SportsTalkATL’s Braves 2023 Prospect Rankings: Top Five

Daniel young Braves

The top five is finally here!  With another strong showing in the draft and some international signings, the Braves can get right back into the middle of the pack for farm system rankings — especially if they continue to develop guys like Michael Harris & Vaughn Grissom at the rate they have been. Enough talking, let’s get to the rankings. Previous editions are listed below:

 

 

#5 RHP Freddy Tarnok (AAA)

Tarnok got a tiny taste of action in Atlanta in 2022, mostly due to his breaking ball and improvements he has made since being drafted in 2017. Now with an improved fastball, he’s starting to dominate hitters — he had the second best strikeout rate in the system in 2022, only behind Spencer Strider. His changeup is starting to come around too. If he starts off 2023 in a big way, he’s going to force himself into Atlanta’s future plans.

 

#4 1B/OF Justyn-Henry Malloy (AA)

If I had to name a big winner for the 2022 season, it’s undoubtedly the Georgia Tech product Malloy. Malloy absolutely crushed Rome pitchers to the tune of a .888 OPS and 10 home runs. He didn’t see a dropoff in production after hitting Mississippi, blasting six bombs with a .824 OPS in 54 games. He got a taste of action in Gwinnett over eight games and posted an .864 OPS. What’s most impressive about Malloy is his approach — he doesn’t chase or whiff very often. He has a lot of potential and could be the next great bat in Atlanta’s farm system.

 

#3 RHP JR Ritchie (A)

Ritchie had an impressive debut for the Braves, climbing up to Low-A Augusta before their season finished. There’s a reason the Braves were so high on this high school talent; Richie dominated his competition at the prep level. That’s mostly thanks to his hard fastball. Ritchie has a very developed changeup and slider for his age, which is probably why he posted a 0.30 ERA with 84 strikeouts in 39.1 high school innings. So far, Ritchie has a 1.88 ERA over 14.1 innings. He looks to move through the system quickly, especially if he starts off 2023 strong in Augusta, or possibly even Rome.

 

#2 RHP Owen Murphy (A)

Murphy was the first pick the Braves made in the 2022 draft, making five starts. Murphy had one bad start in Augusta, but other than that, he was pretty solid. He threw four innings of shutout ball with five strikeouts in his season finale. Murphy was a monster in high school, going 9-0 with a 0.12 ERA. He struck out 132 batters and threw four no hitters, including two perfect games. He has a ton of potential on the mound — Murphy, Phillips, and Ritchie really helped the Braves refill the lower levels of the minors.

 

#1 LHP Jared Shuster (AAA)

Vaughn Grissom, Kyle Muller, and Bryce Elder are all graduated, so this is Jared Shuster’s throne now. Shuster didn’t reach Atlanta at the pace of Spencer Strider or even Bryce Elder, his 2020 draft classmates, but he has shown solid progression through each level of Atlanta’s system. Walks were a concern with Shuster when he was first drafted, but he has managed to keep those under control in 2022. He looked very impressive this season, and he could find himself making a few starts in Atlanta in 2023 if injuries strike. If not, he’s primed to crack the rotation in 2024.

Photographer: Larry Radloff/Icon Sportswire

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