We haven’t seen any blockbuster trades so far this offseason. Really, we haven’t seen much of anything. However, the rumors should start to ramp up here as the season draws near, and you can bet the Braves will probably be involved on some players on the market. Alex Anthopoulos has yet to make a blockbuster deal since becoming GM of the Braves, and so far, it’s worked out just fine. Still, the Braves do have the necessary pieces to go after whoever they desire, and if the right move comes across, I would expect AA to pounce.
Keep in mind, this list is not the Braves best five prospects. I’m taking into consideration the talent of the players as well as the depth in Atlanta’s system. Some better players are much easier to part ways with when there is a logjam at a particular position.
5. Tucker Davidson/Jared Schuster
These guys are currently ranked 8th and 9th in the Braves system, according to MLB.com. They don’t have the arm that Kyle Muller does; however, they provide plenty of reasons for teams to be interested. Davidson made his MLB debut late last season after a 2019 campaign that saw him boom up prospect lists everywhere. Schuster hasn’t had a chance to pitch yet professionally, but he was Atlanta’s first-round selection in last year’s draft.
Michael Harris is undoubtedly the Braves most exciting prospect under the age of 20. The Dekalb, GA native was drafted in the third round of the 2019 Draft and quickly made noise, hitting .349 with a .917 OPS in 31 games. He performed so well that the Braves promoted him to Rome that season and even kept him around in 2020 at the alternate training site. He’s already ranked 12th in Atlanta’s system, and by the end of next season, I expect him to be firmly inside the top 10.
3. Kyle Muller
The Braves are still loaded with young starting pitching, and Kyle Muller is currently the highest-rated pitching prospect not named Ian Anderson. He still has control issues; however, his 6’7″ build and power arm from the left-side is the reason scouts are so excited. Muller was hitting triple-digits at the alternate site last season, and the Braves should be extremely excited to see him work in 2021. He may make his major league debut next season.
Of the four pitchers in the Braves top 10 prospects, three of them are left-handed starting pitchers. Muller appears to have the most upside of the bunch, so I would expect teams to attempt to pry him away in potential trade talks. However, it would take a lot for the Braves to pull the trigger.
Contreras came out of nowhere and contributed at the big-league level when the Braves were desperate. He seems to have turned a corner offensive, and the Braves are very excited for what the future holds for him. I wouldn’t be shocked if he ended up in the majors full-time next season. However, the Braves also spent a first-round selection in 2019 on Shea Langeliers. This could very easily be Atlanta’s one-two punch behind the plate of the future, but I would expect inquiring teams to be very interested in both of these guys in trade talks
1. Drew Waters
Yes, Drew Waters — the 2019 Southern League MVP — is Atlanta’s most tradeable prospect. Waters, a friend of the podcast by the way, is currently rated Atlanta’s second-best prospect in the organization, ahead of Ian Anderson, who was the Braves second-best pitcher at the end of last season. Waters is that talented, so it would have to be a blockbuster deal for Atlanta to move him, but because of all the depth the Braves have in their outfield, he is more expendable than some of the other prospects behind him.
Atlanta will make a move for another outfielder in free agency, whether it is Marcell Ozuna or someone else. Cristian Pache also appears to be major-league ready and will be a staple in Atlanta’s lineup for years to come. Because of that, the Braves could afford to move Waters if the price was right. It would take a king’s ransom, but he is most certainly Atlanta’s most attractive trade chip that could get dealt.