Given all the moves the Braves made at the trade deadline and their recent graduations, this is far from shocking, but they did take quite the tumble in Baseball America’s latest farm system rankings.
Prior to the season, the Braves came in as the #5 ranked system; now, they sit barely inside the top-half at #14. The biggest reason for this fall is graduations, which were inevitably going to happen.
Ian Anderson, who began the season as the Braves 2nd ranked prospect, is now a full-time major-leaguer. The only time he will be seen in the minors again is if he is rehabbing. He looks to be one of the aces of the Braves rotation for years to come, just as many people expected of him when he was a prospect.
Huascar Ynoa and William Contreras also graduated from prospect-status. Ynoa makes sense; like Anderson, he should be in the majors for the rest of his career. However, I still consider Contreras a prospect. He’s had a lot of major-league experience because injuries have forced him into action, but he hasn’t even completed two months of AAA-ball, where he currently resides. So technically, he may have graduated prospect-status, but for all intents and purposes, he’s still a prospect.
The Braves also lost five more top-30 guys prior to the trade deadline. Bryce Ball was traded for Joc Pederson; Ricky DeVito and Bryse Wilson were traded for Richard Rodriguez; Jorge Soler was traded for Kasey Kalich, and Alex Jackson was traded for Adam Duvall. Outside of Bryse Wilson, none of those guys were considered top prospects, but losing them does thin out the depth of the system considerably. Still, I think we can all agree Alex Anthopoulos did the right thing by pulling the trigger on those trades at the deadline.
Overall, this isn’t something to be worried about. This is how prospect rankings work. The best teams in the league rarely have elite farm systems. The Braves have been one of the few organizations over the last few years to win division titles while also maintaining a top-five system; however, it was always bound to eventually thin out as the best prospects graduated, especially considering the international sanctions the Braves faced for years.