By this Wednesday, all organizations must lock in their 40-man rosters ahead of December’s Rule 5 Draft. Players that will be eligible for this year’s Rule 5 draft are high school prospects that were chosen in 2015 and college prospects that were selected in 2016.
The Braves had several top prospects that needed to be added to the 40-man, including the #1 prospect in their system, Cristian Pache. Without question, he was one of the players selected, along with left-handed pitcher Tucker Davidson, catcher William Contreras, right-hander Jasseel de la Cruz, and lefty Phil Pfeifer – the team announced today.
Just because these players had their contracts chosen and are now on the 40-man roster, does not mean they will be in Atlanta on opening day. There’s an extremely high chance none of them will be. The only ones with a smidgen of a chance are Pache, and he would have to show an enormous leap heading into 2020. Keep in mind, Pache only played in 26 games and had less than 100 at-bats in AAA. He will likely need at least another half-season in Gwinnett. Pfeifer is also a dark horse given his age and the value placed on left-handed relievers. He had a 2.97 ERA over three levels (A+, AA, AAA) in 2019.
Tucker Davidson is a reliable lefty starter that more Braves fans should start talking about. He was promoted from Mississippi at the same time as Pache and Anderson. But unlike Pache and Anderson, Davidson looked a lot more prepared in AAA – even though it was a small sample size.
William Contreras was viewed as the catcher of the future this time last year. But with the Braves taking Shea Langiliers in the first round and Contreras struggling at the plate in 2019, that tune has since changed. However, he remains a top ten prospect in the Braves’ system and is still on track to become a starting catcher.
The Braves have 38 of their 40 roster spots full as of now. One notable omission was a 25-year-old lefty, Thomas Burrows. He was a top 30 prospect in the Braves system, according to MLB.com, but had turned into nothing more than a relief arm and wasn’t eye-popping for Gwinnett last year. He will be eligible for the Rule 5 draft.