This is 3rd installment into this series. If you are tuning in late, here are the first 2 pieces:
Today’s installment will take a look at what is supposed to be the cream of the crop, but as we all know, the cream has been more of the fat free variety which is more guar gum and corn syrup than actual milk.
However, outside of the Orioles, you’d be hard-pressed to find a team that has benefitted from their farm these past 2 years more than the Braves.
- Michael Harris II: 8 fWAR in 228 games: Gold Glove, RoTY
- Spencer Strider: 9.6 fWAR in 293.1 IP, runner up RoTY, 2023 Cy Young Candidate
- Traded ranked prospects Royber Salinas, Kyle Muller, Justin Yeager (and William Contreras) for Sean Murphy, who’s currrently carrying a 4.4 fWAR
- Traded ranked prospects Shea Langeliers, Cristian Pache, Ryan Cusick, and Joey Estes for Matt Olson, who’s currently carrying a 4.6 fWAR
- Traded 2 prospects Chad Sobotka and Patrick Weigel for Orlando Arcia, who’s currently carrying a 2.7 fWAR
- Traded ranked prospect Tucker Davidson (and Jesse Chavez, whom was reacquired a month later) for Raisel Iglesias, who’s been dominant in 2023.
- Traded ranked prospects Jake Higginbotham and Justyn-Henry Malloy for Joe Jimenez, who carries a 0.6 fWAR and an impressive 4.5K/BB ratio.
- Traded ranked prospects Victor Vodnik and Tanner Gordon for Pierce Johnson, who’s recorded a 2.25 ERA and an impressive 5.25 K/BB ratio since joining the Braves. His fWAR is 0.4 since joining the Braves.
- Traded newly acquired and unranked prospect Taylor Hearn to the Royals for Nicky Lopez, who carries a 0.6 fWAR since joining the Braves.
The total fWAR thus far for this group is 31.8 and current rate per fWAR is ~$8MM, which means this group has been worth $254.4MM and might’ve costs 40% of that so far. That, my friends, is MADNESS.
Yes the farm system is thin as a rake, but it’s building back with purpose and that purpose is to fill holes by any means necessary.
Braves Top Prospects, 10-1
So…this is how I’m going to approach much of this Braves prospects list. I will look at the Braves MILB players ranked in the top-30 and discuss what I’ve seen. I’m the judge and the juror and here I’ll declare my 4 decisions on the rankings:
- Justified: Player has done nothing to make his prospect position worse or better
- Demoted: Broke down more than a 1998 Ford Focus
- Promoted: Smile kid…you got better.
- Booted: Congrats! You’re old or just kinda stink.
*I hope it’s clear that I’m talking about prospect rankings, not promoted to the big leagues.
- 10- Darius Vines: Strong year and looked good in is pro debut. With Michael Soroka likely headed to the IL for good, Vines will likely get a few more starts this year and I’m ready to see what he can do. My decision: Justified
- 9- Ambioris Tavarez: He’s only 19, but he hasn’t developed quite like the Braves wanted him to when they made him his top international signee a few years back. Still…it’s too early to tell so I’ll give him some grace. My decision: Justified
- 8- Ignacio Alvarez: Might be the most impressive offensive prospect in the system. He’s got a great glove, remarkable eye, and an extraordinarily high baseball IQ. Only 20, but he could be Orlando Arcia’s replacement should he ever turn into a pumpkin. My decision: Justified.
- 7- Cole Phillips: Fell to the Braves in the 3rd round of the 2022 MLB Draft because he had Tommy John surgery in April of that year. He’s in his 16 month of recovery so he’ll be good to go come 2024. My decision: Justified
- 6- JR Ritchie: Apparently, it’s in the water as Ritchie also busted his UCL this May, so he’ll likely sit out all of 2024 as well. My decision: Justified
- 5- Owen Murphy: Braves 1st round pick in the 2022 draft, Murphy is carrying a high ERA but has both a strong walk and k-rate. He’ll turn 20 soon and things are trending in the right direction. My decision: Justified.
- 4- Cade Kuehler: 2nd round draftee in 2023, Cade has a grand total of 2.1 innings of professional ball so I’ll have to trust the scouts on this one. My decision: Justified.
- 3- Spencer Schwellenbach: Do you guys smell that? Tommy John is in the air. Schwellenbach, finally healthy, is back pitching and pitching well. He’s carrying a 2.75 ERA between Low and High A and building up his innings. He’s a strong candidate for the AFL this offseason. My decision: Justified
- 2- Hurston Waldrep: Braves 2023 1st round pick, Waldrep might be a fast mover as I could see him being promoted early next year or, if an injury occurs, even this September as a reliever. He’s more polished than any other pitcher in the system and I have no doubt that he could get MLB hitters out right now. My decision: Justified
- 1- AJ Smith-Shawver: The Braves like to push their top-tier pitchers and A.S.S. went from High-A to MLB in less than 2 months. Since then, the Braves have pumped the brakes, but make no mistake, they see greatness in him and I don’t blame them. For me, the dude can throw, but now he has to learn to pitch. The talent got him here, but sequencing is the key to his success now. My Decision: Justified.
Breakdown: I could nitpick that Waldrep has the higher floor and move him to 1. Or I could look judge all the TJ guys a bit more harsh and move “Nacho” Alvarez up to 4th or 5th, but I think MLB nailed the Braves top 10.
Final Tally for Top 30 Prospects
Justified (19): Henry Owens, Seth Keller, Isaiah Drake, Douglas Glod, David McCabe, Luis De Avila, Adam Maier, Luis Guanipa, Garrett Baumann, Darius Vines, Ambioris Tavarez, Ignacio Alvarez, Cole Phillips, JR Ritchie, Owen Murphy, Cade Kuehler, Spencer Schwellenbach, Hurston Waldrep, AJ Smith-Shawver
Demoted (1): Dylan Dodd
Looks like I get to add 4 prospects to my Top-30!
Tap those mugs to join in on the conversation!