The MLBPipeline Top 10 farm system rankings are out and the Braves, after ranking second in 2016, have claimed the top spot in 2017. The following is a transcript of a segment from this week's episode of their Pipeline podcast, in which they discuss what makes the Braves' system so
The MLBPipeline Top 10 farm system rankings are out and the Braves, after ranking second in 2016, have claimed the top spot in 2017. The following is a transcript of a segment from this week's episode of their Pipeline podcast, in which they discuss what makes the Braves' system so great and just how close the Yankees came to grabbing the title.
Tim McMaster: Jonathan [Mayo] is the one who ranks the 30 prospects for the Braves, so he gets to go first on this system. When it came down to it, when you have these top three, Jonathan -- White Sox, Yankees and Braves -- and I know you guys discuss it and debate who should be where, to you, what's the difference with this Braves system?
Jonathan Mayo: A lot of it has to do with what's at the top. They have seven guys in the Top 100. The Yankees have a good amount of Top 100 guys, too, but there's a good amount of some high-ceiling guys to really become impact players, really it's all over the place. More than anything, with the Braves, you're looking at the young pitching and what could happen there. It's a little bit of a risk. Back in the day, which is what they are trying to get back to, they were really, really good at developing high-level young pitching. And the amount of arms is tremendous. You've got guys in the Top 100 like Ian Anderson and Kolby Allard, but you look at guys not in the Top 100 like Max Fried and Touki Toussaint, if he takes another step forward. Fried, to me, is closer than Toussaint is, but then the list goes on and on and on.
You could go in any number of directions with what they've done. They've made a bunch of trades, they've drafted aggressively and even just this last Draft alone, where they were able to pick up Joey Wentz and Kyle Muller as well, along with Ian Anderson, three first-round high-school arm talents. Then the international work that they've done, and that's given them some high-end talent of guys that are coming. Kevin Maitan is the one that jumps out, but they have some other guys that are very exciting, some of whom could jump on the Top 100 as well this coming season.
McMaster: All right, Jim, here you go, I'm sure you've fought this throughout the debating process, putting the Braves at No. 1, but you've got to speak highly of them now.
Jim Callis: I did rank the Braves personally No. 1, it was unanimous. I will say it was extremely close. For me, I think the difference is the potential upside of all that young Braves pitching. You're not going to hit on all your pitchers, but if they hit on a good percentage of them, I think there's a little more upside than the Yankees had. That said, I can't talk about the Braves' farm system without angering their fans just a little bit by pointing out my standard line. While I do like a lot of their arms, I do like Kolby Allard, Max Fried looks like he's on his way back, that's two right there. The big thing, what will determine how good this system ultimately turns out to be, is what happens with these pitchers. They do not have a guy in their system right now, it could change this season, 2017, but they don't have a guy right now among all these pitching prospects who, A: throws a lot of strikes, B: has a clean medical record and C: has pitched above A ball. So there's a little bit of hesitation there, but I really do like the system.
It's interesting, as we talk about all these young pitchers, I don't have the list in front of me right now, but I think the top three guys are Dansby Swanson, a shortstop, Ozzie Albies can actually play shortstop, but is a second baseman and Kevin Maitan, who was actually signed as a shortstop, but is probably going to wind up at third. And I think one of the guys, Jonathan, I think you'd probably back me up on this, one of the guys that will probably come on the Top 100 pretty soon, who we keep hearing, it's almost like we heard more glowing reports after we left him off the Top 100, is Ronald Acuna, an outfielder, who is very interesting. So it's two very, very exciting systems. The Braves' system probably has a higher ceiling with all those pitchers, the Yankees' system may have a higher floor because of the risk with all those pitchers.
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