With the release of MLB Pipeline’s latest Braves Top 30 Prospects list, here is a look at how each of the members have fared thus far in Spring Training.
1) Cristian Pache, OF (MLB’s No. 12 prospect)
Pache’s MLB experience primarily consists of him being forced into an everyday role during last year’s National League Championship Series. But as he homered and robbed a homer under those bright lights, he showed why he is one of the game’s top prospects. He hasn’t gotten going at the plate this spring, but the future Gold Glove Award contender remains in position to possibly begin the year as Atlanta’s center fielder.
2) Ian Anderson, RHP (MLB’s No. 18 prospect)
Anderson’s eligibility as a top prospect will soon expire, but he has the potential to spend a few more years being recognized as one of the game’s top young pitchers. He impressed over his first six career starts last year and then worked 17 2/3 innings in October before allowing the first postseason run of his career. Anderson is rooming again this spring with Mike Soroka. Once Soroka returns from right Achilles surgery, these two right-handers could become one of the game’s top duos for many years to come.
3) Drew Waters, OF (MLB’s No. 35 prospect)
This will be a big season for Waters, who will look to prove he, too, could be ready for the Majors. If he starts to show a little more power and consistency from the right side of the plate, he could put himself in position to be the favorite to begin the 2021 season as Atlanta’s left fielder. Unfortunately, an oblique strain limited him to five plate appearances before he was sent to Minor League camp this year.
4) Shea Langeliers, C (MLB’s No. 73 prospect)
Braves manager Brian Snitker has said teams won’t run on Langeliers after seeing him throw. The kid has one of the game’s strongest arms. But until he plays a full professional season, it’s hard to project what he might do offensively. So, there’s still reason to wonder if William Contreras might end up the organization’s best catching prospect.
5) Braden Shewmake, INF
Shewmake is one of the more intriguing players in the organization. He was viewed by some as a reach when the Braves took him 21st overall in the 2019 Draft. But he appears to be more than a utility player. He grades well offensively, and his glove is strong enough to think he might be capable of being an everyday shortstop.
6) Kyle Muller, LHP
Eventually, the Braves will need to determine whether Muller will be best utilized as a starter or reliever. But before that decision is made, the left-hander is going to have to prove he can consistently find the strike zone.
“With that stuff, if he gets it over and can locate, that’s a rough ride,” Snitker said. “It’s just explosive with all his pitches. It’s just throwing enough strikes. You don’t have to be perfect when you have stuff like that. But you’ve got to get it in the area code every now and then.”
7) William Contreras, C
Contreras made significant offensive strides from the time the game was shut down in March last year until Summer Camp began. If he continues to impress with the bat when given a chance to play every day at the Minor League level, he could soon find himself competing against his brother Willson, who has established himself as the Cubs’ All-Star catcher. Langeliers has an incredible arm, but if he doesn’t hit, Contreras could become Atlanta’s catcher of the future.
8) Jared Shuster, LHP
Shuster was the Braves’ first round pick last year. The Wake Forest southpaw wasn’t invited to big league camp this year.
9) Tucker Davidson, LHP
Davidson can be described as a max-effort pitcher who is still in the developmental stages. His long-term future as a starter or reliever might be better realized as this year unfolds.
10) Jasseel De La Cruz, RHP
You can never have enough big arms, and De La Cruz is a pitcher who will continue to draw attention with his velocity.
11) Michael Harris, OF
Harris has the potential to make a quick rise up the prospect lists this year. The 20-year-old outfielder impressed at the alternate training site last year and over the past few weeks in big league camp. But he has played just 53 games above high school. He has the potential to be special, but exactly what the Braves have in this prospect won’t be known before he plays his first full season at the professional level.