We kicked off the Atlanta Braves Top Prospects with players that just missed out on the top-30 and you can find that list here. Today, we get to it! A reminder that our list from Karl Ehrsam (snowshine), Ryan Cothran (@baldheaded1der), and Matt Pocza (@Braves_Rumors) is cumulative and some might have had particular players higher or lower in their personal rankings, of which I hope to see explanations in the comments! Alright, we’re really doing it, people!
Braves Journal’s Prospect #30, Beau Philip
(Snowshine) A somewhat surprising 2nd round selection (most had him at least 2 rounds lower), Philip is a 21 year old shortstop with just 1 year of big time college ball (although it was powerhouse Oregon State). He has average to plus tools across the board and Braves developmental people think a swing change can unlock some potential. He will stay at short as his movements are fluid with a strong arm. One suspects he will either be top 10 or off the list by this time next year.
Braves Journal’s Prospect #29, Nolan Kingham
(Snowshine) His season went according to the BABIP gods: when the groundballs were fielded he was great and led the minors in shutouts; when the balls found holes he was shelled. His stuff is good enough that he really should miss more bats which we assume will be his developmental emphasis for 2020, most likely in AA.
Braves Journal’s Prospect #28, Trey Riley
(Matt) After giving up five runs in just one inning of work his freshman year at Oklahoma State, he was stuck riding the pine all season. He decided to transfer and had a phenomenal season in 2018 at the John A. Logan, a JUCO. This earned him the Braves 5th round selection in 2018 and he signed above slot value. Riley’s control is… awful. Last season he walked 46 batters in 58.1 innings, his WHIP was nearly 2.0 and his ERA was 7.67. Despite those numbers, Riley has a lot of potential. His changeup needs some work, but he has a fastball that tops out at 97 that he complements with a wipeout slider. His future is as a reliever due to the control issues, but if he can improve that changeup he could be very successful down the line. Hopefully next year he can progress all around and bring those ERA and WHIP numbers down a good bit.
Braves Journal’s Prospect #27, Phil Pfeifer
(Ryan) If you didn’t catch our 3 Flags Flying podcast of which I discussed Pfeifer, or my numerous articles/comments of which I also talked Pfeifer, then let me drop something on y’all: I really like Phil pfreakin’ Pfeifer. Drafted in the 4th round by the Dodgers out of Vanderbilt, Pfeifer came to the Braves via trade in the Bud Norris deal of 2016 (along with Caleb Dirks). Up until last year, Pfeifer had become a bit of an afterthought in the system and had been a full-time reliever, albeit not a great one, for 3 years, due to the abundance of starting pitching prospect riches already in the system. For some reason, that changed in 2019 and the Braves moved him back to starting…and boy did that light a fire as he put up 10.7 K/9, 2.8 BB/9 in 133.1 innings between 3 levels. If a starter, he’ll be a FB/CB/CH guy, all being good pitches, but if he were to become a reliever, I’d bet he’d drop the change and focus on the FB and CB as those are his plus pitches. On a personal note, Pfeifer battled addiction issues when at Vandy and has overcome his addiction which makes me want to pull for him even more.
Braves Journal’s Prospect #26, Jeremy Walker
(Matt) Walker was the Braves 5th round pick in 2016 and has sort of wandered around the Braves farm system since. A starter his entire career, the Braves decided to change him to a reliever in 2019 and he excelled in his bullpen role. Walker’s best aspect is his impeccable control; he issued only 11 free passes in 81.1 innings between AA and AAA in 2019. He made it to the big leagues and pitched well, allowing 2 runs in 9.1 innings. He mainly utilizes a sinker/curveball mix, occasionally throwing in a four-seamer or changeup. He tops out at 98, so he can throw it by someone if need be, but usually stays in the low/mid 90s. Now that he has been in the Braves system for the past 4 seasons, I’m expecting Walker to be a bullpen candidate or trade bait this offseason. He’s proven all he can in the minors and he’s shown he can be successful at the major league level.
Thanks for Reading!
Long Live Braves Journal!
In case you missed it, here’s former top prospect, Mike Soroka’s Player Review!