowhere, but he’s climbed the ranks quickly and should start 2021 in Gwinnett. He dominated Rome & Florida (RIP) before being promoted to Mississippi, where he spent most of 2019. Jasseel appeared in 17 games (16 starts), spanning 87 innings for the M-Braves. De La Cruz checked many of the boxes as far as the box score is concerned — 3.83 ERA, 1.24 WHIP, 7.6 K/9. His 3.8 BB/9 will need to cut down, but he’s got a nasty slider and touches 99 with his fastball.
11. Trey Harris (OF, R/R)
The elder (no relation & no pun intended) Harris clocks in first, and he could be another fast riser with the voids soon to be left by Cristian Pache & Drew Waters. The 2019 Atlanta Minor League Player of the Year can flat out hit. If you can hit, you’ll find a spot somewhere. The former 32nd round pick has a chip on his shoulder, and if he keeps up the 1.031 OPS that he hit for in Rome — that chip will carry him to Truist Park.
Chase Irle’s List
15. Daysbel Hernandez (RHP)
Hernandez is a 24-year-old out of Cuba that followed up an unremarkable 2018 campaign with a stellar 2019 that featured a 1.71 ERA and 70 strikeouts in 52.2 innings. Given his high-powered stuff and age, I would expect the Braves to push him up the farm system pretty quickly in 2021, especially after a lost 2020. If he thrives, don’t be surprised if he makes his MLB debut as early as next season.
14. Bryce Elder (RHP)
Pretty much every outlet you can imagine pegged Elder as a steal in the fifth round of this year’s MLB Draft, and the Braves signed him well above slot value, giving him a signing bonus of $850,000. By the time Elder was a senior for the Texas Longhorns, he was their ace and performing exactly as expected, boasting a 2.08 ERA in his first four starts before the season was shut down. He’s a prospect to watch in 2021 as he gets his first taste of professional baseball.
13. Bryce Ball (1B/OF, L/R)
I have Ball higher than almost every outlet I’ve seen, but I have to admit I still feel like I could be selling him a bit short. Because all we’ve seen the kid do is ball since being drafted in the 24th round. He hit .324 with a ridiculous 13 homers and 12 doubles in just 41 games of Rookie ball, earning a promotion to Rome, where he played the last 21 games, smacking another four homers and six doubles while maintaining a .337 batting average. He was so impressive that the Braves even decided to carry him on their 60-man taxi squad. I can’t wait to see what this kid does in 2021.
12. Trey Harris (OF, R/R)
Harris was the organization’s Minor League Player of the Year in 2019. He began that season in Rome, where he raked at a .366 clip before being promoted to Florida. Harris ended his 2019 campaign in Mississippi, smacking a couple of home runs and hitting .281 in 41 games. For a 32nd round pick, he’s already exceeded all expectations, but it’ll be interesting to see what the Braves will do with him, considering they already have Ronald Acuña locked in for the next decade with Cristian Pache and Drew Waters nearing their opportunity in the bigs.
11. Michael Harris (OF, L/L)
Many people believe Michael Harris could be the next can’t miss prospect to come out of the Braves organization. The former third-round pick was excellent in his first stint of pro-ball, hitting .343 in Rookie Ball, leading to a promotion to Rome. He’s another guy the Braves chose to be on their 60-man taxi squad this past season, so 2020 wasn’t a total loss from him. I considered putting Harris inside the top-ten because of his potential, but until he does it at a higher level and throughout an entire season, he’ll remain on the outside looking in.