Atlanta Braves Top Prospects by Braves Journal, #25-21

In case you missed the first 2 installments of our Atlanta Braves Top Prospects Lists, you can find them here:

A reminder that this is a cumulative list from 3 Minor League followers, Karl Ehrsam (snowshine), Matt Pocza (@Braves_Rumors), and Ryan Cothran (@baldheaded1der), and the rankings might not be reflective of each person’s opinion, of which I hope they’ll share their thoughts in the comments! Let’s get to it, shall we?

Braves Journal’s Prospect #25, Vaughn Grissom

(Ryan) If you don’t recall the story of Vaughn Grissom’s recruitment, it came piggybacked upon the recruitment of Riley Greene, 5th pick overall by the Tigers. Grissom, a big dude and another guy that could be a steal for the Braves in the 11th-20th rounds, played SS in the GCL, but likely moves off that position as he advances. Grissom had a healthy, yet unspectacular, slash line in his pro debut and has the body and athleticism that screams power potential. He also has a passion for speed on the basepaths, too, and if he can be an above average runner, he’s got real 5-tool potential.

Braves Journal’s Prospect #24, Victor Vodnik

(Matt) While Vodnik is short for a pitcher, a tick under six foot, he has arm strength like you wouldn’t believe and he just turned 20 years old. In his first full season for the Braves he displayed a 2.94 ERA and 1.17 WHIP in 67.1 innings for the single-A Rome Braves. He started three games and earned three saves, showing versatility in his role as he mainly worked as a long reliever. His ERA would have been much lower had he not given up 8 of his 22 total runs in his last three outings of the year, but still a successful season nonetheless. He tops out around 96-97 mph, but his fastball is electric and clearly his best pitch. His only other pitch is a slider, but both are above average and he controls them well. He has plenty of time to grow and as long as he continues to progress he should have a bright future as a middle reliever in the big leagues.

Braves Journal’s Prospect #23, C.J. Alexander

(Ryan)- Left-handed hitting C.J. Alexander is a big dude and that big 6’5, 225 pound frame hit the ground running in 2018, mashing to a .924 OPS showing good pop to all fields and adequate, if unspectacular, defense. Unfortunately, his 2019 was injury riddled which is why his prospect status has taken quite a hit. Still, CJ has the potential to be the steal of the 2018 draft and, if he can continue to field other positions other than 1B, he’s a fast climber to keep an eye on in 2020. By the look of his Twitter feed, the dude is hungry…and hungry boys eat.

Braves Journal’s Prospect #22, Justin Dean

(Ryan)- When the Braves traded Mallex Smith, they did me a solid and found someone else I could obsess and drool over. I love these types of players. Dean is a 22 year old CFer, 17th round pick from the 2018 draft. Since being drafted, Dean has done nothing but rack up hits (122 in 109 games), walks (12.3% BB rate), with occasional pop (18 doubles, 9 triples, 9 HRs) and wreak havoc on the bases (47 SBs, 10 CS), all the while playing exceptional CF defense, although, like Mallex, his routes can get a little loopy. The power took a huge turn for the good in 2019 and would’ve likely provided reason to get promoted if he hadn’t been injured. It wouldn’t surprise me to see Dean skip High-A next year and get battle tested in Mississippi, and if his power numbers continue to increase, we will be hearing a whole lot of buzz about him next season.

Braves Journal’s Prospect #21, Greyson Jenista

(Matt)-Greyson Jenista is one of those prospects that just gets me excited! The Braves 2nd round pick in 2018, he quickly progressed to A+ in his 60 games of work. In 2019 he was able to share the outfield with Pache and Waters for most of the season, I would guess those are two excellent mentors to work hard beside. He had a bit of a down year compared to 2018, only hitting .233/.318/.349 across 130 games in A+ and AA. Looking at his OBP you can see his patience, as he walked in 13% of his at bats (MLB average is around 8%). His numbers aren’t super flashy yet, but the tools are there and as a 3-year starter at Wichita State he never had an OPS under .900. The main tool to watch will be his power; scouts believe it should continue to progress as he has the strength to do a lot more damage. Jenista should start the year in AA, but perhaps he earns a promotion later in the year if Pache or Waters join the big league club.

Thanks for reading!

Long live, Braves Journal!

If you liked this, check out former top prospect Austin Riley’s 2019 Player Review.

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Author: Ryan Cothran

Ryan is the site editor and manager of Braves Journal. Follow him on Twitter.

19 thoughts on “Atlanta Braves Top Prospects by Braves Journal, #25-21”

  1. We are moving up a bit with the prospects. The position prospects are each credible as potential 3 WAR players (not likely, but if they hit their 90% or so projections). With Vodnik, he is more like a 1.2 WAR player at 80% projection because to be even a # 4 starter will require him to add an effective changeup and pushes his ceiling with that to more like 95 to 98% projection.

  2. @1

    ….but he must be sure to continue his stay in AA – with a name like that he has no choice, everyone will be watching.

  3. You might be able to tell from my blurb on him, but my favorite on this list is Justin Dean….and no one is talking about him. Yes, he’s 23 and that should be taken into consideration, but if he continues to develop power, all the while walking, hitting for average, stealing bases, and playing above average defense, he could be a serious prospect by season’s end. He’s one of those guys that could be in the top-10 on this list come next year, or a complete afterthought if he proves overmatched at AA.

  4. Other than Grissom all these guys are of the boom or bust variety. Given their ages and respective development paths Jenista, Alexander and Vodnik need to put in stellar campaigns this season or they are in danger of dropping off prospect lists all together. Dean, meanwhile, is the classic case of a guy who teams will drop the first time he has a bad stretch of games.

  5. Alexander is the one guy that I just think has a near zero chance of ever being anything. Has looked very overmatched when I’ve seen him and I wouldn’t put him in the top 50 prospects for Atlanta.

  6. Yeah, not to gang up, but I don’t see why Alexander has justified staying on these lists for so long. He did well as a 22-year old playing rookie ball and that’s it.

    The system is definitely thinning. I don’t buy that because the vacated Coppy-gate prospects haven’t done much elsewhere that they would have done the same in the Atlanta system. Though I have no evidence, obviously, to prove such, I think at least one of those guys had their lives disrupted to the point that it affected their performance on the field. Either way, I’d much rather have them to trade them than to lose them for nothing. They’ve become sorely missed very quickly.

  7. 7-Good point about the international prospects having lives disrupted during what would already be a tough adjustment period. What has really hurt the system is the inability to even be in the international market for so long. I think ATL has half the bonus pool this July 2 and will be back to full 7-2-2021 but we will probably have an international draft by then.

  8. I think the biggest reason for the weakening of the system is simply a numbers game. There have been so many premium prospects leave our system lately. No system could survive that exodus and still be top ranked. If you lose an Acuna, Albies, Soroka, Fried, Swanson, etc in a 3 year span…you’re gonna lose ground in rankings. But because of that, we can be afford to be patient in retooling and even take high risk/high reward gambles. Having said that, it will be nice to get back in the international game around the corner.

  9. I think international prospects will be important for us once we get back our full allotment, I think a lot of guys will want to come here and play with the likes of acuña and albies. Right now there’s a log jam at the top and things are a bit thin at the bottom… might need to consolidate a bit and trade some of the top prospects for MLB talent and lower level guys

  10. Dansby’s been worth 3.7 WAR over his 445 games and Anderson has never thrown a pitch in MLB. An easy no for Cleveland.

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