The Braves' farm system was just revealed to be the best in all of baseball, as ranked by MLBPipeline.com, and their top Minor Leaguer had an impressive showing in his return from a freakish elbow injury six months prior.Ozzie Albies, MLBPipeline's No. 10 prospect and Atlanta's No. 2 -- behind
The Braves' farm system was just revealed to be the best in all of baseball, as ranked by MLBPipeline.com, and their top Minor Leaguer had an impressive showing in his return from a freakish elbow injury six months prior.
Ozzie Albies, MLBPipeline's No. 10 prospect and Atlanta's No. 2 -- behind only Dansby Swanson, who is in line to be the big-league club's everyday shortstop -- went 1-for-2 with a run scored in the Braves' 8-7 loss to the Yankees on Thursday.
"It felt great," Albies said, smiling. "It felt great to be back."
Albies struggled in his Triple-A stint last year to the tune of a .248/.307/.351 slash line, but he has shown tremendous upside with his rocket rise through the ranks. Even with consecutive seasons cut short due to injury, depending on where infield personnel stands, Albies could crack the Majors at some point in 2017. And he's already established a chemistry with Swanson in what figures to develop into a longstanding double-play tandem in Atlanta.
More notable performances from top prospects on Thursday
• Lucas Giolito (White Sox No. 2, No. 11 overall) cruised through four innings in a 4-2 win over the D-backs. The right-hander gave up one earned run on three hits with a strikeout and one walk in what's been the longest of his three outings this spring.
Baseball's second-ranked pitching prospect, Giolito was acquired in Chicago's winter splash as part of the Adam Eaton trade with the Nationals.
• David Paulino (Astros' No. 3, No. 54 overall) tossed three scoreless innings, giving up two hits with two strikeouts in a 3-0 win over the Cardinals. Houston's No. 2 pitching prospect, who showed improved command and a developing changeup in '16, now has two scoreless outings in three appearances this spring.
• Mitch Haniger (Mariners' No. 4) went 2-for-4 with a double and a run scored in Seattle's 8-6 win over the Cubs. Haniger warranted a spot batting third, as he's hitting .400 with a 1.243 OPS in 25 at-bats this spring. Acquired as part of the Taijuan Walker and Ketel Marte trade with the D-backs, the outfielder is coming off a 2016 campaign in which he was Arizona's Minor League Player of the Year.
• Dillon Peters (Marlins' No. 5) tossed three hitless innings with a strikeout and a walk in a 2-2 tie with the Nationals. A 10th-round pick in '14 by the Marlins, Peters has a fastball that sits in the 92-94 mph range, and he was 14-6 with a 2.38 ERA for High-A Jupiter and Double-A Jacksonville last year.
• Opposite Peters was A.J. Cole (Nationals' No. 9), who tossed four hitless innings with a walk and two strikeouts -- by far the best of his three starts this spring.
• Much of the attention has rightfully been reserved to Giolito among White Sox pitching prospects this spring, but Zack Burdi (White Sox No. 7) has quietly been drawing attention with a spotless 0.00 ERA in 5 1/3 innings over five outings -- including a perfect frame on Thursday in which he struck out two.
• JaCoby Jones (Tigers' No. 9), who is seen by many as Detroit's long-term center fielder, belted a go-ahead homer -- his first this spring -- in the ninth inning on Thursday against the Mets, bringing his Spring Training slash line to .375/.412/.563 over 16 at-bats. However, the Mets came back to even the contest in the eventual 5-5 tie.
Jones got his first MLB experience last year when he was called up in August, and all indications show he will get the chance to become the big league club's everyday center fielder -- if he can prove his offensive worth.
• Austin Gomber (Cardinals' No. 14) tossed three hitless innings against the Astros in what was by far his best showing this spring. Over four outings of relief, Gomber has posted a 4.91 ERA and a 1.23 WHIP. With a 6-foot-5, 235-pound frame, the left-hander might not be far from making big-league contributions.
• Jose Osuna (Pirates' No. 29) may not be particularly high on Pittsburgh's totem pole of prospects, but the first baseman-outfielder is hitting an impressive 10-for-20 with four homers and eight RBIs and just three strikeouts this spring. He went yard for the second straight game on Thursday, adding two RBIs, two runs scored and a walk.
Daniel Kramer is a reporter for MLB.com based in Denver. Follow him on Twitter at @DKramer_.