Yesterday, I went through the Braves’ five most valuable trade chips, but I excluded a few guys that I view as untradeable. Of course, nobody is off the table for the right player, but I would be shocked if any of the prospects on this list were not members of the Braves organization next season.
Who knows what Bryce Elder ends up becoming, and down the road, perhaps he will be traded. However, I have a hard time imagining the Braves dealing him after the way he performed in his first professional season. Elder was spectacular in High-A Rome, quickly earning a promotion to Mississippi, where he was equally as effective. And after nine starts in AA, he was promoted to AAA in just one season. On top of that, he was lights out in Gwinnett too. With the Stripers, Elder posted a 2.45 ERA and 1.036 WHIP with 9.8 strikeouts per nine in seven starts. Coming out of college, the belief was that Elder could one day be a solid 3, 4, or 5 in the rotation, but it’s safe to say he’s well ahead of schedule.
Strider was taken in the same draft class as Elder, and though his run prevention might not be as impressive, the rest of his stats and his stuff are. Strider put up absolutely absurd numbers in A-ball, posting a 0.59 ERA and 18.8 strikeouts per nine before his promotion to Rome, where he posted a 2.45 ERA and 14.7 strikeouts per nine. Mississippi is where he finally hit a bump in the road, but that didn’t stop the Braves from promoting him to Gwinnett for one bullpen appearance before bringing him to the show. I firmly believe the Braves were considering him for a spot on the playoff roster, but they ultimately decided against it. I can’t imagine Strider going anywhere, and it won’t be long before he’s in Atlanta.
I had both Cristian Pache and Drew Waters on the list of the Braves’ most valuable trade chips. They may be ranked ahead of Harris on prospect lists, but the upside and intrigue of Harris is too great for the Braves to trade him now. He’s a true five-tool athlete that hit .294 with 36 extra-base hits and 27 steals in just 103 games for High-A Rome this past season. The hype around this young man is palpable, and I wouldn’t be surprised at all if he ended next season in AAA. By 2023, I expect him to be the Braves’ top prospect in the system.
In my mind, there’s no question about who the Braves’ most untouchable prospect is at this point. Michael Harris may have more upside, but the positional value of Langeliers combined with the lack of quality catcher depth that the Braves have in the farm system make him a virtual lock to stay in Atlanta. He will be the backstop of the future, and it wouldn’t surprise me if he made his major-league debut next season. Fresh off winning the organization’s Minor League Player of the Year award, Langeliers looks to continue to impress with his bat after smacking 22 homers with Mississippi in just 92 games. However, that’s far from the best aspect of his game. Langeliers is a wizard behind the plate in all facets defensively. I can’t wait to see this young man in Atlanta.