How angry would Braves fans be if I spent the entire opening to their personal prospect spank bank eulogizing Roy Halladay? I won’t do that, though I did think about just writing 1,000+ words about how much I loved Doc. Then again, perhaps a Doc Halladay eulogy, might be easier to swallow for Atlanta fans, than more talk of John Coppolella. That being said, I have no idea if they will lose Kevin Maitan, my guess is no. More on Maitan and disappearing value in a few. The best way to sum up the Braves farm is to say. “This system is deep AF!” That was the most millennial description of the Braves system possible. It’s true, I went 15 deep into the Diamondbacks system, I’m going 25 deep today! I hope the phallic undertones aren’t lost on you. Because make no mistake, the Braves are the biggest swinging johnson in the room. Their 10-20 is better than most team’s top tens. So whatever black magic, underhanded dirty shizz Coppolella was doing. It was working. This team has outsigned, outdrafted, and outtraded all comers. That includes you Yankees and White Sox! I’m talking the last two years of course. Any later than that is a different era. For you Prospect hounds this system has it all, future MLB arms of all types, a through the roof prospect superstar in Ronald Acuna, power bats, speedsters, glove first catchers, bat first catchers, relief arms, and Methodists!

 

1) Ronald Acuna, OF Braves | Level: AAA | Age: 19 | 2017 Stats: .325/.374/.522, 21 HR, 82 RBI, 44 Steals

You’ve probably heard all you could hear about Acuna. Grey wrote about him, I ranked him as the top prospect in baseball, and he’s currently killing the Arizona Fall League. The only knocks I’ve heard are he’s cocky, and that he looked tired in the Fall Stars game (Really? GTFO). He brings true 30/30 upside to the table with flashy defense and play. Will be short to the majors, could be up in April. As good as a prospect as anyone I’ve covered in the last three seasons. ETA: 2018

2) Kolby Allard, LHP Braves | Level: AAA | Age: 20 | 2017 Stats: 8-11, 150 IP, 3.18 ERA, 1.27 WHIP, 129 K, 45 Bb

I love the curveball okay! This is certainly a rank that will get some debate, but I’ve been encouraged by Allard’s performance following an aggressive assignment, and his ability to eat innings following injury concerns as an amateur. The fastball doesn’t have the velocity associated with high end prospect talents, and I understand that’s a concern. He does spot it well, and it has solid movement, he’s still only 20, so adding a few ticks to get to average MLB velocity is possible. ETA: 2019

3) Luiz Gohara, LHP Braves | Level: AAA | Age: 21 | 2017 Stats: 7-4, 123.2 IP, 2.62 ERA, 1.21 WHIP, 147 K, 44 Bb

The big lefty acquired from the Mariners for Mallex Smith and Shae Simmons, just another example of Jerry DiPoto making great trades. Never should have complemented that guy. He mixes an high-90’s fastball, with a nasty slider, as well as a solid changeup. He made his major league debut this year, and was far better than his numbers indicate. ETA: 2018

4) Mike Soroka, RHP Braves | Level: AA | Age: 20 | 2017 Stats: 11-8, 154 IP, 2.75 ERA, 1.09 WHIP, 125 K, 34 Bb

The classic unexciting, but polished pitching prospect, Soroka often gets overlooked for some of the flashier arms in the Braves system, but he might be the best pitcher. Clean mechanics, excellent command, control, and feel Soroka has it all. He features a low 90’s fastball, plus slider, above average changeup, and average curveball. Soroka mixes speeds very well, and keeps hitters off balance by working the entire zone with all of his offerings. Ready made number three starter at 20. The question is how high is the upside? ETA: 2019

5) Ian Anderson, RHP Braves | Level: A | Age: 19 | 2017 Stats: 4-5, 83 IP, 3.14 ERA, 1.35 WHIP, 101 K, 43 Bb

The “Aqualung” continued to prove that his selection as the third overall player in the 2016 draft was no bonus slot trickery, but a deserving selection. I his first full year of pro-ball Anderson made 20 starts in the Sally League, mostly coming prior to July, where the Braves slowed down his workload considerably. Not because he was wearing down, but because he was a cold weather pitching arm in his first full pro season. Anderson brings a three pitch mix highlighted by plus offerings in his mid-90’s four seam and a sharp breaking curveball. His changeup is a work in progress, but has received average grades from those that scouted the Sally this season. ETA: 2020

6) Kyle Wright, RHP Braves | Level: A+ | Age: 22 | 2017 Stats: 0-1, 17 IP, 2.65 ERA, 1.00 WHIP, 18 K, 6 Bb

Didn’t pitch a ton after a long college season, but many thought Wright was the best college player in the draft. He has a plus fastball that sits 92-95, touching 97 when he needs it. His secondaries are led by his plus curveball with nice two plane movement, and an average slider. He should move quick, but in a stocked Braves system just how quickly he ascends is hard to peg. Looks like a sure fire number three with the upside of a number 2 starter. ETA: 2019

7) Austin Riley, 3B Braves | 2017 Level: AA | Age: 20 | 2017 Stats: .275/.339/.446 20 HR, 74 RBI, 2 SB

Riley has bounced on and off of my top 100 lists, ranking 95th in my most recent top 100. I’m not sure if Riley is a Razzball reader because there was a fire under his booty in the second half. Upon promotion to AA Mississippi in mid-July the former 1st round supplemental pick hit .315/.389/.511 with 8 homers in just 48 games. Riley has reached the 20 homer mark in each of first two full professional seasons, and the Braves seem focused on keeping him at 3rd. He showed improved plate discipline from 2016, cutting down his strikeout rate from A ball, while walking at a near 10% clip in AA. Riley is still probably a year away, but looks like he could be a decent source of power. Statistically the best hitter in the Arizona Fall League at the time of writing this.ETA: 2019

8) Alex Jackson, C Braves | Level: AA | Age: 21 | 2017 Stats: .267/.328/.480 19 HR, 65 RBI, 0 SB

Reborn in the Braves organization as a power hitting catcher. Jackson found his old swagger that pushed him to the top of the 2014 draft class. He set career highs in slugging, homers, and just about every other statistical category, and managed to look solid if unspectacular in a second half callup to AA. Jackson brings elite power to the table and little else. He’s never going to be a high average play, and he struggles against righthanders. So there’s obvious red flags here. Still, the 30+ homer ceiling is enough to outweigh the power hitting platoon vs lefties floor. Tied for the home run lead in the Arizona Fall League with teammates Austin Riley and Ronald Acuna. ETA: 2019

9) Cristian Pache, OF | Level: A | Age: 19 | 2017 Stats: .281/.335/.343, 0 HR, 42 RBI, 32 SB

A toolsy speedster with out of this world centerfield defense. I picture him as an Ender Incarte seed in their farm system. Around the time Incarte is ready to head out to pasture, Pache will be ready for an everyday job in the big leagues. He’s a long way away at 18 (soon to be 19) in full season ball. There’s no power there now, but scouts project based on his body type, that he could find double digit homer power by the time he’s done baking. He has plus plus speed, and solid bat to ball skills. If he takes a step forward and starts to dive the ball in the air his prospect stock could explode. ETA: 2021

10) Joey Wentz, LHP | Level: A | Age: 20 | 2017 Stats: 8-3, 131.2 IP, 2.60 ERA, 1.10 WHIP, 152 Ks, 46 Bb

There’s been a ton of debate regarding the lefty, and whether he was as good as his statline says. It’s not too often that supplemental picks with the pedigree of Wentz win Pitcher of the Year for their respective league, and still manage to get side-eye from scouts. Wentz’s fastball is really the sticking point for many, as the velocity isn’t great, (here’s that velo obsession skewing evaluations of young arms again) but he commands it well, and it has nice plane. His changeup grades out as his best pitch, getting the only plus grade in his arsenal. His breaking ball which got above average grades coming into the draft, now gets fringe tags. Many prefer Bryse Wilson, and Tucker Davidson to Wentz, I’m not comfortable going that far yet. ETA: 2020

11) Bryse Wilson, RHP | Level: A | Age: 19 | 2017 Stats: 10-7, 137 IP, 2.50 ERA, 1.04 WHIP, 139 Ks, 39 Bb

A 4th rounder in 2016, Wilson rode his plus sinking fastball to one of the bigger breakouts of 2017. His four-seamer sits 92-95 with sink, and commands it extremely well. His secondaries are far more raw, with a power 12-6 curve, and a fringe changeup. You’ll often see the term “Bulldog” associated with Wilson, as he’s a competitor through and through. Should be on your radar in any pitching-centric formats where 100-125 prospects are owned. ETA: 2020

12) Max Fried, LHP | Level: MLB | Age: 23 | 2017 Stats: 2-11, 92.2 IP, 5.54 ERA, 1.62 WHIP, 91 Ks, 45 Bb

Fried’s season was funny, he was god awful in AA, as the elder statesman in the Mississippi rotation. While younger teammates like Soroka, Allard, and Gohara excelled, Fried faltered. So it came as a surprise when the Braves promoted Fried directly to the big leagues. But here’s the funny thing, Fried was better in the bigs than he was in AA! He rode that momentum to a spot in the Arizona Fall League, where his plus plus curveball, and mid-90’s fastball have drawn rave reviews. Looks like he’s a strong favorite for a spot in the rotation out of spring training. It’s a lesson in patience to us dynasty owners, particularly with talented high pedigree types. ETA: 2018

13) Tucker Davidson, LHP | Level: A | Age: 21 | 2017 Stats: 5-4, 103.2 IP, 2.60 ERA, 1.22 WHIP, 101 Ks, 30 Bb

Was moved out of the bullpen and into the rotation in June, he continued to show above average velocity on the fastball, and an improving curveball. Some still peg him for a relief role, while others are enamored, particularly J.J. Cooper of Baseball America. I haven’t seen Davidson live, but based off what I’ve seen on Youtube, he looks like a reliever. ETA: 2020

14) Touki Toussaint, RHP | Level: AA | Age: 21 | 2017 Stats: 6-13, 145 IP, 4.53 ERA, 1.34 WHIP, 167 Ks, 64 Bb

Let’s just get his 80 grade name out of the way, Touki Toussaint. A high upside talent, Toussaint mixes a plus fastball/curveball combo, but has had trouble controlling the strike zone. I feel like he’s on the cusp of figuring it out or moving to the pen. His upside is number two starter with high K totals, while his floor looks like bullpen arm. ETA: 2020

15) Drew Waters, OF | Level: Rk | Age: 18 | 2017 Stats: .278/.362/.429, 4 HR, 24 RBI, 6 SB

Here’s what I wrote about Waters when I ranked him 35th in my first year player draft rankings. “The switch-hitting outfielder from the Braves backyard, he’s a classic Atlanta draft choice. Waters combines plus bat speed, a patient approach, and plus speed. His swing is equally solid from both sides of the plate, pointing to his elite athleticism. Waters has a ton of upside for fantasy as a potential five category asset, but there were some issues with strikeouts at advanced rookie ball.” There are some questions regarding Waters signing, I’m not sure if there will be any discipline toward the team regarding it. ETA: 2021

16) Kyle Muller, LHP | Level: Rk | Age: 20 | 2017 Stats: 1-1, 47.2 IP, 4.15 ERA, 1.28 WHIP, 49 Ks, 18 Bb

Second round pick from the 2016 draft, that sort of gets lost in the shuffle with all of the arms in the system. Muller tosses a low to mid 90’s fastball, with inconsistent secondaries in a breaking ball and change that flash plus. More of a project than fellow 2016 prep talents Anderson, Wentz, and Wilson. The Braves are bringing the giant lefty along slowly, and with good reason as he was a two way player and didn’t focus solely on pitching. Muller might be an actual underrated talent in the Braves system, seems impossible. ETA: 2021

17) Brett Cumberland, C Braves | Level: A+ | Age: 22 | 2017 Stats: .266/.409/.445 11 HR, 69 RBI, 1 SB

A creepy porn stache, and elite on base ability, might be two of Cumberland’s strongest attributes, but they’re certainly not the only ones. A switch hitter with an extreme flyball profile, and a knack for hitting with RISP, make Cumberland a some what under discussed catching prospect. Part of it is, he gets lost in a deep system, the other is, well, he’s a catching prospect. Still a few years away and it looks like he has some work to do to stick behind the plate. ETA: 2019

18) Patrick Weigel, RHP | Level: AAA | Age: 23 | 2017 Stats: 6-2, 78.1 IP, 4.14 ERA, 1.30 WHIP, 68 Ks, 28 Bb

Weigel likely would have made his debut in the big leagues had he not tore his UCL, and had to undergo tommy john surgery. Not worth holding in any league where less than 200 prospects are owned, but one to keep on your watch list for the end of next year. ETA: 2019

19) William Contreras, C Braves | Level: RK | Age: 19 | 2017 Stats: .290/.379/.432 4 HR, 25 RBI, 1 SB

The younger brother of the Cubs Willson Contreras, William brings to the table many of the same skills. Athleticism, bat speed, and an advanced approach for a 19 year old, make Contreras a possible mover over the next year. His walk rate of 12.1% wasn’t far off from his K rate of 15.2%, and 21.9% LD rate shows a penchant for making hard contact. ETA: 2020

20) A.J. Minter, LHP | Level: AAA | Age: 24 | 2017 Stats: 1-2, 24.1 IP, 3.33 ERA, 1.32 WHIP, 30 Ks, 12 Bb

Lefty pen arm, looks like he has a spot in Atlanta for 2018 and beyond. Minter has had a lengthy injury history with shoulder and elbow issues on his medical rap sheet. He pairs an upper-90’s fastball with a plus slider, could end up a closer one day if he stays healthy. ETA: 2018

21) Travis Demeritte, 2B Braves | Level: AA | Age: 23 | 2017 Stats: .231/.306/.402 15 HR, 45 RBI, 5 SB

Last chance for love here with Demeritte, after a 28 homer/17 steal campaign in 2016, the follow up numbers are a major disappointment. Demeritte still brings to the table a true three outcome skillset with big raw power. Those guys are hard to quit. ETA: 2019

22) Drew Lugbauer, C | Level: A | Age: 21 | 2017 Stats: .261/.352/.514, 13 HR, 46 RBI, 0 SB

A player I’m going to add into my First year player draft rankings when I update them later this month. Lugbauer was a standout his junior season at Michigan, and brings big raw power from the leftside. Played some first and third, in addition to catching at Danville and Rome. I’m not sure his future lies behind the plate, but he’s a very interesting bat for fantasy if he does. ETA: 2020

23) Jean Carlos Encarnacion, 3B | Level: Rk | Age: 19 | 2017 Stats: .321/.346/.464, 3 HR, 22 RBI, 7 SB

Big bodied third baseman with massive raw power, and a reputation for being a bit of a free swinger. Runs well for his size, and stood out amongst more hyped players in the GCL with large bonus pool tags. A player to add in 20+ team dynasty leagues this season.

Find all of the 30 Minor League Previews, and Offseason Rankings on the Minor League Index
On Twitter as @ProspectJesus

49 Comments
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Notorious D.A.N.
Notorious D.A.N.
4 years ago

I’m big fan of your podcast with Halp and had been tracking Acuna on last winter in Australia only to have someone pick him right before me in my draft last March. 12 Team NL-only Dynasty Roto. Each team keeps around 10 minor leagues and then drafts another 5 (no in-season pick ups).

I really want to make a big offer for Acuna, but interested on your take. I have Tatis, Trammell, Bader, Crawford, Luis Urias, Keller, Quantrill, Morejon. My 1st rd pick is 6th and Kingery, Baez, Gore, Greene, O’Neill, Huira would be top 6 available. How much would be too much? (I also have Dom Smith and Dansby Swanson as well).

Please and Thank You.

Jose
Jose
4 years ago

The Roy Halladay accident hit me hard. I remember that I traded a couple of young prospects (Bumgarner & Hayward) to acquire the first pick in the draft to get Halladay, when he came to the NL (Phillies). He help me win a couple Trophies, before he got injured and declined fast in his mid 30s.

R.I.P. Roy Halladay and condolences to his wife and kids.

I also got to admit I was hit harder when we lost Jose Fernandez a fellow Cuban that was beloved in Miami by the Cuban community, where he was known as “Joseito” (my nickname as a child). Loosing him during a season was a choker. I was salivating dreaming of the rotation I was going to have in 2017, that never happened (Kersha (DL back), Fernandez (Deceased), Scherser (DL legs), Alex Reyes (TJ) and Julio Urias (shoulder surgery) and still I managed to get to the finals were I got beat 4 games to 1. I hope to get all my injured players back and add Walker Buehler at some point.

Jose
Jose
Reply to  Geoff
4 years ago

@Ralph Lifshitz: Yeah Roy was clean, a great team mate and a good family man.

Fernandez was only 24 and left a girlfriend that was about 8 months pregnant. My biggest disappointment was that they said he had Cocaine on his system. As far as I know he had never tested dirty before.

Geoff
Braves Ralph
Reply to  Jose
4 years ago

@Jose: Yeah it’s all sad. Coke is out of your system in days, it’s the ganja that sticks to everything.

Geoff
Braves Ralph
4 years ago

Was in a meeting for the last three plus hours. I’ll be back in the comments in 20.

F-FOH
F-FOH
Reply to  Braves Ralph
4 years ago

@Braves Ralph: you better not pull a Lance Romance on us!

F-FOH
F-FOH
Reply to  Geoff
4 years ago

@Ralph Lifshitz: Fuck Full of Hate….I hate that guy

F-FOH
F-FOH
Reply to  Geoff
4 years ago

@Ralph Lifshitz: I hate myself! Who doesn’t

Malicious Phenoms
Malicious Phenoms
4 years ago

Solid write-up Ralph!

Braves are loaded, hope they got all these guys on the up and up. lol

RIP Doc, one the best of our generation, incredible work ethic!

Geoff
Braves Ralph
Reply to  Malicious Phenoms
4 years ago

@Malicious Phenoms: Thabks MP! Thought I responded. Sorry for the delay

Another Dan
Another Dan
4 years ago

Hey Ralph,

Excellent stuff.

If you were ranking systems the Braves are #1 right ?

They’ll be interesting to follow in the next few years.

Best wishes,

Dan

Claw dawg
Claw dawg
4 years ago

Hey Ralph. Have a question for you. We can hold up to 5 minor leaguers every year. I have moncada still, otani, soto, and kyle lewis. I am debating whether or not I should hold onto lewis because literally every time it seems like he is starting to go off, his knee flares up and then hes off for 2 weeks. And just recently he was pulled from the AFL after only playing 2 games. If I don’t keep him, I would have 2 picks in the minor league draft this year, but they will also be the last pick of each round since I won this year. So do you think its worth holding him and hoping a full off season helps him heal up? Or throwing him back and taking someone without chronic knee problems? Thanks!

Claw dawg
Claw dawg
Reply to  Geoff
4 years ago

@Ralph Lifshitz: Looks like 16 or so are still available, though a lot were pitchers and I’m not trying to take a pitcher. but theres also probably more than 16 picks before my second minor league pick, so I am guessing that means I should hold tight with Lewis and hope a full healthy offseason does him some good

Grey
Admin
4 years ago

The Doc Halladay thing is a gut punch. Seemingly a great guy, big-time competitor and one of the best pitchers ever. For some reason, it seems more baseball players — and not other sports — die prematurely from plane crashes than any other way. Though, it could be confirmation bias.

F-FOH
F-FOH
Reply to  Grey
4 years ago

@Grey: that’s not too far off. You could say more NFL players die from suicide than any other sport. Off the top of my head you have Clemente, Munson, Lidle, and now Doc and I’m sure there are more

Grey
Admin
Reply to  F-FOH
4 years ago

Also, cars and boats are up there. Baseball players in some form of transportation has to be higher than any other sport.

F-FOH
F-FOH
Reply to  Grey
4 years ago

@Grey: Its high but probably not as high as we think. I wonder if more race car drivers have passed away than baseball players in the last decade

Grey
Admin
Reply to  F-FOH
4 years ago

Hmm… I’m not sure, but I bet it’s close, or closer than it should be considering the amount of risk in one sport vs. the other

Another Dan
Another Dan
Reply to  Grey
4 years ago

@Grey:

It’s very sad news. Doc was a pitcher at his peak when I first started watching baseball.

A few thoughts on sporting transportation accidents.

There are a lot of active baseball players compared to other sports. 30 teams x 40 man rosters = 1200 players +

Baseball players (and other sportsmen) are young (cocky in some cases) men who have significant wealth. They have the finances to acquire cars/bikes/boats that are powerful status symbols. This, I would assume, raises the risk profile.

I am unaware of any team incidents in baseball (are there any?). Whereas in football (soccer), I know of 3 plane accidents (Torino – 1949, Man Utd – 1958, Chapecoense – 2017) that have resulted in the death of almost entire teams.

Just some thought,

Another Dan

F-FOH
F-FOH
Reply to  Another Dan
4 years ago

@Another Dan: Also in American football as well. Marshall and Cal Poly San Luis Obispo come to mind

Another Dan
Another Dan
Reply to  Geoff
4 years ago

@Ralph Lifshitz:

Spent a while reading about him, sounds like a good guy off the field too.

I read your message lower down about being a Dad. It is his children I feel most sorry for. I have seen students I teach and the affect that losing a parent can have. No child deserves that.

Another Dan

Grey
Admin
Reply to  Geoff
4 years ago

What a life, really

The WIRE was WAAAAAAAAAAAY overrated
The WIRE was WAAAAAAAAAAAY overrated
4 years ago

Odds that [email protected] comes in to make a rare appearance?

F-FOH
F-FOH
Reply to  Geoff
4 years ago

@Ralph Lifshitz: Bandwagoning Bupkis Ralph!

F-FOH
F-FOH
Reply to  Geoff
4 years ago

@Ralph Lifshitz: Let me know when you get back to earth

MaxFreeze
4 years ago

So sad to hear about Doc Halladay. He was THE Ace when I started playing fantasy baseball back in 2004. RIP DOC.

This Braves system is so deep and so young. Even the 2018 ETA guys are barely old enough to drink! I love Gohara, do you think he should be a top 60 SP for 2018?

Saints
Saints
4 years ago

Hay Ralph great stuff :)
I wrote my suggestion under the diamondbacks preview but i want to make sure you can read this. If you ranked the Players in your Top 200 can you write down the Number were they ranked so we can get a perspective how good they are compared to other teams and prospects ?. The old Tiers were good for this as well if you use some again i wouldnt mind it at all i would like it :)
Keep it up Im pumped for the rest of the series.

PS: Every time you rave about Acuna im pumped to have him in my league. Thanks to you your prospect stuff is the best :)

Tweak
Tweak
4 years ago

Great stuff, Ralph. Lots to love in the Atlanta system right now. Hey, I’m doing the Braves Chop, but my hands are on the keyboard.

So many wonderful arms here! Weigel was my favorite deep pick in the system until his injury; we’ll see how he pans out upon return. I’m getting all fluttery like a Southern Belle with the vapours thinking about the Braves’ future rotation if even SOME of Soroka, Allard, Wentz, Gohara, Anderson, Wright, Toussaint, Wilson and Fried work out.

They do have a few guys that sound like SEC QBs rather than baseball players, though: Pache, Waters, Davidson.

I would love to see them drop some cash on a big timer like JDongs this off season, but they could be in the hunt for Harper next year if their rotation performs. Or, they could cash in some of these prized prospect arms. A deal with Boston could work, dumping Kemp to them and sending along someone(s) like Fried/Toussaint/Newcomb and bringing back JBJ.

Geoff
Braves Ralph
Reply to  Tweak
4 years ago

@Tweak: Thanks for reading Tweak. This system is so deep it’s crazy! The arms are definitely the basis of this system and they have some great ones. They’ll have three waves of starters the next 3-4 years coming up to the big club. It’s crazy how well they drafted the last few years.

They do sound like SEC QBs!

I can’t see Boston making that deal. Too much talent in that outfield, and they already have Hanley who can play First, their biggest position of need.

The Untouchables
The Untouchables
4 years ago

To be clear, Braves country is definitely saddened by the Halladay news and we have nothing but respect for him and his career. So not angry at all.

Anyway, I love reading about this system. Can’t wait to see how cocky Acuña is next year when he gets RoY!
Thanks for your hard work Ralph

purple man
purple man
4 years ago

RIP Roy Halladay– Phillies Superstar!