This is a running series of the 2019 Atlanta Braves all-prospect team. I will be compiling a 25-man roster using only prospects. Every player on this list will have prospect status. I will not be using Touki, Soroka, Wright, Gohora, or Allard as that was too easy to construct a rotation. The only players on this roster with MLB experience are Austin Riley and Alex Jackson, and neither were up long enough to be considered a big leaguer over a prospect. The list will be comprised of a lineup, bench, rotation, and bullpen.
1. Riley Delgado (High-A, 2B)- Delgado is currently listed as a shortstop at high A Florida. However, he is the type of player that may transition well to second base. Through 23 games in 2019, Riley has a slash line of .330/.374/.396. The 24-year-old Miami native is not currently a top-30 prospect but is worth keeping in a lineup due to his hit tool.
2. Drew Waters (AA, LF)- Drew Waters has the potential to be a superstar. A second-round pick in the 2017 draft – Waters is a switch-hitting outfielder with defensive tools that will play in CF if needed. In AA Mississippi, the 20-year-old is hitting .319 with an on-base percentage of .366, and a slugging percentage of .521. Unless he gets injured or traded, look for Waters to be a Brave for a while.
3. Cristian Pache (AA, CF)- The 20-year-old Dominican is being slated as the next Andruw Jones, and the comparison may prove to be accurate. Pache is being touted as the best defensive player in the organization…at any level. Cristian is currently hitting .321 with a .363 on-base percentage followed by a .571 slugging percentage. The knock on Pache early was a lack of power, but he is putting those doubts to rest. If he continues to develop at the same pace, you are looking at the future center fielder of the Atlanta Braves sooner rather than later.
4. Austin Riley (AAA, 3B)- Riley is likely not going to be on the prospect list for much longer. The 22-year-old slugger out of Memphis is the third baseman of the future. He will be a decent defensive corner infielder, who is also capable of slotting into a corner outfield spot if necessary and has 30 home run power.
5. CJ Alexander (AA, 1B)- CJ Alexander is technically a third baseman as of now, but his 6’ 5” frame looks to transfer over to first base. Alexander is currently struggling at AA and underwent Tommy John Surgery yesterday but has hit over .350 at every level prior to Mississippi. Look for the Indiana native to continue to move up in the organization once he returns healthy.
6. Greyson Jenista (High-A, RF)- Jenista was a second-round pick out of Wichita State in 2018. The former Shocker has a lightning bolt for a bat with serious pop. The 22-year-old is off to a slow start in 2019, but his potential seats him as the right fielder of the future in Atlanta.
7. William Contreras (High-A, C)- Little brother of Cubs’ backstop Willson Contreras, William will be the catcher in Atlanta a few years down the road. He is solid behind the plate and calls a good game. Catcher is a position that is centered around defense, which is great news for Contreras. He will hit a bit, but his worth is found behind the plate.
8. AJ Graffanino ( High-A, SS)-Son of former big leaguer Tony Graffanino, AJ is a rangy shortstop that displays fast hands and great footwork. The 8th round selection out of the University of Washington, Graffanino has a decent hit tool, but virtually no power. His defense and baseball acumen are what will get him to Atlanta.
9. Pitcher’s Spot
The bench is crucial to a successful roster. You need to have guys who are capable pinch hitters, some power, a backup catcher, and a utility man. This prospect bench covers all the basics.
Alex Jackson (AAA, C)- Jackson is the next catcher up for Atlanta, but the second-best prospect at catcher behind Contreras. A former first-round pick by Seattle in 2014, Jackson has improved immensely behind the plate, does a good job receiving baseballs and calling the game. He would also serve as a power bat off the bench if absolutely necessary.
Drew Lugbauer (High A, 1B)- The 11th-round pick out of Michigan in 2017, Lugbauer has shown to have pop in his bat. He does not hit for average but has 25 home runs over two seasons. Lugbauer has room to improve, but the potential is there.
Ray-Patrick Didder (UTIL)- Every roster needs to have a utility man, and Didder is that person. The 24-year-old native of Aruba has played every infield position minus first base and has logged innings in the outfield as well. Didder can start in a middle infield role but may not have the prospect ceiling of Graffanino or Delgado.
Izzy Wilson (OF)- The 21-year-old outfielder is a member of the Braves Top-30 Prospects list for 2019. Izzy is another player with a large prospect ceiling and can fill in for a starter without losing much production potential.