The MLB Network concluded their Top 100 players of 2019 Thursday, and four Braves made the list – Freddie Freeman, Ronald Acuña, Josh Donaldson and Ozzie Albies.
Not shockingly, Freeman was the first Brave to appear coming in at #17 after being #14 the year before. But some players that jumped him – Mookie Betts, Jacob DeGrom, Francisco Lindor, Alex Bregman, and Christian Yelich – all had phenomenal 2018 seasons.
The NL Rookie of the Year, Ronald Acuña, followed Freeman at #35, finishing just before the NL Rookie of the Year runner-up, Juan Soto. He’s ranked ahead of some All-Stars like Mitch Haniger, J.T. Realmuto and George Springer as well, but I would be taken back if Acuña did not find a way to keep shooting up these rankings. He’s just that good.
Further down on the list comes the Braves lone blockbuster signing of the offseason, Josh Donaldson. Donaldson fell to #61 after being #9 a year ago. The 2015 AL MVP has long been one of the best players in baseball, but his injury concerns have begun to pile up. Hopefully, those worries peaked last year, and Donaldson can show the world he is still one of the most feared bats in baseball.
Rounding out the list, as far as the Braves are concerned, is Ozzie Albies. He is ranked #85 after making his first All-Star appearance. His bat cooled off in the season’s second half, but Albies remains a terrific defensive second baseman with rare pop for the position as well as one of the most exciting players to watch in the game.
If there is a snub on this list, it is Mike Foltynewicz. Folty broke out in 2018, going 13-10 with a 2.85 ERA and 9.9 K/9 rate. Those results were good enough to land him in his first All-Star game and start Game 1 of the NLDS for the Braves. He has undoubtedly become the Ace of the staff but does not yet have the resumé to crack the Top 100. To be fair to the list, some pretty impressive pitchers finished 98,99, and 100 – Jon Lester, Madison Bumgarner, and David Price.