If you missed any of our previous rankings, you can find them here:
20. Greyson Jenista (OF/1B, L/R)
Jenista’s spot on this list is pretty volatile, and 2021 will be a make or break year for him. Will he tap into his power like an Austin Riley or flounder like a Braxton Davidson? The former Cape Cod League MVP is likely to find himself in Left Field, but his pop cannot be ignored. He’s still a raw prospect, but the tools are 100% there. He’s yet to crack 10 HRs — and while it may be difficult in the Southern league, if he gets a shot in Gwinnett, it may be bombs away.
19. Victor Vodnik (RHP)
Vodnik got rocked in Rookie Ball in 2018 to the tune of a 9.64 ERA over 4.2 innings. 2019 was a different animal. He had three saves in Rome, striking out 69 over 67.1 innings. His 2.94 ERA and 1.17 WHIP are a *tad* high for a closer, but I think he could get a look in Atlanta’s bullpen sooner rather than later.
18. Patrick Weigel (RHP)
I love Weigel; he’s a friend of the podcast and has a fantastic comeback story. His 2020 MLB debut was rough, but it was a TINY sample size in a weird season. With some more seasoning in Gwinnett, he gets back to the Mr. Consistency that we saw post a 2.73 ERA in 79 innings in Gwinnett and Mississippi. I think we get a healthy dose of Weigel in Atlanta in 2021. I believe in this guy, and I’ll be rooting for him to put a bow on his comeback story.
17. Freddy Tarnok (RHP)
Tarnok is a frustrating prospect. I’m a little lower on him than most, but we haven’t really gotten an extended look at him. It’s no fault of his own, but he has less than 200 professional innings under his belt. He got tagged in Florida last season, so this position could be way too low or way too high. Like many lower-level prospects who didn’t play in 2020, he could jump way up or fall very far depending on how this season goes.
16. Daysbel Hernandez (RHP)
Daysbel is a prospect we haven’t gotten an extended look at, but the projectability is certainly there. He throws gas hanging around 98 and is working on a slider that has some good movement. He’s a very raw prospect, but it’s a good sign that he cut his walk rate and increased his strikeout rate in 2019. In A+ ball, Hernandez posted a 1.71 ERA and 1.08 WHIP over 52.2 innings with 70 Ks, 23 BBs — and he only allowed 2 HRs. His future may be in the bullpen with a limited pitch mix, but if he can command his slider as he does with his fastball, he’ll be effective in Atlanta.
Chase Irle’s Rankings:
20. Vaughn Grissom (SS)
19-year-old Vaughn Grissom cracks the Braves Top 20 prospects after an extremely impressive stint in rookie ball back in 2019, smacking three homers and seven doubles to the tune of a .288 average in 44 games. Obviously, it is way too early in his career to really tell what he might be as a major-leaguer, but his power, defense, and athleticism are all something to like so far.
19. Patrick Weigel (RHP)
Arm injuries have held Weigel back. If it weren’t for them, he would likely already be in Atlanta by now. The righty put together an impressive 2019 in his return, posting a 2.73 ERA between Mississippi and Gwinnett, and followed that up with an electric Spring Training. I was a little surprised the Braves didn’t turn to him sooner, given all of their pitching woes, but eventually, Weigel made his MLB debut in 2020; however, it’s one he would probably like to forget, as he surrendered two runs on two hits and three walks and failed to get out of his first major league inning. Still, there’s a lot to like about Weigel’s stuff, and he could end up spending most of 2021 in Atlanta.
18. Jeremy Walker (RHP)
Walker is a guy I was super excited to see in 2020. He was electric in his short stint with the Braves in 2019, boasting a minuscule 1.93 ERA over 9.1 innings. Unfortunately, an arm injury prevented him from making an appearance last season, but his filthy two-seam fastball is something few pitchers in this league have. If Walker can come back healthy in 2021, he should be a critical piece to Atlanta’s bullpen.
17. Freddy Tarnok (RHP)
Tarnok was a third-round pick out of high school by the Braves in 2017. He’s yet to have a ton of success in the minors and did not get to play in 2020, but he has three-plus pitches and could project as a back of the rotation starter as he matures, which is nothing to scoff at.
16. Victor Vodnik (RHP)
Vodnik was electric in 2019 with Rome, recording a 2.93 ERA in 67.1 innings with 69 strikeouts. He’ll need to work on his secondary pitches if he wants to have a lot of success at the top level, but his high-90s fastball makes him a high upside prospect from the right side.