MLB Pipeline has ranked the top 10 farm systems a total of nine times now, twice a year dating back to 2015. The Braves have been in that top 10 on eight of those occasions.
Five of the rankings saw the Braves in the top two and in 2019, they settle in with the No. 3 ranking. It's an amazing run, especially considering events that have transpired that would normally thin out a system.
On the negative side were the international signing violations that led Major League Baseball to make 12 prospects free agents. While that certainly impacted the overall depth in the Minors, the Braves were still No. 2 in our Top 10 a year ago.
On the positive side, the 2018 Braves were a whole lot better, a whole lot faster than anyone anticipated. The rebuilding process clicked in a hurry and the Braves returned to the postseason for the first time since 2013. They did so with a lot of talent cultivated from within, so some prospects graduated, led by National League Rookie of the Year Ronald Acuna Jr.
They've made trades, both at last July's deadline and this offseason, to improve the big league roster, but managed to do so without giving up any top prospects.
So here they are in the Top 10 again, with a lot of talent backlogging at the upper levels ready to help out in Atlanta or be used as trade bait. It's mostly arms, as it has been, with 19 pitchers on the Top 30, including the top three, five of the top seven and 10 out of the top 15.
All the focus on pitching gives short shrift to the position players on the list, and it should be noted there are two extremely talented outfielders in Cristian Pache and Drew Waters working to join Acuna in Atlanta, not to mention the No. 3 third baseman in the Minors (Austin Riley) and a young catcher (William Contreras) who easily could be a Top 100 prospect before the end of this season.
Here's a look at the Braves' top prospects:
- Mike Soroka, RHP
- Kyle Wright, RHP
- Ian Anderson, RHP
- Cristian Pache, OF
- Austin Riley, 3B
Here are the players whose ranks changed the most from the 2018 preseason list to the 2019 preseason list.
Jump: Drew Waters, OF (2018: 19 | 2019: 8) -- Toolsy high school outfielder had big first full season across two levels of A ball.
Fall: Alex Jackson, C (2018: 14 | 2019: 28) -- Former first-round pick has never hit as expected as best bat in '14 Draft class.
Players are graded on a 20-80 scouting scale for future tools -- 20-30 is well below average, 40 is below average, 50 is average, 60 is above average and 70-80 is well above average. Players in parentheses have the same grade.
Hit: 55 -- Cristian Pache (CJ Alexander)
Power: 60 -- Austin Riley
Run: 70 -- Cristian Pache
Arm: 70 -- Cristian Pache
Defense: 70 -- Cristian Pache
Fastball: 70 -- Chad Sobotka
Curveball: 65 - Touki Toussaint
Slider: 60 -- Thomas Burrows (Luiz Gohara, Trey Riley)
Changeup: 60 -- Tristan Beck
Control: 60 -- Mike Soroka
How they were built
Draft: 20 | International: 6 | Trade: 4
Breakdown by ETA
2019: 13 | 2020: 6 | 2021: 10 | 2022: 1
Breakdown by position
C: 2 | 1B: 0 | 2B: 0 | 3B: 2 | SS: 2 | OF: 5 | RHP: 14 | LHP: 5