I think the Braves are buyers leading up to the trade deadline, even though they are still five games back. They need a lot of help, but thankfully, the Braves should be getting Travis d’Arnaud and Huascar Ynoa back in August, so some help will be on the way even without a trade. Ian Anderson is also nearing a return. Personally, I could see Ynoa or Muller moving to a bullpen role when the rotation starts to get healthy. I’m in favor of that; even if these guys are long-term starters, let them get some innings under their belts and pitch the best 13 guys. If you missed part one of this series featuring pitching prospects, click the link below.
C William Contreras (AAA)
I don’t see the Braves wanting to move Contreras; he has been on a tear in AAA since being demoted — slashing .377/.441/.868/1.309 with five doubles and seven home runs in 14 games. He’s still part of Atlanta’s future, and with Travis d’Arnaud slated to hit free agency, I doubt the Braves want to be in the situation they are catcher-wise this year again in 2022.
C Shea Langeliers (AA)
Everything I just said about William Contreras above applies here; Langeliers is elite defensively and has a .845 OPS on the season, thanks in part to 17 home runs. Catchers who can lock down the run game and hit like that don’t grow on trees, and he’s undoubtedly going to be Atlanta’s backstop of the future.
OF Jesse Franklin V (A+)
Franklin has been ripping the cover off of the ball for Rome in 2021, showing the Braves why he was worthy of a third-round pick in 2020. Franklin has an OPS of .876, due in part to 14 doubles, two triples, and 17 home runs. He has also stolen 15 bases. Franklin could be an enticing trade chip, but I think the Braves will want to continue developing the former Michigan Wolverine.
5. OF Trey Harris (AA)
Harris hasn’t had as incredible a season at the plate as he did back in 2019, but he still has some gap to gap power and makes solid contact — he’s not a big strikeout guy. He’s a prospect that I could see getting moved in a low-risk, low-reward trade in a win-now move, perhaps for a controllable bullpen arm. Harris could be a solid left fielder or fourth outfielder in the bigs one day.
4. SS Braden Shewmake (AA)
After a dreadfully cold start at the plate, Shewmake has come alive as the weather heats up. He hit .099 in the month of May, but after notching a .772 OPS in June, Shewmake is tearing up the Southern League to the tune of a 1.014 OPS in July.
3. Drew Waters (AAA)
Even though he’s only 22, Waters has ascended to Gwinnett and is already making his mark. A true five-tool player, Waters is up to a .769 OPS with 16 doubles, 8 home runs, and 16 stolen bases. There are some concerns with the swing-and-miss in his game, but he’s still an elite prospect.
2. Cristian Pache (AAA)
2021 in Atlanta didn’t go as planned for Cristian Pache, as his time was marred with injuries and an inconsistent approach at the plate. However, he’s still Atlanta’s top prospect and one of the true elite defenders on this roster. He has amazing range, and if his bat ever comes around, he will be a true franchise center fielder. I think you can only move Pache (and Waters) for a superstar with control
1. Michael Harris (AA)
Recently, I deemed Michael Harris untouchable. While some may not agree with that opinion, I think he has superstar written all over him, and his timeline is a bit more appealing. Regardless, Harris can do it all; he is lightning quick, hits for power, and makes incredible plays in the field. I’m not willing to include him in any deals, but that doesn’t mean Anthopoulos won’t.