Who is the Braves top prospect? Keith Law has his answer

Spencer Schwellenbach Braves hat Ray Kerr

In recent years, blockbuster trades and talented prospects graduating have decimated the Braves farm system. Matt Olson, Sean Murphy, and Joe Jimenez required more than a handful of the club’s top prospects, while Michael Harris II and Spencer Strider turned into two of the best rookie campaigns we have ever seen. So, where does that leave the Braves farm system?

Who is the Braves top prospect?

Keith Law has the Braves as the 29th-ranked farm system in his annual rankings for The Athletic. That’s the consensus across the board too. For the first time ever, the Braves don’t have a prospect ranked in Baseball America’s Top 100. That’s just the nature of going ‘all-in’ for the World Series. It could be a long time before we see a prospect contribute at the major league level, but Jared Shuster, Law’s No.1 prospect in Atlanta’s system, is one to potentially get excited about:

Atlanta’s first-round pick in the 2020 draft out of Wake Forest, Shuster projects as a good fourth starter at his peak thanks to a plus changeup and plus control. He’ll sit 90-93 mph and works well off the two pitches, but his slider is fringy and short, so he had a large reverse platoon split in 2022, giving up 10 of his 18 homers allowed to lefties even though he faced them for just 31 percent of his total plate appearances.

Shuster wouldn’t be the top prospect in any other club’s farm system. Given trades, graduations, and Atlanta’s absence from the international market, this is the Braves’ reality. Shuster was a 2020 first-rounder and could potentially make some noise sooner or later. After him, JR Ritchie is a pitcher that could easily land in the Top 100 rankings next year. Here’s what Jake had to say about Ritchie:

Ritchie had an impressive debut for the Braves, climbing up to Low-A Augusta before their season finished. There’s a reason the Braves were so high on this high school talent; Ritchie dominated his competition at the prep level. That’s mostly thanks to his hard fastball. Ritchie has a very developed changeup and slider for his age, which is probably why he posted a 0.30 ERA with 84 strikeouts in 39.1 high school innings. So far, Ritchie has a 1.88 ERA over 14.1 innings. He looks to move through the system quickly, especially if he starts off 2023 strong in Augusta, or possibly even Rome.

Owen Murphy is another pitcher that could turn some heads. He was the first player selected in the 2022 draft and was solid. Atlanta has prioritized a lot of these high school arms in the draft to help refill the lower levels of the minors. Now, the Braves are dipping into the international market to bolster that barren farm system. Thankfully, the core of the major league squad is locked up for years to come, so these prospects won’t be relied upon for a while.

Photographer: Larry Radloff/Icon Sportswire

Scroll to Top
%d bloggers like this: