The Braves’ prospect rankings haven’t been great recently because they have lost a LOT of talent in their farm system; that’s just a natural result of being a successful team. Players like Vaughn Grissom and Michael Harris II that could normally keep a system like this afloat, have contributed in Atlanta, but I’m not complaining. Baseball America, Fangraphs, and MLB.com have different rankings, and I think each one is good for various purposes.
Typically, I align more with Baseball America, but this will be my ranking of the Top 40 guys in Atlanta’s system. It won’t be pretty, especially towards the bottom, but I’m a big fan of Atlanta’s 2022 draft class. With another strong showing in the draft and some international signings, the Braves can get right back into the middle of the pack — especially if they continue to develop guys like Harris and Grissom at the rate they have been. Enough talking; let’s get to the rankings. Be on the lookout for Braves prospect rankings 30-26 coming soon!
40. RHP Alan Rangel (AA)
Rangel is a solid strike-thrower that has been with the Braves for a while, but he has been getting roughed up in AA. At 25 years old, 2023 will be a make-or-break season for him. He’s barely a prospect at this point.
39. C Tyler Tolve (A+)
The Kennesaw State product has had a hot start to his career with the bat, posting an .808 OPS in 2022, following up his seven extra-base hits in 24 games in 2021. He can hit, but there are questions if he will remain behind the plate; baserunners in Rome have been stealing on him almost at will.
38. 1B Mahki Backstrom (A)
If you’ve followed these rankings, you’ve known I’ve always had a soft spot for Backstrom, and he’s still a young player with a lot of power in his bat. A .769 OPS for a player who strikes out at a 38.3% rate and has a .205 batting average shows the type of raw power he possesses. He’s still only 20 years old, but 2023 also feels like a make-or-break year for Backstrom.
37. C Javier Valdes (AA)
Valdes is a 2019 draft choice, and although he’s a tad old for AA (he turns 24 in November), he had a fantastic season in Mississippi. He’s on a solid trajectory, and the Braves have a lack of depth at the catcher position. Defensively, he’s not much of a threat. However, if he can repeat his AA performance offensively in 2023 (.826 OPS, 13 homers), he could earn a trip to Gwinnett.
36. RHP Tanner Gordon (AA)
Gordon dominated Rome hitters to the tune of a 1.59 ERA in 2022, but he got roughed up when arriving in AA Mississippi. He doesn’t issue a ton of walks, but he doesn’t miss a lot of bats, either. Another member of the 2019 draft class that could have a prove-it season in 2023 at 25 years old.
35. 1B Drew Lugbauer (AA)
Slugbauer has been with the Braves for a while, but he’s a guy who’s starting to look like he’s maxed out potential-wise. He’s still not a bad player; 28 home runs and a .771 OPS in AA is solid enough to possibly get you a cup of coffee in the majors. Drew really needs a big 2023 season to make a push for AAA.
34. LHP Adam Shoemaker (A)
Shoemaker was a 2021 11th-round draft pick, one of the only two high school players selected by the Braves in that draft. He has a lot of potential but has been roughed up in his first full pro season. He’s a work in process; the upside is there for the 6’6 lefty.
33. RHP Nolan Kingham (AAA)
Kingham has been around Atlanta since 2018, and for the most part, he has been the same guy for his whole minor league career, hovering around a 4.00 ERA. He doesn’t have anything that pops, but he has provided steady innings and could potentially eat some innings in Atlanta one day in an emergency.
32. OF Douglas Glod (ROK)
Glod is an International Free Agent signing, and we don’t know much about the 17-year-old just yet. He has had a slow-ish start at the plate, but he’s taking walks and getting a few extra-base hits — something you want to see out of a young player with high upside.
31. RHP William Woods (AAA)
Woods is another guy who has battled injuries, but we saw him throw two scoreless innings in Atlanta in 2022. He has only tossed 22.2 innings in 2022 after only throwing 10.2 innings in 2021. If he stays healthy, he can contribute in Atlanta as a bullpen arm.
Thanks for reading SportsTalkATL’s Braves prospect rankings, be sure to look out for the next parts of this series.
Photographer: Larry Radloff/Icon Sportswire