SportsTalkATL’s Braves 2023 Prospect Rankings: 10-6

Braden Shewmake

We’ve finally cracked the top ten!  With another strong showing in the draft and some international signings, the Braves can get right back into the middle of the pack of farm system rankings — especially if they continue to develop guys like Michael Harris and Vaughn Grissom at the rate they have been. Enough talking, let’s get to the rankings. Previous editions are listed below:

 

 

#10 RHP Adam Maier (ROK)

Maier was one of the big mysteries of the 2022 draft. Expected to return to the University of Oregon, the Braves gave Maier a bag in the 7th round to sign with Atlanta. While he doesn’t have many innings of work, he has a wicked slider, two-seamer, and changeup combo that creates a ton of weak contact. He may be a bit of a project, but he had some of the best stuff in the 2022 class. He’s recovering from surgery, so he’s a guy the Braves will have to wait and see on.

 

#9 Braden Shewmake (AAA)

Shewmake had a bit of a disappointing 2022 season, and I was tempted to slot him even lower in these rankings. He had a very poor start to 2021, and he wasn’t very impressive in 2022, only posting a .715 OPS in AAA. However, in his defense, the Braves aggressively promoted him from the start, and he has looked very solid defensively. I question his ability to be a starter at the next level, but 2023 will likely tell the story of his career. After a full season at AAA, he needs to start punching up and really dominating his competition before he’s seen as a top ten prospect again.

 

#8 RHP Royber Salinas (A+)

Don’t let Salinas’ 3.55 ERA fool you — he has some of the best pure stuff in the entire system. Salinas has a hard fastball and nasty slider — two pitches that have missed a ton of bats so far. While he has struggled with command, you can’t ignore 175 strikeouts in 109 innings. He’ll have to clean a few things up, but there’s loads of potential here.

 

#7 RHP Cole Phillips (ROK)

We haven’t seen Phillips yet, but the Braves gave this kid a huge bonus for a reason. Some scouts believe he could have been a top ten pick before he got hurt during his senior season of high school. The 6’3 righty is armed with an athletic delivery, 98 mph fastball, a hard slider, and a developing changeup. If the Braves can unlock this kid’s potential — they got an absolute steal in the third round.

 

#6 RHP AJ Smith-Shawver (A)

Smith-Shawver has some of the most upside in the system. He has an incredible pitch mix for a guy his age and was one of the two high schoolers signed by the Braves in the 2021 draft, but he’s more akin to the pitchers selected in the 2022 draft. He’ll need a lot of work, but his raw stuff and athletic ability could make him a problem on the mound. The Braves are extremely high on this kid, and so am I.

Photographer: David J. Griffin/Icon Sportswire

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