Format = Position Player | Age on 4/1/2024 | Highest Level Played | Estimated Time of Arrival
1. RHP Hurston Waldrep | 22 | AAA | 2024
With the name of a 19th century oil barren and the arsenal of a high-end big league pitcher, Hurston Waldrep represented a nice windfall for Atlanta with the 24th overall pick in this summer’s draft. His delivery borders on relievery, but a double-plus fastball/split-change combo helped him carve his way to Triple-A in half a minor league season. Atlanta has been rushing its young arms for a while as they try to supplement their world-beating offense, so Waldrep should be on the shortlist for an early promotion. Might even have a shot to make the team in spring training. He signed for a few hundred thousand under his draft slot value, and you know this team loves that.
2. RHP AJ Smith-Shawver | 21 | MLB | 2023
Took a turn as perhaps fantasy’s most overrated prospect for a stretch in 2023. No fault of his own, really. The echo chamber was just excited to see him open the year with 21 scoreless innings across the two lower levels and then jump Triple-A entirely. The hype has settled some, but Smith-Shawver remains a special talent with a dynamic fastball and slider who will be part of the club’s plan in 2024.
3. SS Ignacio Alvarez | 20 | A+ | 2025
A great defender who gets on base, Alvarez is a perfect fit for the club’s organizational build. He might be a trade chip if he can generate a little power (7 HR in 116 games), but if he stays with the team, it’s hard to see where he’d end up playing. Perhaps he’d hang around long enough to take the shortstop job when Orlando Arcia’s contract expires.
4. RHP Spencer Schwellenbach | 23 | A+ | 2025
A two-way college player, Schwellenbach has taken smoothly to becoming a full-time starting pitcher, covering 65 innings across two levels. He finished up with 13.2 dominant innings at High-A, where he held opponents to a 0.37 WHIP and .091 opponents batting average. He should have weapons against both sides of the plate as long as he’s commanding his upper-nineties fastball and off-speed mix of a plus slider and changeup.
5. RHP Cade Kuehler | 21 | A | 2025
The organization keeps drafting young righties, and it’s easy to see why when a kid like Kuehler debuts with seven scoreless innings across his first two pro outings. He allowed just one hit. The 70th overall pick out of a burgeoning baseball power in Campbell, Kuehler has the look of a three-level leaper in 2024. His double-plus fastball and multi-pitch mix should prove too much for most minor league hitters. His aptitude for spin fits well in the org and the pitch-lab era.
6. 3B Sabin Ceballos | 21 | A | 2026
The Angels tried to land Ceballos in the 14th round of the 2022 draft, but he went to Oregon instead, where the 6’3” 225 lb righty hit 18 homers in 59 games, slashing .333/.426/.643 with just 36 strikeouts. Atlanta took him in the 3rd round and sent him to Low-A after five games on the complex because Ceballos was getting on base 67 percent of the time. Interesting late-round pick in first-year-player drafts. Probably don’t even have to pick him in most leagues–just follow closely in the early going.
7. OF Luis Guanipa | 18 | DSL | 2027
Speed, contact and power are the carrying tools here, which of course perks the ears of the savvy dynasty player. He swiped 20 bags in 46 DSL games, but his free-swinging ways caught up to him after a while and left him with a .238 batting average.
8. RHP Owen Murphy | 20 | A+ | 2025
Murphy graduated Low-A at 19 despite a 4.72 ERA, partly because he’d improved throughout the year and struck out 113 batters in 89.2 innings. The 20th overall pick in 2022, Murphy signed an under-slot deal, and like a lot of Atlanta’s young arms, he features a fastball with effective traits and a multi-pitch arsenal that should improve naturally across time. Kind of a strange pick in that spot. He’s not likely to get there particularly soon or bring a particularly high topside.
9. RHP Darius Vines | 25 | MLB | 2023
Posted a 1.08 WHIP in 20.1 big league innings after an effective couple stretches in Triple-A over the last two seasons. His long-term topside might be capped by raw velocity, but he feels like the sort of change-up artist who will outperform his peripherals if given the chance, especially in our win-starved fantasy climate.
10. RHP JR Ritchie | 20 | A | 2026
Will lose a year to Tommy John surgery after being injured in May. His solid mechanics and repeatability should help him on the way back, and if he can add a little juice to his heater while maintaining the plus slider, he’ll be an ascendant player in 2025.
Thanks for reading!