When an organization decides to commit to restocking its farm system, the hope is to funnel players up to the big leagues, provide pieces for potential trades if the team is competing for the playoffs, and build a system so deep that a backlog of talent occurs at the upper levels of the system.
As the Braves approach the 2020 season, they can check off all of those boxes. After three straight losing seasons from 2015-17, the Braves have won more than 90 games, and two National League East titles, over the past two seasons. They have had core pieces from the farm system that not only have been instrumental, but have the chance to be impact players for a long time because of their youth. Atlanta has produced the 2018 Rookie of the Year Ronald Acuña Jr. and the '19 runner up, Mike Soroka. And while the system isn’t quite as robust as it was due to some of those graduations, that backlog at the upper levels means the Braves' front office will have the ability to call people up when there’s a need, or use pieces to make trades, something it has done very successfully in the last two playoff runs.
Four of the Braves’ top five prospects have the chance to knock on, and kick in, the big league door this season, if there’s a need. The outfield duo of Cristian Pache and Drew Waters is as exciting an offensive prospect combination as there is in baseball, and the dream of seeing the two of them and Acuña roaming the outfield is nearly a reality.
Here are the players whose ranks changed the most from the 2019 preseason list to the 2020 preseason list:
Jump: Trey Harris (2019: NR | 2020: 16) -- All this 32nd-round senior sign afterthought did was hit his way to Double-A in his first full season, finishing with a .323/.289/498 line before continuing to rake in the Arizona Fall League.
Fall: Trey Riley (2019: 20 | 2020: 29) -- The Braves liked his arm strength out of the JUCO ranks in the 2018 Draft, but he struggled to throw strikes and miss bats during his first full season.
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 -- Pache (Drew Waters, Braden Shewmake, C.J. Alexander)
Power: 60 -- Bryce Ball
Run: 70 -- Pache
Arm: 70 -- Pache
Defense: 70 -- Pache
Fastball: 65 -- Daysbel Hernandez
Curveball: 60 -- Phillip Pfeifer
Slider: 60 -- Thomas Burrows
Changeup: 55 -- Anderson (Wright)
Control: 50 -- Bryse Wilson (Anderson, Wright, Tucker Davidson, Jeremy Walker)
How they were built
Draft: 22 | International: 4 | Trade: 4
Breakdown by ETA
2020: 14 | 2021: 7 | 2022: 6 | 2023: 3
Breakdown by position
C: 4 | 1B: 1 | 3B: 1 | SS: 3 | OF: 5 | RHP: 12 | LHP: 4