Only two Braves make ESPN’s top 100 prospect list

Braves farm system taking a hit

ESPN’s prospect guru Kiley McDaniel is one of the most well-respected men in the business, and he just released his list of the top 100 prospects in baseball. Unfortunately, Braves fans likely won’t be too pleased with it. Only two Braves made the list, while several others fell off it, making ESPN the latest outlet to severely downgrade Atlanta’s farm system. I still don’t think the system is that bad, but this is what happens when you win a World Series. I’m sure everybody would gladly trade highly ranked farm systems for the Commissioner’s Trophy.

38. Michael Harris

The Braves’ #1 prospect on our SportsTalkATL top prospect list was also the highest-ranked Brave on ESPN’s list. The toolsy Michael Harris came in at #38 after a splendid 2021 campaign in High-A Rome. He’ll make the transition to AA ball this year, and if he posts similar numbers in Mississippi, there’s a chance he will be a top ten prospect in all of baseball before next season.

81. Shea Langeliers

Coming in at #81 is Shea Langeliers, which is a bit low for my taste. A case could easily be made for him as the top prospect in the organization, and I wouldn’t be surprised if he made his MLB debut this season. An elite defensive catcher, Langeliers continues to flash a ton of pop in his bat, smashing 22 homers in just 92 games last season. It’s unlikely he’ll ever hit for a high average, but the power is enough to make him a plus at the position offensively, and he’s well-above-average defensively.

Both Cristian Pache and Drew Waters were consensus top 100 prospects a year ago but find themselves off of McDaniel’s list altogether following a rough 2021. I think that’s a bit harsh. You’ll still find many people who believe Pache is the best prospect in Atlanta’s system. The Athletic’s Keith Law just gave him the top spot the other day. Clearly, McDaniel was turned off by Pache’s abysmal performance in the majors last season, but one could point at Austin Riley‘s progression as a reason not to put too much weight into such a small sample size.

Waters’ issues are a bit more worrisome. His strikeout rate has been alarmingly high for a few years now, which is why some scouts have soured on him. He’ll need to cut down on those punchouts to succeed at the upper levels, but he’s still a young prospect that is oozing with talent. Like Pache, I’m not ready to put too much weight into one lackluster season at the plate.

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