How depleted is the Braves farm system following the Matt Olson trade?

Braves Drew Waters

It doesn’t matter where you looked, most prospect outlets ranked the Braves farm system in the bottom third coming into the season, and that was before the Matt Olson trade, which saw four highly-coveted prospects go to the A’s in return. So, you can imagine what those same prospect outlets think of the system now. It’s certainly barren, to a degree, but I would argue that it is better than many people are projecting because of how Alex Anthopoulos has drafted over the last couple of seasons.

In the near future, we will be updating our SportsTalkATL Prospect List, but in this piece, I wanted to group the Braves’ top prospects into tiers based on their potential.

Tier 1 — Potential Future All-Stars

Michael Harris

Unless you’ve been living under a rock, you’re well aware of who Michael Harris is, and if you don’t know, now you do. He’s a true five-tool prospect that has excelled in the lower levels of the minors and in Spring Training. This will be a huge year for him, as he takes the leap to AA and beyond, but I believe he’s ready and will thrive in 2022. Harris is the Braves prospect I’m most confident will eventually make an All-Star game.

Drew Waters

I almost didn’t put Drew Waters in this category, but I’m not going to let one bad year affect my judgment too much. His hit-tool is still top-notch, and while I don’t ever see him being a superstar, there could easily be an All-Star game in his future.

Vaughn Grissom

This might not be a name Braves fans are familiar with, but they should be. Grissom is a 6’3″ shortstop that packs a ton of punch in his bat. He thrived when he transitioned to Rome last season, which could lead to him following Harris to Mississippi to begin 2022 if they feel he’s ready.

Spencer Strider

We’ve actually already seen Strider in the majors, as he made a couple of relief appearances in the final series of last season. The biggest question with him is how do the Braves view him? Do they still believe he could be a starter? Because if so, his upside is much higher, but at the very least, Strider has future closer potential.

Jesse Franklin

Watch out for Jesse Franklin this season. He led all Braves minor-leaguers with 24 home runs last season for High-A Rome. I’m eager to see if that success continues in the upper levels of the minors.

Tier 2 — Potential Starting Caliber Players

Kyle Muller

I’m not someone who is in love with Muller as a prospect because I worry about his control. With that being said, if he can ever figure out how to put the ball where he wants it consistently, he will be a force to be reckoned with. If I had to guess, Muller pans out to be a solid relief arm in the future, but the potential is there for him to be a lot more.

Bryce Elder

Elder is another member of the 2020 MLB draft class that has thrived early on in his minor-league career. In his first professional season, he made it all the way to AAA last year, dominating at every level. There are questions about his upside, but he might be the safest bet of them all to carve out a lengthy MLB career for himself.

Tucker Davidson

We’ve already seen Davidson have success at the major-league level, and I wouldn’t be surprised if he started this season in Atlanta. He’s proven all that he can in the minors. The ceiling may not be as high as some of the Braves’ other prospects, but he’s as steady as they come.

Braden Shewmake

A 2019 first-round pick, Shewmake really struggled last season. If he produces similar results in 2022, he’ll find himself much lower on this list.

Freddy Tarnok

Tarnok is a wild card in this group, but he showed a lot of improvement last season. His velocity was up, and he found the strike zone more. I’m interested to see how the Braves handle him in 2022, but there’s undoubtedly some upside with him as a rotation piece.

Jared Shuster

We really haven’t seen a ton from Shuster since he was drafted in the first round of the 2020 draft, but he has the potential to develop into a middle-of-the-rotation arm.

Indigo Diaz

The Braves bullpen is loaded going into 2022, but Diaz was dominant across two levels in 2021. I doubt the Braves will need him this season, but eventually, he could be a significant piece to the ‘pen in the future.

Tier 3 — Others To Watch

Darius Vines

Victor Vodnik

William Woods

Ambioris Tavarez

Luke Waddell

AJ Smith-Shawver

Spencer Schwellenbach

Brooks Wilson

Alan Rangel

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