This team features an embarrassment of riches at the major league level
Churning out home-grown rotisserie monsters at an unparalleled rate over these past few seasons. Even had enough extra pieces to go get Matt Olson when they couldn’t convince Freddie Freeman to stay. Or however that went down.
After trading for Olson then graduating RHP Spencer Strider, OF Michael Harris and SS Vaughn Grissom, the minor league system isn’t much to look at for our purposes, but that’s sort of irrelevant given the superteam they’ve built at the major league level, and this front office has been so hot for so long that we’d be wrong to leave any stones unturned in Atlanta.
Format = Position Player | Age on 4/1/2023 | Highest Level Played | Expected Time of Arrival
1. OF Justyn Henry-Malloy | 23 | AAA | 2023
Henry-Malloy’s a big kid with plus plate patience. At 6’3” 212 lbs, the right-handed Malloy fits nicely into the team’s plans for 2023 and beyond. Marcell Ozuna is under contract for another two seasons, but I wouldn’t be shocked to see him released before the deal expires. Malloy posted a .289/.408/.454 with 17 HR and 5 SB in 133 games across three levels. There’s long-term upside beyond the stat lines for this hit-over-power hyphenate.
2. LHP Jared Shuster | 24 | AAA | 2023
A sturdy lefty at 6”3” 210 lbs, Shuster kept bats quiet for 90.2 innings at Double-A, but the team’s affiliate there in Rome tends to suppress runs. After striking out 106 and allowing a 2.78 ERA in Double-A, he struck out just 39 and allowed a 4.25 ERA in 48.2 innings at Triple-A. Doesn’t matter much, of course, but there’s a big difference between 0.96 WHIP and a 1.21, and a bigger difference between a 23.8% K-BB rate and an 11.4% K-BB rate. If you’re leaning optimism for the 25th overall pick in 2020, we can look to his second to last start of the season against the Cardinals’ Triple-A squad, when he threw seven innings with ten strikeouts and one walk.
3. RHP Darius Vines | 24 | AAA | 2023
Vines climbed a similar path to Shuster, piling up strikeouts in AA before seeing his K/9 drop from the ten range to the seven spot in Triple-A, but Vines bounced back more thoroughly than Shuster, posting a 2.19 ERA with 83 strikeouts over his final 82.1 innings. At 6’1” 190 lb, Vines doesn’t walk off the bus intimidating but grows on you the more you watch him. He commands his fastball all over the zone and can throw his changeup in any count. Could be sort of a Bryce Elder type in his early career with upside as he gains experience and maximizes his command.
4. RHP Royber Salinas | 21 | A+ | 2024
Salinas is a big dude (6’3” 205 lbs) with a big fastball who challenges hitters atop the zone like it’s his favorite thing about being alive. His heater’s movement fits the club’s Stider-ian profile, and if he can command his off-speed stuff, Salinas is going to be a problem. He struck out 175 batters in 109 innings across two levels.
5. RHP JR Ritchie | 19 | A | 2025
You’re not going to replicate Spencer Strider. Probably. Although I guess that’s the whole point of the current pitching era: that some guys could become Spencer Strider or Dylan Cease with the right coaching and learning. Enter JR Ritchie, a young righty with big velocity and intriguing pitch shapes who has dominated throughout his young career. Just 14.1 pro innings in five starts across two levels so far, but a 0.977 WHIP for someone so young with so much velocity will put him on a lot of dynasty radars this winter. He was the 35th overall pick in the 2021 draft, so he’s not an underdog story by any means.
6. SS Ignacio Alvarez | 19 | A | 2026
Alvarez wins the cool name award in this system, edging out Ambioris Tavarez and Douglas Glod, who were also in consideration for a spot. At 6’0” 190 lbs, Ignacio is a prototype athlete for baseball, with smooth right-handed actions and easy footspeed. It’s been easy enough so far that we could make a case to push him way up the list. In 15 games at Low-A, he posted a .493 on base percentage and 160 wRC+, walking in 26.8 percent of his plate appearances and striking out just 12.7 percent of the time. I’m skeptical of extreme patience profiles at the lower levels, but that’s largely to keep me from getting overly excited about noise–not because it doesn’t encourage me to see a patient approach.
7. SS Geraldo Quintero | 21 | A+ | 2024
Quintero has been adding physicality in his early twenties, which pairs well with his plus speed and plate skills. He heated up in May and stayed hot most of the way, posting a .370 On Base Percentage with 29 steals in 91 games across two levels. He’s listed at 5’8” 155 lbs, but those are outdated numbers. He’s not Aaron Judge now or anything, but he’s big enough to compete.
8. RHP Spencer Schwellenbach | 23 | NCAA | 2025
A two-way college star as a shortstop and reliever at Nebraska, the 6’1” 200 lb Schwellenbach will be stretched out as a starter by Atlanta, where his 100 mph fastball, core strength, release height, and intriguing pitch shapes make him yet another Strider comp. He’s probably free in your leagues right now, and he could go nuclear on the low-minors strikeout front early in 2023.
9. LHP Kyle Muller | 25 | MLB | 2021
With 49 innings in the major leagues, Muller doesn’t feel like he belongs on the list. He posted a nice season at Triple-A (3.41 ERA in 134.2 IP) but got roasted in three turns in the majors (8.03 ERA in 12.1 IP). It’s an old story, and Muller fits the profile of a Sean Newcomb type who likely belongs in the bullpen, where his plus fastball-slider combination can eat despite his spotty command.
10. RHP Freddie Tarnok | 24 | MLB | 2022
A big finish in 2021 gave way to a volcanic start to 2022 in Triple-A, but Tarnok found his form in June, posting a 3.05 ERA and 80 strikeouts over his final 65 innings. The 6’3” fireballer can run it up in the upper 90’s but needs reps to work on his command. I think he’s more likely to be a reliever than starter and debuted in that role for one game in 2022. Probably an up-and-down, sixth starter type in the next couple years.
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