Our Atlanta Braves kicked some serious butt in the first half and do not look to be slowing down. With one of the best systems in baseball, and a trade deadline coming of which they’ll no doubt be active, there’s a lot to look forward to in the 2nd half. However, if you still need a baseball fix, there’s always the derby and the All-Star game, but for the cost of a dinner out, you could be like me and get in touch with the Braves minor league system. I think the cost for MiLBTV for the rest of this year is around 30 bucks and it’s well worth it as most Gwinnett and Mississippi games are televised.
We will do our best here at Braves Journal to keep all of you entertained this break. In a great turn of events, Braves Journal’s own, Snowshine, sent Rob an email with his top-30 Braves prospects and it is too good not to share. Also, if any of you are interested in getting in on the fun, let’s work this upcoming offseason on a Braves Journal Top-30! It’ll be a blast!
1. Cristian Pache, CF, AA, 11/19/98
The real deal in centerfield, now showing both HR power and a respectable BB% in AA. Given that Trustmark is where homers go to die, this is a wonderful development. Expect to see him bumped up to AAA for the 2nd half and see Atl next season.
2. Ian Anderson, RHP, AA, 5/2/98
Currently leads AA in strikeouts and is making excellent strides with his command. Pitches 7 innings of a combined no-hitter last week. Still has too high a BB%. Looks like a possible ace to me. ETA 2020.
3. Drew Waters, CF AA, 12/30/98
Not the defender that Pache is, but will settle nicely in RF. A switch hitter, Waters is much stronger as a lefty and is over a 1000 OPS from that side of things. In Trustmark. Let that sink in. As a righty he is no pushover but somewhat resembles Ender. A hard worker, he is likely to see Atl as soon as he works out the righty swing.
4. Kyle Wright, RHP, AAA, 10/2/95
Supposedly came out of Vandy with 4 plus pitches but has needed to work hard to get any of them to play plus in pro ball. Had below average spin rates on all his offerings but has been working on that. Will be in and out of the MLB roster for the rest of the year, but should be a 2 or 3 in the rotation as soon as next year.
5.Kyle Muller, LHP, AA, 10/7/97
A driveline special, Muller entered the year with questions about his velocity and command, but has now bumped the fastball up to 97 while sitting 93-94. Has missed time due to injuries so really just needs MiLB repetitions to be good for the show. ETA late 2020.
6.William Contreras, C, AA, 12/24/97
The braves have been super aggressive with the young catcher and he has struggled a bit this season, but the tools still say he is our catcher of the future. ETA 2021
7.Bryse Wilson, RHP, AAA, 12/20/1997
Has already made 2 starts in the show, neither going all that well. May well settle in as a multi-inning reliever or closer in time, but likely a 3 or 4 starter should he get enough rope to figure it out. Would really do with a full year as the long man in the MLB pen, which we can hope for in 2020.
8. Luiz Gohara, LHP, Instructionals, 7/31/96
A mystery at this point. If he can still throw 97 with that wipeout slider he has a chance to be Randy Johnson.
9. Shea Langeliers, C, A-, 11/18/97
#9 in this year’s draft, I loved this pick. Shea broke a bone in his wrist earlier this year and as a result was underestimated by the prospect gurus. He has plus defense with an average to plus hit tool and potential average power. At catcher, that’s an all-star. Likely finishes this season at A+ and sees Atl in late 2021 or 2022.
10. Braden Shewmake, SS, A-, 11/19/97
I am way higher on this kid than anyone else, but this is exactly the type of draft pick that pays off in the late 1st round: a great athlete that isn’t performing up to expectations. In Shewmake’s case, it’s the power. But look (with rose-tinted glasses, natch): the kid has a great frame and an excellent hit tool. Remake that swing to exploit the flyball revolution and we have our own Carpenter/Phan/pick your cardinals devil magic here. He’ll likely be a second baseman in the show, probably not before 2022.
11. Joey Wentz, LHP, AA, 10/6/97
Forever tied to Muller, he has taken a step back this year as his velocity has fallen to the low 90’s. He walks too many guys to get away with that. If he can get back to mid 90’s (drools)…
Realistly, he’s a 4 or 5 in the rotation at this point or a very good reliever.
12. Tucker Davidson, LHP, AA, 3/25/96
Having a comeback year at AA after some struggles in florida last season. Strikes out a guy per inning while walking about 4 per 9. Scouts don’t love the tools, but if you can maintain a 1.5 ERA in AA you have a MLB future. Likely 2021 ETA.
13. Huascar Ynoa, RHP, AAA, 5/28/98
We have already seen him for 2 innings of course. Ynoa was a lotto ticket picked up as the price for Jaime Garcia from the Twins. This counts as a win for the scouts. He has great stuff including a 100mph fastball and a downright unfair slider. He still has very little idea of how to command his stuff, but got the chance to fill in for a couple days as he was already on the 40-man. This is his first year as a reliever. He is likely to bounce up and down on the Gwinnett Shuttle for the next couple of years.
14. Jefrey Ramos, LF, A+, 2/10/99
Still among the youngest players in A+, Ramos appears unimpressive. The scouting reports say otherwise, rating him with a plus hit tool and eventual plus-plus power. He has no baserunning or fielding value so it all comes down to hitting for him. ETA ??? He either figures it out or no.
15. Greyson Jenista, RF, AA, 12/7/96
2019 has been a nightmare year so far for Jenista as the new swing designed to tap into his considerable power potential has not worked in games thus far. He got moved up to Mississippi anyway which tells us that the developmental staff think he is making progress, and that’s good enough to keep him in my top 20 for now.
16. Kolby Allard, LHP, AAA, 7/13/97
Now in his 2nd year at Gwinnett, Allard has gone backwards on velocity and stuff for the last 3 years. He really needs a driveline type program to regain the zip on his pitches. Currently he is a perfectly cromulent 5th starter but the hopes were so much higher when we drafted him.
17. Patrick Weigel, RHP, AAA, 7/8/94
Now 2 years past tommy john surgery, Weigle is using this season to regain the feel for his pitches, and the struggle has been real. His fastball is down to 93-4 (98+ pre-surgery) and the once Touki-like curve lacks bite. I’m giving him a mulligan thanks to the injury, but he needs to step on it next year.
18.Victor Vodnik, RHP, A, 10/9/99
A smaller guy with big stuff, Vodnik is following in Freddie Tarnok’s footsteps, initially relieving with longer stints eventually leading to a starters role. One of our few pitching prospects with good control.
19. Travis Demeritte, UT, AAA, 9/30/94
His history and the nature of offense at AAA this year put him here although on performance he deserves to be much higher this year. Playing exclusively outfield this year, he used to be a plus defender at 3rd and 2nd.
20. Alex Jackson, C, AAA, 12/25/95
His defense has almost improved to MLB backup quality, unfortunately, the hit tool has stalled out completely. Once the 6th overall pick in the draft, good homerun power and the willingness to squat behind the plate are all that he has going for him at the moment. He would hit 15-20 bombs in a full year in MLB and that is a valuable skill.
21. Jasseel De la Cruz, RHP, AA, 6/26/97
Built like a horse with 3 plus pitches, injuries have always been between De la Cruz and MiLB success. He’s healthy again this year. Could be a 2 or 3 in a MLB rotation. ETA 2021.
22. Trey Harris, OF, A+, 1/15/96
A 32nd round pick, Harris has done nothing but hit so far at A and A+ ball. He really needs to get moved up to Mississippi so we can see if there is anything here. Lousey routes and a noodle arm doom him to left although he has good speed.
23. CJ Alexander, 3rd, A+/AA, 7/17/96
Currently injured, Alexander was supposed to have light-tower power and an iffy stroke but he did nothing but hit last year without displaying the power. An intriguing package.
24. Dilmer Mejia, LHP, A, 7/9/97
An electric arm, he will be rule 5 eligible this year. As an under-sized lefty I expect an eventual bullpen role, but it just might be as the closer.
25. Jeremy Walker, RHP, AA, 6/12/95
A small college find who always gave up too many baserunners, Walker has turned heads as a reliever. Working mainly in tandem with Ian Anderson, his mix of good change and slurvy breaker has worked this season. The fastball is straight and tops out at 93 or so, so middle relief is his future.
26. Vaughn Grissom, SS, Rookie, 1/5/2001
2019’s 11th round draftee was not expected to sign, but the Braves obviously had an overslot deal in place. 5 tool prospect expected to stay at short.
27. Tristan Beck, RHP, A+, 6/24/96
Was in the mix to be a top-10 draft pick before an elbow injury derailed his 2017. We got him to an overslot deal in the 4th round the next year. Expected to be a fast mover, thus far minor injuries and changing his delivery have largely kept him out of sight. Might be a 3 if it all comes together.
28.Corbin Clouse, LHP, AAA, 6/26/95
Another small school find by the scouting department. Clouse doesn’t throw hard but gets incredible motion on all his pitches, leading to bouts of wildness as well as 13 SO’s per 9. As with all relief pitchers, he’s effective when healthy but isn’t currently healthy.
29. Darling Florentino, 3B, A-, 5/25/2001
At the moment he’s a skinny kid but the scouts insist he will fill out to get plus power to go with his plus hit tool. He is currently overmatched and I expected him to go to Danville once the short seasons started but he remains in Rome. There must be a reason.
30. Chad Sobotka, RHP, AAA, 7/10/93
We know him, of course, but he’s still rookie eligible. Tremendously effective when healthy, rarely fully healthy.