In 2017, the Braves finished with 90 losses, their third straight season with at least that many defeats. They’ve won two straight NL East titles since, with 90 or more wins in 2018 and '19. and there is no question that their strong farm system has been key to the
In 2017, the Braves finished with 90 losses, their third straight season with at least that many defeats. They’ve won two straight NL East titles since, with 90 or more wins in 2018 and '19. and there is no question that their strong farm system has been key to the turnaround.
A strong case can be made that the Braves have had the strongest farm system in baseball over the past five years. Atlanta ranked No. 1 in MLB Pipeline’s farm system rankings before the start of the 2017 season and is one of only two teams that has been in the top 10 in nine of the past 10 rankings over the past five years (one preseason, one midseason each year). The Dodgers have been on all 10 lists, but they've only ranked No. 1 or 2 twice, while the Braves have done so five times.
While some prospects have been used in trades to add big league pieces for playoff pushes and weakened the system somewhat, it still has provided a core of key contributors, from Ronald Acuña Jr. to Ozzie Albies and Mike Soroka. And the good news for Braves fans is there’s a lot more where that came from, with five players currently still in the Top 100. There’s a ton of talent amassing at the upper levels, with a number of the team’s top prospects poised to contribute to another playoff-caliber team in 2020.
|AL East ||BAL, BOS, NYY, TB, TOR |
|NL East ||ATL, MIA, NYM, PHI, WSH |
|AL Central ||CLE, CWS, DET, KC, MIN |
|NL Central ||CHC, CIN, MIL, PIT, STL |
|AL West ||HOU, LAA, OAK, SEA, TEX |
|NL West ||ARI, COL, LAD, SD, SF |
|Division ||Team |
TOP 5 PROSPECTS
1) Cristian Pache, OF (No. 11 on Top 100)
2) Drew Waters, OF (No. 23)
3) Ian Anderson, RHP (No. 31)
4) Kyle Wright, RHP (No. 35)
5) Shea Langeliers, C (No. 63)
Complete Top 30 list »
HITTING & PITCHING PROSPECTS OF THE YEAR
Drew Waters, OF (No. 3): Waters has increased his yearly batting average in each of his three seasons playing professional baseball, from .278 in 2017 to .293 in 2018 to .309 in 2019. This year, he played 134 games across Double-A and Triple-A, hitting 40 doubles.
Ian Anderson, RHP (No. 2): Anderson, the third overall pick in the 2016 Draft, had a strong season at Double-A Mississippi before making five starts at the Triple-A level and struggling a bit. In Double-A, Anderson threw 111 innings in 21 starts, posting a 2.68 ERA and 11.9 strikeouts per nine innings. More »
Trey Harris, OF (No. 18): Harris has gone from a little-known 32nd-round senior sign in the 2018 Draft to a guy in the middle of the Top 30 who hit a combined .323/.389/.498 while reaching Double-A in his first full season and then continuing to hit in the Arizona Fall League.
Alex Jackson, C (No. 25): The Braves still love his power and he’s improved behind the plate, but his 34.2 percent strikeout rate in Triple-A in 2019 was a career high and his walk rate dipped to 5.8 percent.
Draft: Shea Langeliers, C, 1st round (No. 5 on Braves Top 30); Braden Shewmake, SS, 1st round (No. 9); Beau Phillip, SS, 2nd round (No. 27); Kasey Kalich, RHP, 4th round (No. 29); Tyler Owens, RHP, 13th round (No. 22). Complete Draft list »
The Braves were buyers at the deadline, sending prospects (Joey Wentz, Travis Demeritte, Tristan Beck) away rather than acquiring them. Still in the penalty phase from international signing infractions, they didn’t sign an international amateur free agent for more than $10,000. In other words, it was all about the Draft, and five members of the Braves’ 2019 class made the Top 30 list, led by No. 9 overall pick Shea Langeliers.
2020 IMPACT PROSPECT
Cristian Pache, OF: Eight of the Braves’ top 10 prospects are at the upper levels and could easily contribute to the big league roster in 2020. But Pache, the team’s top prospect, will be on the 40-man roster, and even with the veterans in place in Atlanta, Pache could play his way into making a Ronald Acuña-like ascent to the big leagues next year.
Hit: Cristian Pache
Power: Bryce Ball
Run: Justin Dean
Arm: Shea Langeliers
Field: Cristian Pache
Best athlete: Cristian Pache
Fastball: Kyle Muller
Curveball: Tucker Davidson
Slider: Jeremy Walker
Changeup: Ian Anderson
Control: Bryse Wilson
HOW THE TOP 30 WAS BUILT
In this Draft-heavy Top 30, eight of the 22 came from the 2018 Draft, with five having been taken in 2019. There were four taken from the 2016 and 2017 Drafts apiece.
TOP 30 BY POSITION
If the Braves need infield help, they might have to look outside the organization rather than promoting from within. There are only five infielders on their Top 30 list, which is fewer than all but two MLB teams. And only one of those five -- 2019 first-round pick Braden Shewmake -- ranks among the team's top 10, making Atlanta one of only two organizations with just one infielder among its top 10 prospects. On the other hand, the Braves' boast the highest-ranked pair of outfield prospects in baseball, in Cristian Pache (No. 11) and Drew Waters (No. 23), and they're one of only two teams with two right-handed-pitching prospects -- Ian Anderson and Kyle Wright -- among MLB's top 35 prospects overall.
Jonathan Mayo is a reporter for MLBPipeline.com. Follow him on Twitter @JonathanMayo and Facebook, and listen to him on the weekly Pipeline Podcast.