Welcome back to our team prospect lists at Baseball Essential. The Atlanta Braves are the second team that we are doing at BBE, after the Arizona Diamondbacks. Here you go:

 

1. Ronald Acuna, OF

Rating: A

Risk: Low

ETA: 2018

Ronald Acuna looks like a five-tool, MVP candidate in the making. He looks like he’s the piece that will lead the Braves into a bright future.

 

2. Kolby Allard, LHP

Rating: A-/B+

Risk: High

ETA: Mid-2018

A lot of people rank Allard behind Gohara based on the injury risk, however it should be noted that he has posted a career 3.03 ERA with 2.6 BB/9 over 46 games started. He looks like a No. 2 in the making.

 

3. Luiz Gohara, LHP

Rating: B+/A-

Risk: Medium

ETA: 2018

Gohara and Allard are essentially interchangeable based on preference. While Allard has more red flags in terms of injury, Gohara has struggled a bit with control in the past. Nevertheless, he looks like a very solid No. 2 or No. 3 as it’s impossible not to love the fastball.

 

4. Mike Soroka, RHP

Rating: B+

Risk: Low

ETA: Late-2018

Mike Soroka carries the least risk of any of the Braves’ starters. While he’s not going to blow anyone away, he has excellent control. In any other organization, he would probably be a strong No. 3, but here, he’s probably a No. 4.

 

5. Joey Wentz, LHP

Rating: B+

Risk: High

ETA: Mid-2020

Wentz probably has the highest ceiling of any of the pitchers in the Braves’ system. Nevertheless, he carries a significant amount of risk seeing as how he has battled injury and control issues through his development. Last season was exceptionally encouraging as he posted a 2.60 ERA with a 3.14 BB/9 over 131.2 innings in Class-A. If he continues at this rate, he should stand atop the rankings by next season.

 

6. Kyle Wright, RHP

Rating: B+

Risk: Low

ETA: Mid-2019

The Braves lucked out with Wright dropping to them in the 2017 amateur draft, as he had been expected to go in top-3 out of Vanderbilt. He’s an advanced and polished pitcher who induces an exceptionally healthy amount of ground balls while exhibiting solid command. He looks like a mid-rotation guy.

 

7. Ian Anderson, RHP

Rating: B+

Risk: Medium

ETA: Late-2019

Anderson was selected No. 3 overall in 2016 and signed an under-slot deal that allowed the Braves to go after another high upside arm in Wentz with their next pick. Anderson has not disappointed since being selected well before he had been expected to. He has shown the ability to induce ground balls at a solid rate, and has been something of a workhorse, but it should also be noted that he walked 4.66 per nine innings last season over 83 innings. That could be a problem for him going forward, but seeing as how he is 19 years old, he has time to work it out.

 

8. Austin Riley, 3B

Rating: B

Risk: Medium

ETA: 2019

Austin Riley appears to be a No. 7 hitter at the highest level. While the glove at third base isn’t very good, his arm could facilitate a move to the outfield in the future. The bat is pretty solid, and stands to improve seeing as how he is just 20 years of age. He has the raw power to hit 30 home runs in a season while batting .280/.340/.470, however he just hasn’t gotten there with the game power just yet.

 

9. Bryse Wilson, RHP

Rating: B

Risk: Medium

ETA: 2020

Wilson looks like he’s on his way to becoming a No. 4 workhorse. He has a good fastball, and while most analysts worry about his control, he has posted walk rates of 2.70 and 2.43 in his first two professional seasons. If, for some reason, issues with his control begin to pop up, however, he has a good enough fastball where he could be a late-inning, multi-inning reliever.

 

10. Touki Toussaint, RHP

Rating: B/B-

Risk: Very High

ETA: Mid-2019

Personally, it seems like a good chance that Toussaint ultimately winds up in the bullpen due to the control issues, however he has a fastball/curveball combination that is elite and should play up in relief. He looks like an elite closer or set-up man.

 

11. Freddy Tarnok, RHP

Rating: B-

Risk: Very High

ETA: 2022

A personal favorite, Tarnok is the most underrated player in the Braves’ system. He’s a control specialist, who looks as if he can be a workhorse three. While he’s noticeable, he’s still exceptionally far away. Keep an eye on him, though, as he is the biggest sleeper in the system.

 

12. Drew Waters, OF

Rating: C+/B-

Risk: Medium

ETA: Late-2019

It’s difficult to judge Waters’ numbers last season due to the fact that he posted BABIPs over .400. At this point, while he’s at least two or three seasons away, he looks like a .240/.320/.410 hitter who can hit about 15 home runs, however his prospect status is exceptionally elastic at this point.

 

13. Anfernee Seymour, OF/SS

Rating: C+

Risk: Medium

ETA: Mid-2019

Seymour looks like a poor man’s Dee Gordon. He has solid speed, however, lacks power and could struggle with his plate discipline as he faces more advanced pitching. His ceiling is a second or borderline first division starter at short, however a utility role looks more likely.

 

14. Dustin Peterson, OF

Rating: C+

Risk: Low

ETA: 2018

Peterson looks a lot like Jeff Francoeur. He has an excellent arm, and a bat that, while not great, will play off of the bench or in a platoon role. He has average to slightly above average average power, as well. Peterson looks like a .260/.320/.400 guy with 10 home runs in a season. Furthermore, he has a chance of being selected in the Rule 5 Draft.

 

15. Thomas Burrows, LHP

Rating: C+

Risk: Medium

ETA: 2020

Burrows is a high-ceiling, but high-risk arm. He’s further down due to concerns about his durability. He’s probably going to move to the bullpen in time where the fastball would make him an enticing late-inning reliever. If he remains a starter, the sky’s the limit, however he could also turn out to be another Wily Peralta-type.

 

16. A.J. Minter, LHP

Rating: C+

Risk: Low

ETA: 2018

With Minter, what you see if what you get. He’s a very strong left-handed reliever who seems likely to make the Braves’ bullpen coming out of spring training and could find himself in a set-up role sooner rather than later. He has very strong velocity.

 

17. Akeel Morris, RHP

Rating: C+

Risk: Low

ETA: 2018

Morris, like Minter, is a big league ready reliever. He was acquired from the Mets for Kelly Johnson in 2016 and has an exceptional fastball. While he struggles with control at times, it is certainly manageable. He will be out of options in 2018 and seems likely to earn a bullpen spot out of camp. He may frustrate initially, but let him get his feet wet and he could be a setup man.

 

18. Cristian Pache, OF

Rating: C+

Risk: High

ETA: 2019

Pache has good speed and a good arm, however he has an awful approach at the plate and no power. While he hit .280 in Class-A, he will find a considerable amount of difficulty with upper level pitching. He’s at least three seasons away, and at this point looks like a platoon Ezequiel Carrera type outfielder. His ceiling is a No. 2 hitter if he ever figures out the hit tool.

 

19. Troy Bacon, RHP

Rate: C+

Risk: Medium

ETA: 2019

Troy Bacon has a pretty high ceiling as a very strong high-leverage reliever, however, seeing as how he is a bit farther away than Morris and Minter, he finds himself ranked a tad bit lower. The control is good, but not great, and while he has a solid fastball, he might have issues as he rises through the system.  

 

20. Kyle Muller, LHP

Rating: C+

Risk: Very High

ETA: Late-2020

Muller has shown flashes as to why the Braves took him in the second round in 2016, however he has also shown that there is a significant amount of work to be done. 2018 will be an important season in his development and his play in 2018 should hint to what kind of prospect he will be going forward. Muller is a highly elastic prospect.

 

21. Brett Cumberland, C

Rate: C/C+

Risk: Medium

ETA: 2019

Brett Cumberland looks as if he has a future in a Cameron Rupp-esque bat first back-up catcher. While the glove is rather rough, the power is very real and he has a mature approach at the plate. Expect him to hit .230/.300/.420 with 10-15 home runs.

 

22. Drew Harrington, LHP

Rate: C/C+

Risk: Medium

ETA: Late-2019

Harrington is a control specialist who induces a rather strong amount of ground balls. He doesn’t have very good stuff, which could cause him to be very hittable for upper level hitters, however he looks like a Vance Worley, Odrisamer Despaigne spot-starter, swing man type.

 

23. Travis Demeritte, INF

Rate: C/C+

Risk: Medium

ETA: Late-2018

Demeritte had something of a breakout season in 2016 in which he was traded from the Rangers to the Braves, however failed to follow that up last season. The ceiling is that of a No. 5 hitter with a plus glove at third base, however a lot needs to happen for him to reach it. Demeritte really needs to make those adjustments soon if he wants to be anything other than a Matt Dominguez.

 

24. Max Fried, LHP

Rate: C/C+

Risk: High

ETA: 2018

Fried has stayed relevant due to his draft status, however he hasn’t done anything to suggest that he is more than a spot-starter. Even his solid cameo in the major leagues, saw exceptionally poor peripheral results including a high walk rate and increased susceptibility to the long ball.

 

25. Patrick Weigel, RHP

Rate: C/C+

Risk: High

ETA: 2018

At this point, Weigel looks like a Jason Hursh-esque future 12th pitcher on the Braves roster. His control isn’t bad, but it isn’t very good either and his stuff isn’t blowing past anyone. That could become a problem for him once he reaches the big leagues.

 

26. Ray-Patrick Didder, CF

Rate: C

Risk: Medium

ETA: Late-2018

Didder is an all-speed, all-defense outfielder who has a very poor approach at the plate. He strikes out a lot despite not providing any power, which will lead to low batting averages. His ceiling is Ben Revere, however it looks more likely that he’s an emergency call-up Terrance Gore type player.

 

27. Ricardo Sanchez, LHP

Rate: C

Risk: High

ETA: Late-2018

Does anybody remember that kid Henry Rodriguez who played for the A’s, Nationals and Marlins about five seasons ago? Sanchez looks very similar to that in that he has an absolutely huge fastball, but absolutely no control. Based on where he is in the minor league system, he should at least be given a shot at an emergency call-up, however despite the ceiling that comes with all fireballers, it remains to be seen if he can go beyond the emergency call-up type.

 

28. Huascar Ynoa, RHP

Rating: C

Rate: Very High

ETA: Late-2020

Ynoa was acquired from the Twins in the Jaime Garcia deal over the summer. He was a hyped international signing who has not been very encouraging thus far. He has very good stuff, however like many others before him, he can’t seem to control it. At this stage, he’s looking like organizational depth, although he has a long-shot ceiling of a high-leverage reliever.

 

29. Alex Jackson, C

Rating: C

Risk: High

ETA: Late-2019

Alex Jackson was acquired from the Mariners last season in a minor trade that saw pitchers Rob Whalen and Max Povse head to Seattle. It seems pretty safe to say that the deal was a wash. Despite Jackson’s raw power, his approach is exceptionally poor and he hasn’t been able to translate that power potential into game power. His ceiling is a third catcher or an emergency power bench guy, however he looks more like organizational depth at this juncture.

 

30. Justin Kelly, LHP

Rating: C

Risk: High

ETA: 2020

Kelly was the player that the Braves acquired in the Jim Johnson deal from the Angels a few days ago, but he is nothing more than organizational depth. Despite the fact that he is nearly 25, he spent the majority of last season in Class-A Burlington and posted rather pedestrian numbers. The control isn’t bad, but based on his lack of stuff, isn’t going to hold up. Double-A or Triple-A is his ceiling.

 

31. Braxton Davidson, OF

Rating: C

Risk: High

ETA: 2021

Davidson is another player kept alive by his draft status. Since being selected in the first round back in 2014, he has never posted a batting average above .250 and has only advanced as far as High-A. While he walks a lot, that is nullified by his robust strikeout rates that fall around 35 percent.

 

32. Derian Cruz, SS

Rating: C

Risk: Very High

ETA: 2021

Cruz was signed as an all-glove amateur with speed nearing an elite level. Unfortunately, he has walked just 22 times over 583 plate appearances, good for a 3.77 percent walk rate. It doesn’t matter how fast you are if you can’t get on base.

 

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One Response

  1. Paul Lentz

    Dude, your take on BOTH Patrick Weigel AND Alex Jackson were WAY OFF!

    1. Patrick Weigel (who you ranked #25 AND stated ‘isnt blowing past anyone’): Before blowing out his elbow in Triple A in June 2017…his MILB stats were fantastic! 2015 Rookie Ball..49k’s in 51 IP….in 2016 in both Class A and AA….152k’s in 149 IP…..in 2017 in AA…38k’s in 37 IP before his promotion to AAA (he struggled through an elbow problem before it blew out…32k’s in 41 IP).

    Other than his small sample size in Triple A…Weigel showed PLENTY of swing and miss in 2015 and 2016. He possesses a high 90’s fastball. Even with the elbow problems in Triple A…his career stats are 269k’s in 279 IP while ONLY giving up 228 hits and 109 walks. Not bad (far better than your ‘isnt blowing past anyone’ comment)!

    2. Alex Jackson (who you stated is basically “a wash trade”…that he hasnt been able to ‘translate it into game power’. In 96 games between High A and Double A in 2017…Jackson hit 25 doubles and 19 homers, knocking in 65 RBIs. What part of ‘game power’ is lacking there?

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